Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bucket List

Film poster for The Bucket List - Copyright 20...
Film poster for The Bucket List - Copyright 2007, Warner Bros. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I talked with my friend yesterday and she asked if I might like to help her escort her dying aunt to one of the local riverboat casinos.  These are the type of conversation we have lately, ah to mid-life.  "Yes!"  is how I responded immediately. She seemed to not hear my excitement and continued to tell me how other family members weren't all that jazzed to accompany a woman in the final weeks of her life on a field trip to the penny slots. She warned me that we might also bring her aunt's friend who has Alzheimers and who would also need supervision. The riverboat casino was on her aunt's Bucket List and seemed like one of the easier activities to help realize.  I've never been to a casino.  I'm in!

I haven't created a Bucket List. I saw the movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman but never took up the obvious project of making my own.  Part of my hesitation is that I'm just not all that creative about travel or adventuresome activities.  I kinda just go along and see what happens.  My friend's attempt to help her aunt transition out of this life is inspiring me a little.  I'm also currently listening to some talks from Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun, and her words are in my mind.  At one point she asks a basic question.  If we know that death is certain and we also know that the time of death is unknown, are we doing the thing that we really need to be doing right now?  If you were to die right now, would you be ok with your life choices? The interesting thing about that question is that your answer could be that you want to eat chocolate cake or that you want to meditate. Both might make you feel more ready to let go of this world. Your answer probably isn't going to be that you want to be mean to someone or to yourself or that you want to watch more tv.  A lot of her comments are about how humans are trained to avoid pain and so seek pleasure or activities that will numb pain.  I'm not a heroin user but my tv habits often feel like anesthesia.

So, at long last I'm thinking about a Bucket List.  So far it includes: a wilderness camping trip, Hawaii, Alaska, a train through Europe, ball room dance lessons, an extended conversation in Spanish, building my own bookshelf (carpentry skills), and playing blackjack in a casino.  Some of these could be considered straight forward pain numbing, pleasure activities but most are ways to live consciously, actively, that is, as an actor in my own life.  Blackjack will get checked off the list in short order.  It's probably the easiest item on my new little list but I'm surprisingly excited to make one.  Numbing pain or living life fully - we can make the choices at any time in our life.
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  1. Very cool thing that you are not only starting your own list, but helping your friend's aunt fulfill hers--I hope the trip is a lot of fun :)

  2. I love your list! And you rock for taking a dying woman on a fun outing. Go you!

  3. As a way of reinforcing how important it is to live in the present moment. My friend's aunt died before we could go on our outing that weekend. Carpe diem people!