Once in a while, I have to ride some of the back roads in my mind and clean up the litter. It's always a bit of a nuisance, and I'm usually loathe to do it, but like flossing, it really is a healthy thing to do.
Lying here and there in dusty arroyos or clinging to roadside bushes are plastic bags, sandwich wrappers and other debris representing old hurts, slights or grievances I had hoped to leave behind. Not wanting to take them with me, and unwilling or unable to deal with them properly at the time, I toss them to the wayside and drive on. It seems perfectly acceptable. It causes only the slightest twinge of remorse and is quickly assigned a low priority for concern.
Moving on is the order of the day.
Only, sometimes I become aware that not all these items are biodegradable. They need to be collected and disposed of properly. Old hurts and grievances, having long lost their temporary impact, are as ugly as roadside litter and about as useful. The best I can, I try to ride the old roads once in a while and clean them up.
What reminded me of this recently was all the talk about a movie, "The Bucket List."
Apparently this is this year's Fun Movie. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play two old guys facing the end of their days and for very different reasons each decides to fully live out the remainder of the time doing what they have always wanted to do.
I got to thinking. If I were to make such a list, what would be on it?
First, of course, I would attempt to right such wrongs as are still possible to affect. This would be a short list, unfortunately. You can't jump into the same river twice, someone once said. Where possible, though, I think I would try to do something nice to make things better wherever I could.
The rest of the list would depend strictly on whether money was necessary or not. Under realistic circumstances, the list would end right there, but it's a lot more fun and interesting to assume no barriers, and let conjecture have its head.
Here's my list:
Climb into the King's Chamber of The Great Pyramid.
Take a cruise up The Nile.
Spend a week or more in every province in Italy.
Take a cooking class at The Cordon Bleu.
Drink a bottle of the world's best wine at least once a week.
Own and operate a vintage Chris Craft motorboat.
Go fly-fishing on the Yellowstone River.
Play a guitar well.
Have a song I've written recorded by a major artist.
Sing in a quartet or octet, performing modern jazz or gospel music.
Play Pebble Beach and Cypress Point Golf Courses.
Take a camera along on the golf outings to Pebble Beach and Cypress Point.
(I once actually played Augusta National and don't have a single picture to show for it.)
There are at least a hundred other things I would like to do or see or enjoy, but I think I would be quite satisfied with this list. It's a selfish list, I know, and a fairly narrow one, considering all the possibilities, but it represents the better portion of my interests at my age and, within reason of sorts, it contains faintly achievable goals.
It's fun making such a list, and I imagine most folks would enjoy making their own. It would be interesting to see the wide variety of interests represented in these lists.
I think I can more easily identify with the old Hank Williams song, "My Bucket's Got a Hole in it," not that I have any complaint coming. A list of what I have been able to do offers me frail solace on occasion. Even so, who wouldn't take the opportunity to do everything they really wanted to, including righting some old wrongs and experiencing some great adventures? Given the chance, I know I would.
What I Can Do is whatever is within my reach on any given day, and this includes cutting most everyone around me a little slack -- including Me. As I said, a little trip down the back roads now and again to clean up old debris is worthwhile. Don't expect an Emmy or an Oscar, though. In fact, the less publicity, the better.
The more a mind is free of clutter, the more it is able to dream, I think. Now that I think about it, here are some more items for my list:
... Naw, make your own.