As promised, here’s my list of things I plan to accomplish before ringing in 50. There’s nothing flashy or daring here, but many of the items are things I have put off doing out of fear, so to overcome them would set me on a much happier path for my second act.
My (Halfway to Kicking the) Bucket List:
- Learn to Swim
Yep, I don’t know how. I’ve tried lessons in the past, but I can’t get over my fear of being underwater. What’s weird is I don’t fear the water itself – I enjoy canoeing and wading in the pool or the ocean. I think the fear comes from when I was a small child. I have a very distinct memory of hanging onto the edge of the pool as a little girl and inching my way around the perimeter. When I reached the deep end, my hands slipped and I went under. I remember seeing bubbles making their way to the surface of the water, and how the sunshine looked from deep down below. No one had to save me; I suppose I instinctively pushed up and resurfaced after a few seconds, but it must have shaken me up enough to make me fear doing it again. Although fear is not a part of that memory. I remember coughing and crying, but out of discomfort, not feeling afraid. I wanted to go back in the water, but I wasn’t allowed. Maybe not getting back in sealed the deal? Anyway, I need to get over this, once and for all. I want to be able to swim laps and tread water. I want to know what it feels like to jump into water that’s over my head.
- Re-connect (In Person!) with Old Friends and Extended Family
Facebook is great, but clicking “Like” on your best friend from high school’s status and typing “Happy Birthday! (Insert emoticons here)” on your cousin’s page once a year does not constitute keeping in touch. I need to start showing up.
- Get Published – in Print, in a Well-Known, Major Publication
I’ve done stuff for a few local publications, but I want to do more. The problem is that I’ve been stuck in the “want” phase, not doing anything to actually make it happen. What does this mean in terms of getting it done? Submit, submit, submit. Maybe contests, too. I’ll keep you posted.
- ROCK CONCERTS!!!
I’m still mourning the passing of Chris Cornell and beating myself up for missing out on Soundgarden when they played DC a few years back. At the time, I thought the tickets were too pricey, plus going would have meant a hotel stay, so I passed. And now I’ll never get the chance to see them. Some of the best memories of my youth involve going to rock shows, and with very few exceptions, I would come away loving the band (and their opener) more than I had before. Anna and I went to see The Struts at Cat’s Cradle last summer, and it was a blast. I want more of that. Life is too short. Buy the tickets.
- Begin Work on a Family Biography
In all families, there are many great stories. My dad has a great story. I’ve heard lots of fascinating bits of the life stories of relatives from my mom. I need to begin putting them in writing, before they are lost forever.
- Go Camping in a Camper
Our favorite family vacations involve road tripping it across the country. Paul and I also did it when we were first married, camping for at least part of the trek, and made a lot of great memories. Though I have never spent a night in a camper of any sort, I have wanted one for as long as I can remember. You name the toy, I had the camper version of it: Fisher Price Little People, Barbie, even the Weebles (remember them? They wobble, but they don’t fall down.) Paul and I have been talking about how we want to spend our retirement years, and we both agree that travelling the country and visiting (or revisiting) National Parks is high on the list. It sounds like a camper may be in our future, so I would like to spend some time in one to see how it feels.
- Get a Pedicure
Ok, I admit it’s pretty lame I’ve never had a pedicure in a nail salon, but I’m very ticklish and don’t want strangers touching my feet. But I do feel like I’m missing out on something when I hear other mothers talk about going out for mani/pedis with their daughters, so I need to bite the bullet here.
- Study a Subject That Is Difficult for Me
I never want to stop learning new things. When I finally earned my Bachelor’s at age 40, I majored in English because I love literature and writing. I think it’s important to study what you love most, but it’s equally important to push yourself to learn things that don’t come easy for you. There are many subjects that fit that criteria for me, but the most obvious one is Chemistry. I’m going to have to set the bar very low to start; if I’m being honest, “Chemistry for Dummies” would probably overwhelm me.
- Learn to Play Guitar
I had lessons at school in fourth grade, and for a few months when I was a freshman in college. I’ve worked my way through “Teach Yourself” books and know a handful of chords. Paul, who has played since high school, bought me an acoustic of my own a few years back for Christmas, so I have a guitar sitting patiently in the corner of the living room, waiting for me to pick it up. I want to put the time in and get good enough to play a song with my husband (and maybe sing, too.)
- Fly in a Plane
I can’t say I’m afraid to fly – I just really don’t like it. I have flown before, but never on a flight more than a couple of hours long, and even that was many, many years ago. I know that I really need to get over this aversion to flying. There are so many places I want to visit, and it won’t happen until I get my ass back on a plane. So I’m going to fly somewhere – anywhere – before I turn 50. As I said earlier in the list: Life is short. Buy the tickets.
So, there it is. Now that I’ve put the list down in black and white (and shown it to all of you!) I suppose I’m committed to getting down to business. Which one to tackle first? I’ll let you know!