My Revised Bucket List

As I’ve become older, it’s become obvious to me that there are things that have been on my “bucket list” for a really long time which I can no longer, under present circumstance and financial means, see ever come true. For a long time, my bucket list has included taking an Alaskan cruise, visiting either Australia or New Zealand and visiting Ireland.

Besides these travels, my bucket list also includes taking a hot air balloon ride and bungee jumping.

But driving home recently after having had the pleasure of seeing Phil Vassar perform live AND being part of his ‘meet and greet’ afterwards, which included both a hug and a photo with him, I started thinking that my bucket list needs modification. Maybe not modified so much, as I wouldn’t delete any of the things already on it, but added to in order to reflect some more attainable things that I enjoy.

I’ve had opportunities over the past two years to see some small-venue stage productions, and have found that I enjoy this ambiance much more than large productions. There is a sense of being invited into the unfolding story that you get in a small venue. The actors and actresses are local or regional talent, and each performs for the love of performing rather than for the dollars they earn. Acting is in their blood and it’s a passion to continue, even though it will never make them rich and famous. So I need to add “See small-venue plays” whenever possible.

And, although Phil Vassar is a well-known country music star, seeing him at a small venue was definitely different than seeing him as part of a mass audience. I do enjoy country music concerts and have only been to one with which I was disappointed because the “star” entertained the crowd but did nothing to engage the crowd. Come on, even if you’re up in the nose-bleed section, you want to see the entertainer react with the crowd! So, I’m adding “See more country music concerts” to my bucket list. And, to be honest, I’m no longer “up” on today’s newest stars, so seeing the oldies but goodies – more than once – will be what I’m looking for.

I’ve never been an avid fan of going to the movies, but I’ve done it a few times with my bestie, picking out shows that are primarily humorous chick-flicks because we’re both sure to like them. It’s fun to go to the movies with someone so you can talk about the movie after you’ve seen it. But the past several months there have been a couple of movies I would have enjoyed seeing, albeit that my bestie’s schedule is far more crowded and complicated than mine. So, I’m adding “See more movies” to my bucket list, reminding myself that it’s perfect OKAY to go alone, especially to a matinee.

I’m sure I will think of or discover more things to add to my bucket list. I just need to be conscious that I’m no longer some young person who has a world of time in front of me to do things I enjoy doing. I also need to get over this idea that I can’t do these things on my own, because I can, even if it’s not my preference. I’m not ready to go on a bona-fide vacation by myself, because I want to be able to share those moments and memories with someone else. But it is time to get out and do/discover things while my health still allows me to.

Remember, at the end, we don’t regret the things we’ve done, only the things we didn’t. So, revise your own bucket list by adding some attainable goals and get out there!

Mentally Preparing for Winter

Autumn is so special when it begins to unfold, but it is, it seems, the season that ends on a desperate note. We look forward to winter passing into the beauty of spring, we look forward to spring passing into the warm weather and vibrant green of summer, and we look forward to summer passing into a cacophony of color for autumn. But at autumn’s end, it is nothing more than stark, bare trees awaiting the cold of winter. And while we can groan and mumble about it, it IS going to happen! So why not set yourself up with preparations and ideas to keep engaged during this time?

Our days are filled with less sunlight hours, making the nights seem endless. Our minds tell us subconsciously that it’s time for bed when the skies are dark, and our bodies sometimes struggle not to give in and go to bed far too early. The holiday season – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years – give us planning to do, but once the holidays are over, the doldrums can set in rather quickly.

One of the things I’ve found that helps me cope with the early darkness at night, and with my S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) is to use what are called “day” bulbs in several of my lamps. These bulbs burn a bright light, very white, and make us feel like daylight is around us.

Being cooped up during artic weather is another difficulty. I suggest taking up a craft, or reading, or saving movies you’ve never seen before to help fill the hours. Of course, if you’re like me, you’ll spend time in the kitchen making all of those comfort foods we seem to crave. Also, winter time is a good time to have your evening meal at the table, instead of in front of the TV. The pleasure of eating is always increased when we choose to “dine” appropriately. If you’ve got kids underfoot, depending upon their ages, engage them by letting them help you prepare a meal. I remember that jigsaw puzzles were always fun during the winter, and they can be a family event.

Just try to find things to do other than relying on social media to fill your hours! It’s important to keep occupied so that your mind is active and not lingering in the sadness that winter can bring in varying degrees to each person. And remind yourself that you will get through it!

I’ll be writing a post on preparing your kitchen for winter next, so stay tuned for that! Meanwhile, enjoy the autumn season as much as you can!