On the way home from the Chesapeake Bay this past weekend, Jack and I had a philosophical discussion. He read me an article written by a young woman with terminal cancer. She talked about how she was counseled to make a bucket list and spend her remaining days trying to complete it.
It seems "the thing to do" these days, in our society that values quantity over quality, to make a bucket list... even for those not considering their own mortality. And so, lists of personal goals, travel destinations and experiential opportunities are made - and along with these lists, an ever-growing pressure to achieve.
When I arrived at my 50th birthday, I was suddenly aware of my own mortality - a thought I had kept pretty much stored away in a box in the very back of my mind throughout my first 50 years. But, somehow, on that particular birthday, the box opened and the reality of my mortality dropped into my lap... staring me square in the face.
I thought long and hard about my own philosophy and what I wanted from the second half of my life. What hit me first is that I don't have a bucket list, and never had. Now, don't get me wrong - I have had wonderful experiences and traveled to lovely places, but I never felt like any of it would somehow make my life feel "complete." They were merely bonuses that life gifted to me. (And for which, I am ever-so-grateful.) Still, there remained no burning urge to compile and complete a grand list of not-yet-seen or done activities.
My life was already complete.
I have done the things I wanted to do. I had a career that I loved; and I felt like I made a small difference in the lives of those for whom I cared - that's the thing about being a nurse - it is inherently fulfilling. I had the good fortune of being able to watch my children grow into happy adults - which is what I wanted more than anything out of life. I have had the privilege of loving my grandchildren and enjoying sweet times with them. Life has been good to me.
Now, as I enter the winter of my life, I want nothing more than to be present in every moment of every day...
to notice the little things around me - the ordinary miracles...
to watch the sun rise and set on days filled with tiny moments of magic...
to be enthralled by the opening of a blossom, the ripening of fruit, the hovering of a hummingbird, the sound of crickets, the smell of my horses, the gentle vibration of a kitten purring in my arms. These are the things that delight me. These are the things that would be on my bucket list if I had one. To that I would also add spending time with those whom I love... making sweet, simple memories together.
Life's precious moments were meant to be savored slowly.... and that can only happen when one's mind is free to muse on the here and now... without longing for all that is beyond our grasp. We spend so much time lamenting yesterday or planning for tomorrow, that we forget to enjoy today.
May your bucket list be filled, dear friend, with lots of tiny magical moments - ones that are easily attained by simply paying attention. The photos of this blog post were simple moments in a single day... things that made me smile... the best of what my life has to offer, in my humble opinion.
PS... last evening was our four-year-old Easton's first T-ball game.
How hysterically precious these little ones are. Notice the intense look on his face as he swings at the ball! (click on the photo to enlarge it)
Yesterday, Mackenzie started first grade...
And Tyler started Middle School...
I love my Little people... they are my true bucket list!
Then, of course there is precious Elijah and Wren... who are both just starting to walk!
And with that we say goodbye to August!! I am happy that September is here... Autumn is just around the corner, and with it comes so much that I love! I cannot wait to share it with you....