Surprisingly, only one person that I can think of in the past month has asked me the question, “Do you have a bucket list?”
I said, “Not exactly.” Ultimately, I just want to die a happy death in a state of grace, but as far as what I want to get out of this life, I’ve already gotten most of it.
I suppose that, in principle, everyone should try to make a “big pilgrimage” at least once in their lives–like, the Holy Land or to see the Pope or Fatima or whatever, but I really have no interest in that and never have. If the opportunity arose, I’d take it, but I’d be happy with a good retreat over a pilgrimage any day, and as far as pilgrimages go, we have plenty of shrines here. Maybe the National Shrine of the Infant of Prague. I’ve been to most of the other shrines I’ve ever wanted to visit at least once.
It would be nice if we could afford to go every year to visit our friends in Louisville, and I wish we were better about calling them (the time zone difference always intimidates me).
It’s been years since I’ve been to Pennsylvania. I’d like to see my grandparents and my family and friends in Erie. But in terms of “what would you *really* want to do before you die?” or “What’s the thing you’ve never done that you’d like to do,” that hardly counts.
Those would be more like my “If I’m going to be around a while” list than a “bucket list.” Those desires are about relationships I wish I could do a better job of tending in this life.
But travel with 4 young kids in a van that gets 12 mpg is expensive.
I like to go places, and there are places I’d like to go, but none of them really matter, and I ultimately don’t see the point. All the amazing places and sights in this world that we may desire to see we want to see to help make it easier to get through this “bad hotel room,” as St. Teresa calls it and get to Heaven, which all those worldly experiences merely point us to.
So, if I’m going to die, what does it matter if I haven’t ever been to the Ukraine or Bohemia or New York City or Wyoming? I’ll be able to see them there and more.
Travel doesn’t interest me, except to see family or friends. Now, if I could make it onto the “speaking tour,” that would be one thing. And my dream retirement, if I made it that long, would be to live out of hotels (cheaper than assisted living!) and make money playing the piano for them.
When Mary and I were first corresponding, I think after we’d moved from e-mail to chat, I sent her a link to Annette Kirk’s “Life with Russell Kirk,” saying their life was my dream.
There are things I’d like for my life if I were going to live a long time, but most of those are still pretty “close to home,” and hardly anything I can think of in terms of “you have six months to live.”
The main thing that I want to do in the near future, whether I live 70 years, 7 years or 7 months, is to get something written that will sell, and I’ve been working at that like crazy.
Otherwise, if I knew I only had a few months or less left, there’s only one thing I’d want to do. Ironically, I was thinking of it very much for the last few days before my dissection. It would just be to have a second honeymoon with Mary. I would just like to spend a weekend, even just 36 hours, where it’s just the two of us in a hotel or whatever, with no one else, no kids, and minimal job duties. We didn’t even really do that on our honeymoon because we were trying so many things. We had planned it for the first day after the wedding, but we got bored and went back to my parents’ house for dinner.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to just have a romantic getaway like that, but I’d imagine that, if it it happened, we’d probably get bored pretty quickly.