Monday, February 8, 2016

Bucket Lists

"Another thing checked off my bucket list!✔✔ Climbing a @#$#! volcano!!!"

This was a quote from my oldest son's Facebook page after he climbed Mt. Batur Volcano while vacationing in Bali. I told him "I would like to read your bucket list. Do you make it up as you go along? Who has 'Climb a volcano' on their bucket list??" He looked at me with truth in his eyes and said, "I did. Ever since I vacationed in [I can't remember where], I knew I wanted to come back and climb a volcano!"

This made me stop and think. I remember the years I was living my dreams. People talked of "bucket lists", I scoffed and said, "I'm keeping my bucket list empty!"

They were adventurous years (for me). I tried new things (Zumba and Belly Fit), I was determined to become a Zumba instructor (and only missed the mark by one, final practicum assignment), I participated in a dance competition, I went on a cruise, I invited people into my world and it was a most incredible ride.

Yes, I kept my "bucket list" empty. Looking back on those glory years, seeing where I am now and looking ahead I have kept my promise to myself. My bucket list remains empty. It is a good thing and a bad thing all at the same time.

It is good to know I have followed the path I wanted to travel while the travelling was good. My return to reality was paved with a few years of instability, job insecurity and the potential for financial ruin.

I am still paying back all that I borrowed during those lean years but going back into debt quicker than my repayment schedule tells me I should, as I tend to our poor neglected house that suffered greatly during the time of great cutbacks while I tried out a new career path.

I tried pursuing dreams again last year and booked a few frivolous trips. Both trips were under scrutiny as the dates of departure approached. Ominous thoughts of "Should we cancel??" put a dark cloud over the anticipation phase of each of these little getaways. Months after that, planning a night out with my brother seemed overshadowed with the same thoughts of "Are we still supposed to go ahead with our plans under these circumstances [a death in the family]?"

Last year's attempts at following my dreams were three for three. I followed through on all three, but all three of them had clouds of foreboding all around them. I vowed I would never make plans again!

If you don't plan, nothing happens. "Nothing" is exactly what I can afford right now because our house still needs an awful lot of TLC. I don't mind that. In fact I look forward to crossing a few more things off our home's bucket list over the course of time.

Yes, I have kept my own bucket list empty. It is a sad and lonely place when you stop dreaming. Instead, I have filled up our home's bucket list. It contains dreams such as: new doors, new floors, new baseboards and door casings and a new paint job (inside and out). There is a very expensive domino effect that happens once you start home renovations, thus my paralysis in this regard for so many years.

I have no desire to travel, nor do I  have one pang of envy for those who are setting off and/or enjoying their winter vacation destinations. I am exactly where I want to be. I am at home, living my dream in my quiet and understated way. I've done all I want to do for now. It is time to centre myself and take care of my finances and our home.

I'm glad I did what I did, when I did it. The time was right. It was a carefree and fun-filled time. I was the person I needed to be, to get the most enjoyment out of all of my little adventures. I have changed. The world around me has changed. I want and need to be close to home.

But ...

I think it would do me good to try and think of a thing or two to place into my own bucket list. I can't have crossed all the fun things I want to do off my list already. Yet, as I sit here and write it seems that I have. I danced when the dancing was good. I travelled when all the conditions at home were right. I played the game of life as best I could, with what I was given. I enjoyed it as I lived it, I have no regrets for my indulgences at the time but now that it is over I have nothing yearning to fill that spot of carefree and wildly indulgent times. I am content.

I'm not going to throw away my "bucket". I will keep it around, with the intent on continuing to keep it empty. I know I need to dream a little bit more than I currently do but at the moment, I'm content. Perhaps I'm a little paralyzed, but I'm content in my paralysis. I know that isn't the statement dreams are built on. I'll recognize the dreams I want to pursue when they surface again. They are still there. They are just lying dormant for the moment. And that is okay with me. For now.

What about you? What is on your bucket list? Are you still dreaming? I hope so. For when dreams die, so does a little piece of your soul.

Let's find our dreams again!

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