Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

Why I Don’t Have A Bucket List

by Tanya Grove

Apparently everyone has a bucket list-—all the things they want to do before they die. My friend Al Levenson has a bucket list that you can read on his blog, A Year on the Road. My 19-year old daughter has had a bucket list for a few years and has already made great headway. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson even made a movie about it.

So I figured I needed one too. To that end, I sat down and gave it some thought.

When I was a teenager, I dreamed of going to Paris.

I'm lucky enough that I've gone twice.

In my twenties, I dreamed of having my own family and owning a house.

When I was thirty, we bought a house and had a baby.

In my thirties, I hoped that I would be able to raise a healthy, happy daughter who would pursue her own dream.

I know that I'm still a parent-—that's a job for life-—but I'm very proud of the woman my little girl has grown into, and even though I'm sure there will be obstacles to overcome, I'm confident that she will handle them. And anything she can't do on her own, we can do together.

As far as careers go, I wanted to be the best teacher I could be and make a difference in children's lives. Whether it was my humor, my hugs, or introducing them to a favorite book, I feel in my heart that they all benefited from something I gave them. Maybe all they'll remember of me is one of the silly songs I used to sing in class. That's good enough for me.

In my forties, my dream has been to be a published writer. But that dream partially depends upon a fickle and ever-changing industry, so I don't really have control over the publishing end of that. I do have control of my part-—writing. And I do write.

I hear you saying that I don't get it, that family and career aren't considered bucket list items. Bucket lists are more specific: places to go, people to meet, goals to achieve, benchmarks to pass.

But I've thought about it. I have no burning desires that have yet to be fulfilled. I really don't want to go skydiving or visit the North Pole or meet the queen of England. And although there are a few places I'd still like to see-—I've never been to Spain-—I'm not going to regret it if I never make it there.

I guess that's the essence of a bucket list: when you reach the end of your life, what would you regret not having done?

I have no regrets. So I'm going to pass on the bucket list. At least for now…

Tanya Grove lives happily in Berkeley, California, where she writes mostly for children. Read her musings at
For Words. If you want to hear an adorable British child read aloud one of Tanya's poems, click here:

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