Yesterday I flew a plane. Just a little plane above Wanaka but still I flew a plane. Tick that one off the bucket list.
A bucket list you ask?
“A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.”
When I was 16 years old I wrote a bucket list. It was full of my hopes and dreams (through my naïve youthful eyes) (A marathon? Really 16 year old Amy? What were you thinking?)
I found this little scrap of paper with these aspirations when I was tidying my flat after Riley died. I decided it was time. I had to get out and do these things. What happened if I died at 26? What had I accomplished thus far?
I rewrote my bucket list into my Wonder Woman notebook and put plans into motion.
We all have this urge to be something, do something that is off the charts, that people will remember us for when we are gone. Riley’s photography is something people will never forget. He was so good at what he did, talented and hard working.
What is my photography? I am yet to find something that I am as stunning and hard working at, but I am hoping to find something that will make a difference in the world, maybe not to a huge amount of people, but enough to the people I love.
But in the meantime, I need to get some stuff on my bucket list ticked off.
I want to look at my life at the end and not have any regrets. I doubt Riley had many (apart from his life being a little shorter than most).
I also want to help him live his bucket list a little. I know he always wanted to go to Iceland. So I will take him, scatter the last of his ashes that I have been saving. Let him see the northern lights and visit the workshop thing where the developers of his favourite game are.
Bucket lists aren’t just about making a list of experiences you can do before you die; they can also be goals. These provide you with a focus, a direction, and a purpose in life.
Where are you going with your life? How is what you are doing right now helping you with the aspirations on your bucket list? How can you be doing more?
What is your legacy? What will people remember you for when you die? Bucket lists help you add or build your legacy. Years down the track your great, great grandchildren will hear about their crazy great, great grandmother who flew a plane and wrote a handbook for people just like her. The way her hair changed colour as often as the tide and just had zero fucks to give.
We all have that fear that no one will remember us; we will live and die and people will forget about us. That’s why we have this instinct to be different, to do weird things, to take leaps and bounds in science, technology, etc. so we can think, yes I will die but my legacy will live on.
Other reasons to make and announce your intentions is that way more people can help you with your bucket list. The more people that know, the more people there are to help. When I mentioned the marathon running as one of my bucket list ideas, I was flooded with information – offers to run with me, and advice on what not to do. Unfortunately the marathon is being postponed due to medical reasons, but I still hope to get there one day. The more you let other people know, the more likely you are actually going to go through with it. Among all the other urges we have in life (lol), we also have the urge to not let other people down. If you tell someone you will be at a party, you are a lot more likely to go then if you don’t. You want to avoid the confrontation of “why weren’t you at the party,” it is basic human nature.
It’s also a reward list of sorts. A lot of the time if we think about life, we are born, we work for money to do activities that make us feel better about the fact that we work for most of our lives, and then we die. Disappointing as it is, that’s how it goes.
So we make a list of things we can do as a reward for all the hard work we have done. All the shit we have dealt with. And for a short time it makes us feel better, and we can continue the ongoing cycle.
On a smaller scale you can see it in everyday life. If I work until 9am I can have a coffee. If I do that extra hour I can buy takeaways on the way home, etc.
One day when you are nearing your end, what will look back on? A safe life full of regrets and work? Or will you be able to say, “Yeah I did a bunch of things I am proud of, and I am slightly more ready for this than I expected to be”?
Riley rode a motorbike, he did what he wanted, and he said what he wanted. He was happy in his job, and as far as I was aware happy with his personal life. He didn’t let fear get in the way of his life (and sometimes the law, breaking into the train station platform for a perfect night photo).
I know I need to be more like him. Not growing the side burns, but living life, doing what I want, and making sure that even when things are shit, to continue having the optimism and can-do attitude that he did. Don’t let the fear set in, don’t be afraid of a good life and try your hardest to be the best you can be.
Early morning outside our window.