Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ever-Evolving Bucket List

Bucket Lists
I have always had a keen sense of the brevity of life. I never think of that as morbid, rather, I have been simply, yet acutely aware that our human lives on Earth are precious and short compared to the vastness of our cosmic surroundings. I fully believe God prefers us to live our lives to the fullest rather than to hold back. I feel my own life has alternated between periods of holding back / being conservative and times of going for it, as I am sure many of us feel. In the past twenty years or so, I have mostly tried to pay attention to what fulfills me and what I would like to do with my life - rather than trying to please others to the point that my own objectives are thwarted or my soul squelched. Sure, I am still a people-pleaser in some respects and I desire "approval" from some (we all want to be liked etc.), but I am much more self-reliant and confident in my middle age. Yes, I actually think forties would count as middle aged and THAT, friends, is a wake up call if I ever heard one. Another wake up call is in my inherent belief that life is worth living, fun, full of adventures to be had, and life is not written in stone.
Found in the Marigny neighborhood, New Orleans.
An example of the idea that we all want to
make a lasting impression.

So the bucket list? I was recently talking with someone about wanting to ride horses again and that I had always wanted to go hang-gliding......that I sort of wanted to try skydiving and that I definitely wanted to ride in a hot air balloon. They remarked "where did you get such a spirit of recklessness?" In my opinion, these were all things that were risky, yet people do them every day and they're not as unusual as true daredevils or perhaps as risky as skyscraper window-washers...simply by the fact that these things would probably be done once or twice and not all the time.

Then, I began wondering what it was that gives some of us these wild tendencies and desires to push the edges of our own comfort zones. Amazing how each individual has a world of comforts and ideas so different from his neighbor! Some people have a more physical need for adventure. Naturally, this took me to thoughts of my own ever-evolving bucket list. Then, I realized that the adventures I named were on my bucket list - along with several other things!

My list has changed over the years
and my ideas of what would be fun to do or lasting or important or life-changing have also changed over time. I've done many things that were formerly on my bucket list and I feel lucky to have had the opportunities that allowed me to accomplish certain goals, the strength to complete certain challenges, and the humor and grace to see when NOT to pursue some things! LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY!!!

In kindergarten, my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up numbered 25. I wanted to do everything! A few of the things I had always wanted to do from my childhood included:

- be a racehorse jockey
- be a singer (solo, as in opera)
- be a mother
- be a scientist
- a gardener

I ended up riding horses and did some shows when I was young. Then, in my teens in trained horses for a short while. I never had the body that was necessary to become a jockey and my life didn't follow that path, but it still included horses so all is well :-)

I did not ever become a shining example of solo singing, but I have done some solos and I do try out from time to time. I do lots of choral singing so I feel very fulfilled by that and by singing under genuinely FANTASTIC directors - all is well :-)

I didn't become a mother and went through a period where it was difficult for me to even hold a baby. I'd tear up and then feel mopey for a day or so. Then, it occurred to me that if I truly wanted a child, I could indeed adopt and have that part of my life. The idea made me analyze what I truly wanted. It also occurred to me that I truly didn't want to have a child without a husband and life partner and when I found someone like that - I wanted to spend time with them first before having a child. The desire began to subside when I realized I had the option to adopt and I didn't do it. It also began to be clear that in spite of the fact that most married folks socialize with other married folks, in the big picture of life, there will always be a place for the single. All is well :-)

I am so NOT a scientist, though I began as a biology pre-med major. I have managed to become a #spacetweep and allow my inner geeky side to emerge in the past few years.
I enjoy reading and learning about science, but not having the pressure to retain it all or teach it fulltime. I am lucky to be a JPL Solar System Ambassador and that was a dream come true! It allows me to share my enthusiasm for space and science with others and to meet so many people that are actually involved in areas and projects that I admire!

Gardening....well, let's just say that at least I like plants ;-)
Purple cone flower, pic taken in Chiusa, Italy 2013

Other items
- be a conductor - YES! I did it! I continue to strive for being better at it!
- be respected for what I do  - So far, I feel pretty good about this, continuing to strive to be better and do a good job with my jobs!

What is on my bucket list NOW?
- Travel (I'd love to see Machu Picchu, Soviet Georgia, spend more time in Northern Scotland, see Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, etc.). I have been SOOOOO LUCKY throughout my life to be able to travel, save up for more travel, and travel on paid trips to sing or to teach! Advice to young people about travel - JOIN A CHOIR.

- Write a couple of books (small or large, fiction or nonfiction....they are IN ME and it doesn't matter how or what, they will one day come out). My Mom's a writer (novels and prolific amounts of poetry) and my brother has written poetry. I enjoy blogging, but one day will bust out a book. Heck, I also like those silly tiny books one finds at check out counters in Barnes & Noble stores. Maybe I'll have some terrific inspiration one day for those!

- Learn more languages (Oh, let's see: Portuguese, Bulgarian, Italian). I may be too lazy. I'd like to learn many languages by osmosis. That would be sweet!

- Fly a plane - My father was a WWII pilot and I have always wanted to fly. In high school, I was too afraid my motion sickness would prevent me from doing this, but later I learned that it would not. The only factor that continues to prohibit me from taking pilot lessons is COST. At some point, I WILL DO IT!

- Own land - I recently decided....WHY NOT? I have plans in January to look into buying some land (empty lot for future probably)

- Work in the church - I already do this and I LOVE what I do. There is another calling, however and I'm not sure if it's to the deaconate or perhaps to be certified as a chaplain for places such as a university chapel or hospital. The desire has always been there. I've recently begin to get spiritual advising from a wonderful person and I have written my spiritual autobiography which I'll share as a post later on. I'm not quite ready to share it just yet. I used to talk with Fr. Keith Burns, chaplain at Porter-Gaud School when I was in HS there and my numerous ponderings have come and gone over the years. In the past three years, they've come and not left me so......time will tell if it is something I want to pursue futher.

- Skydiving or hang-gliding - these are so exciting! I hope to do one of them at some point in time. Maybe parasailing would be safer and yet still be thrilling! Perhaps it will be enough to fly a plane.....:-)

- Make a positive difference in someone's life - I think I've done this, I think MANY have, but it is something we continuously strive to do throughout our lives. I think it's important and hope to be able to accomplish it.


What is on YOUR Bucket List?
Lovely sunflower, pic taken at Venice train station, July 2013. All hail to Leonardo of Pisa (known as Fibonacci)!

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