Monday, October 17, 2011

My **** It List (rhymes with bucket)

Being a non-conformist, it's almost embarrassing to admit to having a bucket list.  But everyone has those moments when they find themselves with butterflies in their stomachs, hope pounding in their hearts and those One day I'll... thoughts going through their brains.  I have those moments, too, and some of the ideas really get me clenching my fists in excitement.  The problem lies in the way this perfectly normal part of living and dreaming was given an official name: Bucket List.  When something is given an official name it takes on an air of importance and when something is important, one might start feeling obligated.  Before the Bucket List someone might have said, "I want to go to England one day."  Now, if they've put it on an actual Bucket List, they might find themselves saying, "Oh my gosh!  I have to get cracking on this!"  We don't need this extra stress in our lives, do we?

Trail scenery at the park.
Years ago I started reading journals written by people who had hiked the Appalachian Trail.  You've got to have time, money, and endurance to hike a little over two-thousand miles of mountain range, and though I had none of the requirements, I always toyed with the idea.  But I always had one condition: that I would wait until I'd gone through menopause.  Not having time, money and endurance doesn't mean I'm not practical after all.  Well, by the time I'd passed that checkpoint, the Bucket List had become its own entity and I found myself stressing out.

I live near a part of the AT and spend a lot of time in a park there.  I've taken small jaunts along it there in the park where it's pretty easy.  I've also hiked a wee bit of it in search of a letterbox (future blog topic perhaps) with a friend.  This wee bit kicked butt with its steepness.  After finding the box and going back down, finding it harder than going up, I had the epiphany that the AT and I would never have a long term relationship; that little preview, brutal as it was, showed me the AT would never have the patience for fat, frumpy me with my noodle-like calf muscles and chafe-prone thighs. I definitely wasn't its type.   Sigh... 

I didn't think you could just cross something off a Bucket List.  Standing there panting, feeling the burn in my legs, I said to my friend, "I used to think I would hike the whole trail one day.  But you know what? **** it."  That is how the **** It List came about.  So a little juggling of mental files and the AT Hike swooshed out of the one list into the other!  No stress, no obligation, just the freedom to meander along gentle, frumpy woman-friendly bits of the trail. 

And now, before I run off to finally pack for the trip/rescue mission, I leave you with a wish: that you too find power over the Bucket List and the freedom to create your own **** It List.  Bye for now!

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