The Bucket List

When should a person write his Bucket List? Is it a reviseable document? I think the concept of the Bucket List started for me shortly after having my daughter. It occured to me then, 19 months ago, that while I am here its got to be good.

For that reason, I want to do the things I want to do and I want to do them now. Obviously, money is a road block on some of the items I'd like to accomplish. To get to the end and say, "Oh NO! I didn't do this, and this, and this, and this, and this..." would be a major disappointment. But in the now, the things I have the ability to do I intend to do. I think the concept of creating a Bucket List as a living document is far more practical than writing the good stuff down when there is only blank amount of time left.

Do it now. It now will be different than it now when I'm 40. It now is staying in shape, eating good food, drinking good wine, and making the days the best that I can for my daughter. I want her days to be fun and new. I have control of that. It now is getting back to writing. Writing writing writing. If I'd been asked when I was 21 what it now was, I would have said the same thing I would say today: publish a book. A book a book a book. So what am I ever doing to that end?

The problem that I face is I have never published anything in any form. In the 5th grade I wrote a book for the Illinois Young Writers something-or-other, but it wasn't published, just awarded. I think writers are supposed to write for something, for a medium of some kind - newspapers, magazines, newsletters... I think that allows opportunity for further published work. I was an English major, not journalism. I didn't study how to publish. Aside from hitting the "publish post" button at the bottom of this page (and may I mention I'm the only person reading this page), publishing isn't my strong suit.

I went to church on Sunday for the first time since, um. Long time. I went because the church in my parents town has an interim minister. The minister I grew up listening to at The First United Methodist Church in Downers Grove is filling in at my mom's church. In my opinion, he always hits the key elements in giving a sermon: He always kept my attention, created a space for introspection, and made me laugh. I was excited to listen again.

The sermon was on the Bucket List. He asked us basically the same thing I've been asking myself for 19 months. What are you waiting for? In remission from prostate cancer, Rev. Conger described his bucket list. He told us four things he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He wanted to take his sixth grandson on a trip, organize his videos and pictures, write a book about the death of his son, and help someone he didn't know. I was in awe of him Sunday morning. I felt like his life had been spent helping people he didn't know. How well does a minister know the members of his congregation? I imagine he knows only those that show up weekly for years on end, participate in every committee and function, and donate solid amounts of money to his church. I thought it was generous of him to think he hadn't helped anyone he didn't know without that being the specific goal. I was also intrigued in the story of his son's death. I was very young when it happened, and can't recall the details. But I'd read the book.

The common life goal made me think he'd helped someone he didn't know again. The sermon itself compelled me to live life now. If it isn't good now, when will it be? When I'm dead? What kind of parenting example is that? Its got to be good now. Ask me again in 20 years, but right now my Bucket List is that simple: Its got to be good now.