Kick the Bucket Aside……..

This week’s newspaper column:

We are now entering into a sacred time—attention must be paid. It is now April and it is my birthday month. Just kidding—but seriously folks, we should pay more attention to ourselves—but not in a “selfie” gratuitous way, but in a way wherein we appreciate that we are still here with all the good, bad, and ugly life has to offer.

Sometimes I regret the fact that I am, in some circles, considered a “senior”. I do not feel quite up to the designation yet—nor do I feel wiser or older. I am not yet up to the task of being looked upon as someone who should be valued and honoured and respected because of my age. I do not deserve it yet, as I do not feel as if I have “arrived”.

What does that mean? I have not fulfilled what I believe is my mission: to rule the world. No, no—that was Brain’s mission (as in the cartoon Pinky and the Brain. If you have never viewed this iconic Warner Brothers offering—Brain and Pinky are mice, and Brain wants to take over the world. He has a huge head and is really quite intelligent. Pinky is a bit of a simpleton, but in the end he is the wise one—but I think I may be getting off topic here…)

I do not have a bucket list—or a list of all those things I want to accomplish before I die, as I do not relish the thought of kicking the bucket, so instead I have a life list—which if I want to put any dent in, I should get busy. Everyone should have a life list—a list of things which contains the obtainable but also the impossible; the practical as well as the whimsical; the necessary and those things of which dreams are made of.

So here is my life list—it does not take into account the things I have already obtained or experienced, but it is my wish list of things to continue to reach for. (I was feeling a bit low today and my husband reminded me of some of the things that I have already that no one can take away from me—this list is a complement to those things). Though I have numbered my list—the first is no more important than the last:

1. Have my words spread over all continents so that my wisdom will live on forever. Get published in a wider forum. Have my fractured attempts at writing haiku shared; my scattered thoughts put in book form; and Margaret Atwood finally invite me to tea (with ten of my friends) on Pelee Island.
2. Travel to the ends of the earth. The length and breadth of the world. Okay, I would be satisfied with seeing more of Canada and the States, visiting wine country in France and Italy (I have done my best in visiting the wine offerings locally), dropping in on the Queen (who shares my birthday), and…well, really why limit it—travelling to the ends of the earth (except the really cold parts).
3. Experience what I call “woo-woo” stuff—but not scary “woo woo” stuff. I like the idea of the ethereal but I seem to be stuck in the muck and mire of reality—then again, who says reality does not include these things?
4. Win the lottery. A big lottery. And then share it.
5. Clean up my bedroom. (In the scheme of things this seems inconsequential, but really if you saw my room—you would understand.)
6. Channel a little more of Martha Stewart and a little less of Erma Bombeck. (That is not true—I take that back—though I would love to be made up of the sterner stuff that is Martha, my beliefs are Erma all the way.)
7. Do whatever I can to help my kids have successful lives, but not do so much that it is not of their own volition and creativity.
8. Stay married for 50 years at least—that means I will have to live to at least 79. See you all at my golden anniversary—I will be having a big party—Led Zepplin (if they are still alive) will be making an appearance. It will be catered by Bobby Flay and Lynn Crawford. Dressy jeans will be the attire; and champagne with (local) ice wine the only elixir.
9. I will cook gourmet meals, have friends and family over to enjoy, and not have to clean up the kitchen. That will be putting to good use all those hours I have spent reading cookbooks and watching the Food Network.
10. Read to my heart’s content.

I implore you to make up your own “life list” while kicking the proverbial bucket aside—you may be surprised at what you come up with.

V ~ is for Vicarious

Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion, t...

Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion, the first Trixie Belden mystery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“If a movie is really working, you forget for two hours your Social Security number and where your car is parked. You are having a vicarious experience. You are identifying, in one way or another, with the people on the screen.” ~ Roger Ebert

I have a rather positive outlook on vicarious experiences. Though I may not have experienced something firsthand, that does not mean the experience is not worthy.  In fact vicarious experiences can be just as satisfying. Is that not what we do when we get lost in a good movie as Ebert so ably puts it, or better yet, when we read a book?

I remember as a young girl reading the adventures of Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, and living them in my imagination. The things that they dealt with did not happen in my “real” life, but I was richer, as was my imagination, for having experienced them vicariously.

I sometimes live through the tales my friends tell of their adventures, their travels, and their creative acts. And by listening to them, my attention is rapt, and their memories become not my memories, but an open door to things I have not had the chance to do or create.

Some of the synonyms I found for vicarious are not at all how I define it.  The words second-hand, displaced, remote, indirect, removed or distanced do not play a part in my vicariousness.

To me, living vicariously opens up worlds that may not be available to me otherwise. It also provides an impetus to do the things that I find appealing. Sometimes living out something in your imagination translates itself into action.

I have lots of things on my life list (as opposed to my bucket list which sounds a little too final to me) that I want to do: travel, publish a book, learn to golf and play tennis, get involved in more community activities—and as I work on this list, I derive pleasure from those who do travel extensively, write books, play the games I want to play, and join the activities I want to take part in. It is part of the learning process—it is all part of my life research.

I think of  “living vicariously” as a practice run wherein I am identifying what it is I want to accomplish.

1966 cover of the revised version of The Secre...