Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Anti-Bucket List

You’ve heard of the bucket list, the list that people make of things they want to do or accomplish before they die.   I have a bucket list, which consists mostly of travel destinations, but I have found, as I get older, that I also have an anti-bucket list.  That is, a list of things that I could happily live without ever doing,  no matter what other people might think of me.

1.  Skydiving – I am not an adrenaline junky.  I would much rather sit on a quiet mountain and contemplate my relationship to God and nature than throw myself out of an airplane.

2.  Watching a football game (or just about any sporting event besides the Olympics) – I grew up in Texas where football is a religion and I have tried, truly tried, to get on the bandwagon.  In graduate school, I joined a fantasy football league, which my lab partner, Tom, ended up playing for me.  I went to a Superbowl party…once.  I tried to follow all of the football talk in the teacher’s lounge and ended up browsing Facebook instead.  In short, I lack the football gene.  I have accepted my shortcomings.

3.  Cruises – cheesy magic shows, fruit cutting demonstrations, around the clock smorgasbords of mediocre food, 10 hours of travel time in between destinations and 3 hour excursions are not my favorite way to travel.

4.  Sewing a quilt – again, I have tried this one.  As a Southern woman, I went through a stage where I thought it was my duty to sew something that would stand the test of time.  I managed to make a quilted picture frame as a Christmas present for my mom.  It stands as the most ambitious piece of visual art I have ever created, and the last.

 I could go on.  There is a quote made famous by Pintrest and Facebook in which “Meryl Streep” asserts that as she ages, she no longer has time for things or people who do not add something positive to her life (I am paraphrasing).  Not that quilting and football and parties aren’t incredibly positive experiences for many people, they just don’t happen to be the things that inspire me.  If I did them, it would be more an attempt to fit into some elusive mold of what I think other people think should be fun.   I choose to spend my time delving deeper into the things that I love.  Football and cruises and quilts do just fine without me.
That is not to say that I never leave my comfort zone, but risks are relative.  I can go half-way across the world and explore a place I am not familiar with among people whose language I do not speak, but I have a hard time going to a restaurant alone.  The difference lies in my goals, where I want to go.   Once I decide that, I know which fears to face and which ones to leave for someone else.