Between the Lines: Rethinking the Bucket List

ColumnConscious life, hear me roar.

When I was 19, living in Italy and then backpacking Europe, I re-entered my life back here in the States with a whole new perspective on what I would want from the future. Oh, I could envision this virgin bucket list and sitting here writing this – at this very moment – I can tell you I remember what I FELT like when I saw the future and it had very little to do with being responsible.

(Bucket List 1990): To remain forever single, forever childless, to explore jungles clad in dirty tank tops and a camera around my neck shooting images of wild eyed women who have no idea why the hell I would want to be there, write a novel alone in a cabin on a mountain, learn how to fly a Cessna, have many affairs, romances, always take coffee with lots of cream, explore existential freedom, sexual freedom, get published in the New York Times, get published in National Geographic.

(Bucket List 2000): To love my husband forever, to take my two children to all the places that inspired me, to inspire at least 10 women to succeed, to buy a cottage on a lake, buy a 1963 Ford Falcon to look cool in, drive in New York City without having an anxiety attack, go on a roller coaster again, get published in the New York Times, get published in National Geographic.

(Bucket List 2010): Breathe more, take yoga weekly, take my two children to all the places that inspired me, inspire another 10 women to succeed, get that damn cottage on a lake, get published in the New York Times, get published in National Geographic (because for shit’s sake I know enough people who work there now).

(Bucket List 2012):

I had this column all mapped out for you. I was going to be clever but truthful and write a few things here about what is REALLY on my current bucket list. But as with life, and all the twists and turns it offers us, I stumbled upon an article in the daily newspaper early this morning.

A former philosophy professor who is forever my mentor and friend had written his own column with the title “A New Kind of Clock Tells the Truth.”

“Here are three things that we all know to be true,” he writes.

“1. The past does not exist.

2. The future does not exist.

3. All that does exist is the present.”

I often tell my 92 year old neighbor when she laughs and tells me I’ll “probably outlive her,” that in this life, we cannot always be so certain. I told her just last night on her back porch that at that very moment a satellite from space could suddenly plunge from on high and crush me right in front of her. She didn’t think that was so funny and went inside.

Bucket lists? To what purpose do they serve? To add to longings and make us feel inadequate with what we do have? I have everything I need at this very moment: a comfortable chair, a cold glass of lemon water, a light breeze on my shoulders and an audience who will read this article.

My family is safe and healthy and we have traveled. I have taken flying lessons, listened to countless women’s dreams, driven in New York City, rode roller coasters, taken yoga classes and sat quietly taking deep breaths.

I disagree a bit with my professor. I say the past does exist and that it has a big part of the present. That in the grand scheme of things, these experiences are all things that have made us who we are sitting here together. We have not only checked things off the list but we are the total of them. Regardless of whether they’ve been right or wrong, we are them.

How full we should be now and ready for the falling satellites.

Image: Naomi Lbuki

Between the Lines is a weekly column by EcoSalon’s Editor-in-Chief on navigating the sometimes-sharp, sometimes-blurred lines of conscious life and culture between city and country, between inner worlds and outer.

Amy DuFault

Amy DuFault is a conscious lifestyle writer, consultant and fashion instigator. She resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.