I choose living life without a scripted Bucket List, in part because:
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
…but I also like the unexpected treasures I collect from being an admitted nonconformist to the traditional bucket list trend. It keeps me grounded in the present when I wake up to an open ledger page each day, and fortunately or unfortunately, I’ve been so tied up with adding things to my non-bucket I haven’t stopped long enough to write them.
Case in point is #8 on my Not on My Bucket List list:
#8 Overflowing my cupboards with home-canned goods, (and more!).
This accomplishment began coming together shortly after I realized I was still alive after this past grueling, depressing winter. Harvesting wild leeks (ramps) set the wheels in motion. I ate the greens fresh, then oiled and froze the bulbs with hopes they’d carry me through until next spring. (Maybe even remind that there is a such thing as spring come January when the predictable, snowy, cold, miserable winter “blahs” hit.)
I was also chomping at the bit to get the garden planted too. Needless to say, we over-planted our little patch at the first weather-friendly opportunity, then followed this up with a visit to my son and his girl in Georgia. In addition to our amazingly, wonderfully, splendiferously (I just made that word up) great time together, I snagged some local wild garlic bulbs and was gifted with more Vidalia onions than I knew what to do with.
So in shortening a potentially long, drawn-out, and (more than likely) boring story—by August I had in one way or another acquired boatloads of produce with the end result being more than 200 quart jars of this, that, and everything else plus dried fruits, seeds and herbs.
The way I felt with my work each canning day is where the relevance of this experience lies. Being a born and raised “city girl” I had always felt like an outsider amongst my upper/middle class suburban peer. But even in those days, my mother used to take on outings close to where I live now. I liked the way I felt on those days back then, and I liked the Amish family who became our friends. I found comfort in the self-sufficiency of their lifestyle.
No. I could never give up being “english” (as the Amish refer to non-Amish Americans), but the summer I stayed with the Millers during canning season gave me ideas as to how I could adapt my own existence to the way of living meant for me.
—Hence, the overflowing cupboards this year, not to mention the gift of memories to match each jar on my shelves.
#9 While working on the non-bucket list project of canning myself silly, I naturally ran low on supplies, which led me to the rural farm store, which led me to nose around the community bulletin board where I found the posting and phone number. My internal dialogue went something like this:
“No way. Seriously, no way.” (Pretty deep, eh?)
I called the number on a Tuesday, and 3 days later I was hired to work at an alpaca farm. Yes, alpaca farm. One minute I’m buying canning supplies, the next I’m the caretaker for a herd of 70.
I can honestly say there was no thought-process involved in this decision I made. None whatsoever. I’ll even go so far as to say I had never even thought about any form of alpaca in any capacity in my life prior to this unexpected discovery on the community board. Heck, I didn’t even think about them prior to making that phone call.
***(Disclaimer: I don’t necessarily advocate the “not-thinking” concept of decision making. I’ve gotten myself into more than a few undesirable situations when I’ve used this method in the past.)***
The nature of the work itself is physically challenging, but the benefits to my psyche more than make up for my tired body. I love listening to their humming chatter, and the way they watch me as much as I watch over them.
Aren’t they just the sweetest? Curious, friendly and worthy of placement on my non-bucket, (especially since I’ve been able to bring my mini-man out for some critter loving, too).
#10 Drag racing.
Par typical of my life’s many adventures, this one started out rather innocently one morning over coffee with my favorite, Vietnam Veteran friend. I sipped while he told me stories about a regional track he had recently raced on. I made the comment that I had never been to a racetrack before…
On a warm Friday night we took his father and my mini-man to watch the races and keep one another company while he drove and I rode passenger down the strip. I’d post the video from this night out, but the recorded evidence suggests I may or may not have strung together a few new swear word combinations that are probably best to just keep in my own personal dictionary for now.
He was working on his “pedal to the metal” start time. I was working on not peeing myself. We were both successful in our efforts.
I saved the track admission bracelets and the slip of paper with his driving stats for my first race so I could put them inmy shoebox of memories. It doesn’t matter to me that I didn’t actually do the driving. It was fun.
Besides. Who knows? Maybe forty-years from now I’ll get the urge to speed down that track myself just like his 86 year-old father did when we were through.
Now there’s a real Non-Bucket List role model to look up to!