Many year ago I belonged to a theatre company, American Theatre Arts. We had a wonderful building on Hollywood and Argyle and more fun than should be possible. Lots of angst and drama too, of course, but what a wonderful time in my life!
There was an actor there called Bob Garrison. Good actor and interesting guy. One of my favorite stories EVER is about him and it goes like this:
When Bob turned 50 years old, he packed a suitcase, drove to LAX, went to the International Departures desk and asked for the next flight out. The NEXT flight…nothing specific, and he did not want to be told where he was going. Plopped down a credit card and headed for the gate and ended up in Morocco. MOROCCO! He did that, just like that, and had a marvelous time.
Can you imagine that? I can. I imagine it a lot, mostly when I am dreaming happily, sometimes in a down moment when I want to escape, but imagine it I have.
I was reminded of this story by two things.
One was an ad I saw for a company that orchestrates these kinds of trips for you. I was reading it and remembered Bob, and also thought how fun it would be to work at a company like that, though possibly dangerous. They find out a lot about you and then intuit what you would like….nerve-wracking! but they are in business,so, hey, they must do a pretty good job.
The other reason was that I have been hearing the term “bucket list” tossed around lately particularly within my circle of peers…or those around my age. I’ve heard myself say it. I have always loved the idea of a bucket list in the same way I love the idea of a list of the 10 books , albums, whatever you might take to a desert island. That kind of thinking is fun but your choices can change because more books come out or more music is made and I revise that list in my head a lot. The bucket list seems more permanent, more solid, something that might be added to but not subtracted from or swapped out for. The things you want to do, you WANT to do.
I have, however, never taken the time to make a bucket list. Oh, I get ideas here and there, even have a few that I would put on such a list if I had one, but actually making one with the intention of seriously ticking items off, living those dreams? No. Haven’t done it.
I can imagine any number of reasons why….an admission of mortality could be one. People are not comfortable with that, but I am actually, very comfortable with the idea that we all die. That would not be a reason for me. Along with that one goes the “if you build it, it will come” argument of putting the idea of death out into the universe, but, frankly, it could also be used as an argument for doing it…”if you write one, you will cross them off”. There is also the idea that you make a list and maybe you cross off a few but you can’t do all of them so why bother? I don’t much like that one either because it seems that any headway made on such a list would be awesome….really doing things that you want to do, dream of doing, how could any of that be bad or even not enough?
I operate, still too often, from a place of fear and powerlessness, of not being good enough. I am willing to give my not writing a bucket list to that part of me, the part that doesn’t deserve a list of dreams like that, that could never do them anyway so why bother, that is so scared to try new things….
BUT, I am less and less that person. I now operate from a far clearer, better space , and I am going to write that list, and it is going to come from the part of me that is awesome and powerful. That knows she is capable of great (and silly) things. That understands that time is finite and that I will die so what am I waiting for. I have proven, prove daily that I can do hard things. Now I want to prove I can do fun things, things with meaning (even if only to me), joyful, exciting and crazy things. And I don’t have to do them all, probably won’t. But I won’t do any if I don’t make the list.
Bob Garrison has been dead for years. He went to Morocco on his 50th birthday.
I’m gonna write that list.