So here we are, rolling into autumn despite temperatures hovering near 90 degrees this week. As I was recently reminded, last year’s first frost happened on October 1. I’m guessing that won’t be the case this year! But with the arrival of autumn as we roll too quickly through September comes the realization that a birthday hovers just around the corner.
I always loved being one of the kids with a fall birthday. My sister’s is two days after Christmas, which I grew up thinking had to be the most awful time to have a birthday because it was always lost amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday. Who wants cake or a party then? Well, I’m pretty sure she did! But as a child with a fall birthday, I got to do things before most of my peers – my birthday still brought the oooohs and ahhhs of having something special in class, while the poor kid with the birthday in late May, 29 classroom birthday parties later, hardly got a notice. I got my license before most of them and celebrated the seemingly important 21st birthday ahead of them as well. And looming over all the rest of my childhood birthdays were the big ones that were out there…. somewhere… far, far away. You know how it is when you are a kid. Turning 21 was fantastic, and even 25 was good. You were on your way. But then hovered 30. And even 35. And, heaven forbid, someday 40. After that, we knew with our youthful certainty, you were just old. And especially for those of my generation, there was the really big question of “What do you think life will be like in the year 2000?” “Can you imagine?” We would ponder, dreaming of incredible things to come, things promised to us by George Jetson, Superman, and Star Trek: flying cars, automatic showers, robotic maids, and transporters.
This birthday will be one of those half-decade ones, not as important as the ones ending in “0’s” of course, but a milestone nonetheless. And for the first time, I find my mind wandering to all the things I wanted to do in life and measuring myself against all the ones still left undone. I’ve knocked off some pretty solid ones so far. But the more I think about it, the more I realize there are lots of things I still want to do. Some I’m working on right now, others I had forgotten about. And I’m pretty sure there are one or two new ones that have crept in more recently. So I’ve decided to create a pre-bucket list. Not a true bucket list, as in recent movie fame, where you have a list of things to do before you die. But a pre-bucket list, a list of the things I want to do to live the life I dream of living. The bucket list will come, God willing, in 30 or 40 years. But in between now and then, there are indeed things I want to do. And perhaps, as Carter Chambers points out in The Bucket List, the list can be boiled down to two basic questions: “You know, the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death. When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions. Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not. ‘Have you found joy in your life?’ ‘Has your life brought joy to others?’” Maggie Shayne wrote an excellent post over at StoryBroads about some ways to get started on changing your life right now. She called it her “Life-Lift List” and has some good suggestions on ways to start living a life of joy.
I’m working on mine.
So what’s on your pre-bucket list? What things are you doing, or can you do, to make your world a little better?
And for my birthday? I’m still waiting for that jetpack we were promised we’d all be using by now!
Catch you later!