Nothing about the phrase ‘bucket list’ evokes mundane or simple ideas, does it? Even when you say, “summer bucket list,” you envision out of the ordinary places and activities.
I usually think of the list my son created when he was eighteen. He’s twenty-three now and has checked off such lofty goals as watching a sunrise from a hot air balloon.
If that weren’t lofty enough a goal, he did it while working in Australia.
On a particularly optimistic spring day, I got caught up in a fit of whimsy and started pondering what my bucket list might look like.
I put down crazy things like “go zip-lining” and “get a passport”. Then, I took a Tylenol and went to rest till I returned to my senses.
Still, the idea of a bucket list kept flirting around the edges of my fraidy cat soul.
One morning I woke up to a revelation of nearly burning bush proportions: my life has been dominated and controlled by a never-ending sense of guilt. Thing was, I couldn’t figure out where the guilt came from or what triggered it. It was white noise filling my head even when I slept.
No wonder bucket lists made me just a little cra-cray. Ok. A lot. Why on earth would I make one more list to watch myself fall short?
Yes, I know. I’m over-thinking it, and lists are about serendipitous, even spontaneous, fun.
Welcome to my world. I told you guilt was the white noise of my life. There is no serendipity or spontaneity when guilt has paralyzed you.
Wanna know what I think? I think I’m not alone. I think there are a blue bajillion (roughly calculated as ten to the fourteenth quadrillion) folks out there who look at a Pinterest perfect bucket list and feel as if we are chasing a picture perfect life we’ll never catch. Mostly we are moms.
We give up before we start because we are already so far under the load of life we can’t breathe. I took a look at my guilt and realized I was exhausted.
Balancing life for a husband and two sons with complex, autism spectrum personalities, homeschooling two sons with complicated learning issues, and coping with a complicated marriage made even more complicated by my spouse’s fragile health added up after a while.
And all the mommies out there just shouted, “Amen, Sista. You preach. I’ll take up the offering.”
To my own surprise, my bucket list fell into place. It was brilliant in its mundane simplicity. I needed to do little things that ministered to my weary soul.
What little things could I do to that would foster my sense of creativity, support a restful state of mind, and enable me to look around and see tiny accomplishments?
I came up with four ideas:
- Participate in the #100HappyDays challenge by posting a daily (or almost daily) picture of something that made me happy.
- Create container gardens by purchasing a plant or two a week.
- Tend to my lazy compost pile and watch the earthworms get fat and happy.
- Sit on my porch with my dad and brother and visit the way folks used to do when I was a little girl.
I am trying to ignore the fact that summer is half over now. I want to hold on to these precious days of porch-sitting and rocking while my dad, brother, sister, and I navigate the waning days of my dad’s life.
As we talk, I look over at my growing flowers and the compost pile volunteering plants as if I am some composting ninja. We watch my sons talk as they cement a new, more adult relationship through an emerging hobby – grilling.
I take delight in raindrops on flower buds, and close up shots reveal the architecture of nature I never saw before. I breathe deeply as unexpected nighttime showers slip upon us. The raindrops drown out the hum of our voices.
Life is sweet. Rest is overtaking me.
If you are a mom, you are weary. It goes with the territory. Learn from me. While you are busy creating memories for your children, minister to yourself.
Find beauty in the mundane simplicity of a simple, restful bucket list. Before you know it, the white noise of guilt will begin to melt away. Peace will slip in. Life will be sweet.
About the Author: Carol Anne Wright Swett is a contradiction in terms – a fraidy cat so ferocious her friends once nicknamed her ‘Mad Dog’. She promises it was a term of endearment. She has homeschooled for almost seventeen years and is embracing her coming empty nest with bittersweet anticipation. She is a regular contributor to both Home Educating Family’s blog and print magazine. You can connect with her at Confessions of a Fraidy Cat.
Images by Carol Anne Wright Sweet.