Trying to come up with the ultimate "Bucket List" and then accomplish everything on that inventory sounds like a lot of pressure to me - and I've got enough of that going on already.
In recent years, the term Bucket List (and I'm going to capitalize it just because I can) has become an ingrained part of America's vocabulary. I think it started with a movie about two elderly gentlemen who were trying to complete the items on their respective lists before they transitioned from the physical to the spirit world.
The premise made for some outstanding comedy as the two old gents gave it their all in a quest to check off each and every item on their "things to do" directory.
Ever since then, the term Bucket List has been used by just about everyone on the planet at one time or another. You hear the phrase almost every day, ad nauseam.
"Oh, that's on my Bucket List of things to do before I die," is a common refrain.
Or, "That's something I should definitely add to my Bucket List."
Anyway, you get the idea.
But, as a realist, I'd be willing to bet my last gold doubloon that no one achieves everything on his or her list. Not because they don't want to, but because it's either logistically impossible or financially out of the question.
With that being said - or rather written - the natural thing for me to do would be to reveal my own Bucket List. I haven't taken the time to pen an actual catalog of the things I'd like to do before the Grim Reaper comes a knockin', but I have to admit there are some things I would have liked to experience along life's way.
Unfortunately, or perhaps the opposite, most of the things on my Bucket List require a youthful body, sound knees, a solid spinal chord and a certain amount of stamina. Things that have admittedly dwindled over the years.
For instance, there was a time when I dreamed of being a jockey and bringing my steed thundering down the homestretch at Churchill Downs. That vision was shattered when I realized I would be over 6-feet, 3-inches tall and the recommended height for a jock is about 5-2.
I also thought about being a handsome, dashing matador who became the adored idol of millions because of my bravery against the mighty beast. And then I saw a film clip of the best matador in the world getting fatally gored.
Along those same lines, the "cowboy" in me kept trying to convince my ego that I should try riding a bucking bull just once before I hung up my spurs, but that idea rapidly dissolved with the passing years and the knowledge that my bones no longer bend - they snap.
I could go on, but I probably shouldn't ... oh, what the hell.
I still think it would be a totally awesome (sorry) rush to sit in the passenger's seat of a NASCAR racer and have Jimmie Johnson take me on a three-lap cruise.
Becoming the most out-of-shape individual to ever climb Mt. Everest still calls to me from the depth of my adventurous soul, but we all know that isn't going to happen. Climbing to the top of a set of bleachers at a basketball game is enough of a challenge for me.
There was a time when I would have given just about anything to play a little one-on-one with Dr. J, but my letters begging him to give me a shot remain unanswered.
When I lived in Hawaii as a lad, I fantasized about surfing on a 50-foot wave at Waimea Bay, but that lasted until I actually saw someone rocket down the face of such a monster wave and getting tossed around like a rag doll.
Comparing Bucket Lists is an interesting way to ignite a conversation, and it's fascinating to discover what your friends or relatives put on their lists. The items never cease to amaze me.
In the final analysis, however, the vast majority of items on my Bucket List will forever be unrealized, but that's just fine because the real things I wanted to accomplish in life have been done. And I don't make that statement with any arrogance intended. I fully realize just how fortunate I've been in life, and I remain eternally grateful.
But as far as my "real" Bucket List goes, it's quite satisfying:
Decent health and a long life (to date) - check
A wonderful wife and companion - check
Great kids and the best looking grandchildren on the planet - check
Graduating from a wonderful college (Luther) - check
A dream job that I love doing - check
Adoring pets that never judge, just accept - check
A comfortable home in the best community in America - check
The respect and support of my peers - check
Friends who actually like me - check
The feeling that what I do as editor of Decorah Newspapers matters - check
Hobbies that fill my time and pique my interest - check
A sense of humor - check
Stunningly good looks - check (oh lighten up)
The promise of a brighter tomorrow - check
Seems like my Bucket List is full - with the things that really matter.