Thursday, 4 November 2010

My Bucket List

I never saw the movie. I didn't know that there was a movie when somebody on Twitter mentioned a bucket list. There must have been something about that one Tweet drifting in the big stream of posts on my screen. Twitter posts live and die with the rules of evolution - the dull birds don't get chosen as mates and hence won't propagate, as won't dull posts. I however still don't understand the appeal of the word bucket list. Since I didn't even know the term I eventually looked it up only to find that it is the title of a film in which a terminally ill patient creates a list of things he is supposed to do before he kicks the bucket.

Now I am wondering why, after quite a number of weeks, I cannot get this idea out of my head. It is an age old concept, so old that nobody even seems to know where it comes from. Ever heard of the saying 'A man should build a house, plant a tree, father a son and write a book before he dies'? Well, that's the oldest bucket list I know of. The English speaking part of the world makes it as old as Plato, who lived around 400 BC, whereas in the German Google world the word is put into the mouth of Martin Luther, a chap who reformed the church in Germany around the 1500s. The lazy buggers left out the book writing, though. I wonder why?

Although this is an imposed list for most of us, and apart from the fact that it is a rather ridiculous one, for the inventor of the list it surely was something very real and to strive for. So why is this idea starting to bug me now, and not 4o years ago during Sunday school when I might have come across this concept for the first time?

Maybe the older one gets, the more confident one gets as well, and actually dares doing stuff, or one knows more about the world and thus is getting more ideas of what the options are. So, without further ado, here is my list:
  • I want to give a proper speech to a big audience
  • I want to be on a stage
  • I would like to be able to dance well
  • I would like to be able to sing without being embarrassed
  • I want to have my own fashion line
  • I DO want to publish a book (the writing part is already done)
  • I would like to win a prize or an award for something I have worked for
  • I would like to have an exhibition with my own paintings and sculptures
  • I want to own my own business and
  • I want to be successful with it
Those things one should write down at the beginning of life, when one still has the time to actually make it. These days one already has to rush it a bit and might have to consider the one or the other shortcut.

Like with my last list item: I always wanted to
  • walk in the footsteps of the great Jane Goodall and do field studies with primates.
Well, one would want to have considered taking up a somewhat different education, wouldn't one? Computer Science is not exactly the right line of business, just a thought...

As a replacement I have now booked a holiday trip to Sumatra to encounter the jungle on a four day track with elephants, to learn a bit about what rangers do to survey the national parks, and maybe see Orangutans in the wild. Not entirely the same, but hopefully close enough. On one hand I am hoping for the most spectacular experience of my life, on the other I am hoping to find some flaws like insects, climate, food, lifestyle, anything that would help me to excuse my straying from the original list item. If I could truly say 'This was a fantastic experience, but I am glad that I didn't make it my 'life', then I could cross it off my list and be happy. But what if...

Maybe this list is not just about doing all those things before it is too late; maybe it is OK to do the shortcut versions just to find out whether or not I took the right choices in my life, maybe this list doesn't just have a checkbox but two columns for 'good choice', or' bad choice'.

And maybe it doesn't matter what the outcome is: All that matters is to know, and to make peace with it before it is too late!

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