Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rebalancing my Life Account

This past year or so, time has begun to move so quickly; it suddenly seems, maybe because my mother died last year, that the hourglass is emptying out. So I've been thinking lately that I should revise my '50 things to do before I die' list. It's something I started after being a confidant to a couple of people who knew they were dying, and hearing from them that they had no regrets, they had done all they wanted. I knew that I could not say that.

I made one when I was much younger, but I've sort of outgrown it. I can't find it, but I recall that I did several things on the old list, and lost interest in others as my priorities shifted. The point, for me, of a 50 things list, was to add joy to my life, and to push me in the direction of creating a more perfect personal 'world.'
Maybe encourage me to take those measured risks that are necessary to most things worth having. Last time I took a scatter-shot approach and didn't prioritize, so it was hit and miss, but it did help push me in the direction of doing some things I'd always wanted. I did some traveling, I took a chance on love, I snorkeled with manatees, took dance lessons, things like that.

This time, I thought I'd use a different method, and decide what should be done first. Fully aware this time that, as with many of my lists, there is the very real possibility that I will find myself stuck on the first item.

Life is made up of changes and choices. I used to think that my perfect world would include a husband, a partner, at least a really good guy friend, someone who would both limit and expand my options, but it doesn't look like that will be part of my karmic balance. I know that no matter where I place the priorities on my To Do list, they are subject to change, and so I reevaluate them from time to time. For every possible choice, there are always going to be the pluses and the minuses.

Any perfect world I can imagine now includes living near my grandchildren, so that tops the list for now. At least until they no longer jump up and down and shout grandmagrandmagrandma when they see me. At least until they stop saying "I really love you," and giving those sweet and freely offered hugs. At least until I am no longer part of silly games and sillier giggles.


And so #1 on the list is still, to sell my house and move (shiver) north -- economy , crashing real estate market, and cold-phobia be danged. The marvel about grandchildren is that they make me wonder, now that I have them, how I could ever have wanted 50 things. Still, I will give it some thought and, no doubt, I will add new things as time goes on.


What about you? What things do you have left to do, things that will make you feel that you have more fully lived? Things that will help you pass on to the next great adventure without regret? Or are you one of those people who has lived with no regrets, and no unfinished business?




7 comments:

Snowbird said...

I really have done a lot in my life. I have done lots and lots of traveling which I have loved. The one place that I haven't been to is Alaska. I would love to take a cruise to Alaska and go on an Orca Whale Watch.

Tink *~*~* said...

I feel like I've had several different lives already, and each life had its own "list" that was sometimes (but not always) at odds with the previous "list". I've had a number of distinct phases or periods and somehow either outgrew them or else was forced by circumstances to move on, leaving the list fluttering to the floor in my haste to exit to the next thing.

I can tell you this - once I figured out that I was a person who needed to change direction frequently, without being weighed down by partner or progeny, that was it. I never looked back or regretted leaving all of that behind in favor of a somewhat hedonist, follow-my-muse approach to work and play. I would have been lousy at anything else, and therefore miserable in my failure.

Of the things that remain on the list, such as it is today, most of them are minor. I think I've done pretty much what I came here for, unless God has some other grandiose plan for me. Hey you never know, She just might!

Tink *~*~*

Hagar's Daughter said...

When I look honestly at my life (I hope this is too much of a downer) I haven't done much of anything I've wanted to do after college.

I've lived a very predictable life; I never wanted to do this. I live as if I have a house full of children to tend to, but I have none - by choice.

I want to live in another country, I think Greece - at least for a little while. I want to go to Glacier Park before all the glaciers melt. I never make time to do this. If I had a career "do over" I would work in a museum, but I don't know what exactly I would do.

I'm really going to give this more thought.

The Farmer Files said...

We are hard at work on our Hawaii bucket lists, so that is our main focus of "must dos" right now.

I have the only 2 grandkids for my MIL. When we get back to the big rock she too is willing to sell her home and be closer to the kids. WOW. That is dying to self, to leave her job and leave AZ after 10 years.

gail said...

I admire both of you, Snowbird and Tink. I frankly admire anyone who picks their path and chooses how to live their life. I have been more inclined to float like a jellyfish (although hopefully less likely to cause pain to others), directed by the currents around me.

I'm not sure why I've taken such a passive approach, perhaps because my fundamentalist childhood inflicted a foundation of undeserved guilt and fear of all the insignificant things my ignorant little church defined as sin. (no dancing, no makeup, no loud laughter, no girly clothes, no disagreement with elders, (of course) no drinking, no no no no (whisper) sex) Certainly, my upbringing was designed to convince me that God's will for my life could only be dictated by others (mostly men), and not by my own judgment.

Whatever the reason, I have been inclined always to defer - defer to others, defer pleasure, defer life. It is possible that the result has been helpful to some along the way, especially the many people I worked with who suffered from poverty, illness, bereavement or death (so no references on my resume! haha), but maybe not so positive from my point of view.

I no longer have the option of doing all the things I wish I'd done. But maybe it's time I put on some makeup, pour myself a stiff drink, and kick my boss! :D

I know what you mean, Hagar's Daughter, I don't want to be such a downer either. And of course I could do a whole blog post on the good lessons I got from my childhood influences. (okay, the kudos would be shorter than the complaints, but still!)

But, downer or not, it's good for the parents of little ones to consider that the lessons children learn are often not the lessons we mean to teach. And maybe good for us grown ones to reconsider our choices, and the sometimes unintended reasons behind them, so that we don't miss out on all the good stuff!

Ms. Farmer, is a Hawaiian bucket list different than a "do before I die" list? I can understand your MIL very well -- I didn't think (much) of moving to Louisiana when my grandchild was there, but once they moved closer to me they were like (cute) little magnets!

Shama-Lama Mama said...

I LOVE travelling and seeing and immersing myself in other cultures. I have barely travelled at all since I have had kids.

I hope the whole economy thing will not prohibit us from bringing our kids to new and exciting places and instilling in them a sense of wonder for other places and ways of life.

I feel so alive when I travel. I miss it.

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