Today would have been Daddy’s 74th birthday. We lost him when he was 55, six weeks after a diagnosis of cancer. He was such a brilliant man, smart, patient, active in the church, a physicist, a true servant leader. Not just a hard worker, he was also an astute strategist, avid reader (he taught me to love John le Carre and Robert Ludlum mysteries) and passionate University of Alabama fan. He was quiet, and the only time I ever remember him raising his voice was during a Bama football game!
Even this many years after his death, I still miss him so much, and often think of things I need to tell him. I wish I could share with him things that I’m doing and hope to do. But you know what I’ve realized lately? I don’t know what he dreamed of doing or hoped for. I don’t know if he had a bucket list.
For me, this time of year lends itself to reflection and dreaming, and I like to both look back at what I’ve accomplished this year, and look ahead to possibilities. Of course there are the usual goals and initiatives, but those are short-term.
I guess I’m a very realistic kind of person, because I don’t have a lot of lofty, far-off-in-the-future plans. My goals are generally more down-to-earth, and more within-the-next-year-or-two kinds of things. But lately, I’ve been letting my mind roam a bit, to see what might seem out of reach now, but that would be something I’d talk about for a long time.
I’ve come up with a couple of things. One is to swim with the dolphins. Another is to run a half marathon. That one might actually happen this spring.
My wildest dream is to ride in a hot air balloon. Why do I say wildest? Because I’m terrified of heights! So while I look up at them as they float over on a Saturday morning, I might pass out if I was up there looking down. But boy, does that look like fun to see the world from that perspective. So yes, it’s on my bucket list.
I think it’s important to have some things that seem unattainable but you would love to someday experience. How boring would life be if all you had was the nitty-gritty of today? The challenge, I think, is to make plans so that some of your dreams become a reality – to find a balance between the short-term and the long-term. Daddy didn’t have a chance for the long-term, and I wonder what he would have chosen to do if he had had the opportunity.
What is on your bucket list?