"Bucket list" is a term I've been hearing a lot for the past few years. I like the idea of identifying the things that are important to do before kicking the ol' metaphorical bucket, but for some reason that I can't really put my finger on, I'm annoyed by the recent trendiness of it.
Maybe because a good number of these bucket bloggers seem to be in their 20's and have lists titled 30 Things To Before I'm 30 that include visits to half the world, SCUBA diving, betting a giant pile of cash on one hand in a Vegas casino, attending Oktoberfest, climbing Mount Everest, etc. A quick googling overview shows a big pile of bucket list blogs by young (FYI, "young" = anyone who is not as old as I am) people talking about Setting Priorities and Documenting Experiences and Having Goals, and a much smaller number of very sad blucket list blogs written by people who are actually dying and are trying to make the most of their remaining time.
Maybe because for the last several years I have been confronting my middle-age status and dealing with the knowledge of my own inescapable death. I don't think I've had anything that could be considered a mid-life crisis, not really, but I have had moments of very bitter awareness that my time is running out, I've already passed the half-way mark. For basically my whole life I filed away things in an I'll Do It Someday file in the back of my head: going to Barbados, learning to speak Spanish, riding a gondola in Venice, floating in a hot-air balloon, etc. When it hit me a few years ago that my time to do things is limited I realized I can't possibly do all the things in my Someday file. The day I stopped putting things in my Someday file was a sad day.
After thinking about it for a few years, I'm starting to have a different perspective. Indiscriminately sticking things in an imaginary Someday file really wasn't worth very much. I didn't stop to think about how reasonable the things would be, how much they would cost me in time and money, and whether I would be likely to get anything much out of them. It was the mental equivalent of hoarding.
I was forced to throw out the whole moldy pile of half-assed Someday plans, and decide which few were worth saving. Which VERY few.
The first and most important thing, the one has been yelling at me and waving desperately from the depths of my stupid head for decades, was writing. So I made that my top priority, and I did it. I wrote a whole novel! Now I'm writing another one! *whew*
The next thing is to go to Paris. I want to go to Paris so badly. Greg and I had planned to go once before, near the end of 2007 we decided to start planning a trip, and I was compiling information and buying guidebooks and doing internet investigation when The Year Of Hell hit us. After Greg lost his job I gave up on planning the trip at least temporarily, and when he was forced to take a job making a lot less money I gave up for good.
But now things are getting better, our financial horrors are easing somewhat, so the idea of Paris has been creeping back into my head. My last defenses were knocked down the day I gave in and looked at Paris vacation apartment rentals online. Some of them have little balconies! Oh, man.
We have decided to loosely plan to celebrate my 50th birthday in Paris. That'll be March 17, 2016. Next year we will have a chunk of our debt paid off and will be able to begin saving, and even if we can only save a little every month, we still have plenty of time to save up enough for at least a modest vacation.