Wednesday, July 28, 2010

All the Things I've Always Wanted to Do . . .

My friend, Michelle at Boulderneigh wrote about bucket lists this week. She wrote about them in a different way - how she had seen notes about them on a blog; notes about dreams deferred and dreams lost, and decisions regretted, and that she found it very sad.

I never called my list a bucket list, and I'm not sure I ever wrote it down - most likely because I've had one since long before there was a film of that name. And frankly, I kind of find the term "bucket list" to be almost offensive. Like one is racing to do stuff before dying, like you waited until the last minute to live your life and then had to cram it all in - what a horrible way to live that would be.

No - one of my best friends died in his early 30's, and I learned, at a relatively young age, that I had better start doing all the things I wanted to do - that life is short - that life is meant to be lived - because I didn't want to be a person filled with regret (a person with a bucket list). As mentioned, I'm not sure I ever actually made a list, but forever ago I started doing all the things I've always wanted to do. Some of them have included:
  1. Driving all of Old Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica (what an awesome trip that was!)
  2. Getting a tattoo. . . ;-)
  3. Buying a Gucci scarf (it's so beautiful - an extravagance I have never regretted)
  4. Learning to play the bagpipes (oh yeah)
  5. Reading most of the great books that I somehow got out of college without having read (Ernest Hemingway - awesome; Henry Miller - not so much)
And as my life has gone on, there have been things that have occurred to me - not necessarily on a list - that I knew were for me, that I knew I wanted to do, like
  1. Learning to spin
  2. Traveling to Morocco
  3. Retreating to Iona
  4. Writing a blog
  5. Getting physically stronger
I learned at a young age to dance like no one is watching. And somehow, recently, I feel like I have lost sight of that. My life is filled with so much that I am exhausted most of the time, and I find myself not doing the very things that nurture my soul and spirit so that I can face the world every day. Maybe it's months of physical therapy that I've just gone through (and that have taken nearly all my available time). Maybe I'm still trying to do too many things. I don't know, but I'd better figure it out because I've come to the conclusion that I cannot continue as I've been. And so, these next months on the path to myself look to be filled with decisions. Decisions on what to keep and what to toss, both metaphorically and literally. More than half this year is gone (Christmas is closer rather than farther ===:-O), and as the dog days of summer arrive, I'm looking at my life . . .

To begin with, it's time to go through the house and see what needs to go. What can benefit someone else now. Clearing my space has always been uplifting for me. It's time to carve out the time to make music again. To read other than just on the train on the way to work. To explore all my avenues of creativity, and to have time to just "be" rather than constantly "do." How this is going to work, I'm not quite sure yet - but I know that it will be a mistake to not rein in the craziness that seems to have become my life. I've always wanted control over my life and it doesn't feel that way to me any longer - it feels like outside forces are controlling me and dictating my time and schedule. I would prefer to do that myself, thank you very much.

I've learned that at each stage of life stuff comes up - stuff you thought you worked through and dealt with comes back again to be examined and worked through. Again. (It's bothersome. Really.) And so, here I go - continuing on my path, figuring it out as I go along.

I have a sneaking suspicion that maybe I just don't have the energy I had at 25, that maybe I'm not physically capable of doing everything I might want to do. I feel sad when I think about that possibility, because I have never liked to feel limited in any way. My mom raised me to believe that I could do anything - that I could compete on any level with anyone (man or woman) and that's how I have lived my life. And now - well, now I'm not so sure that I want to continue to compete all the time for every effing thing. Not sure exactly what that means . . . but I guess I'm going to find out.

Wish me luck.


Linda said...

Oh, this really strikes me, too! I was just thinking the same thing as I slowly made my way into the gym today. I have to face the fact that I'm now at a point where I have to devote time to just taking care of myself, which means doing certain things for physical care and allowing myself time to just rest and be. That means less time for other stuff: visiting with friends, vacationing, working, and taking care of my house and garden. I've never been able to "do it all," and now I have to realize that I need to be even more judicious with how I spend my finite reserves of energy and time. Thanks for being my "voice" on this important topic!

A :-) said...

You're welcome - I have, for most of my life been able to "do it all." I cannot tell you how worn out I am . . .

candy t said...

I turned 60 this month and I have to say I need to cut back. The heat and humidity bothers me more and with hubby not able to do what he used to, I'm stuck with doing more but needing to do less.