Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Betina's Bucket List

Yes, I went to the movie last Friday.

I saw "The Bucket List" with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. And I LOVED it. True, it was a little raw in places and painfully accurate about what happens to most people during chemotherapy. But it was also wonderfully hopeful and funny. It's not often you go to a movie and laugh your ass off while you have tears in your eyes. In fact, I can't recall a single other movie where that happened to me.

Now, you might think that this movie touched me because of my peculiar history with illness and disaster and death. And in some ways you'd be right. But I didn't check my brain and 20+ years of storytelling at the door when I entered the theater. The movie has whip-smart writing and terrific characterization and dead-on casting. And the cinematography is great, too. People applauded when the movie was over. When was the last time you heard applause in a movie theater?

More importantly, the movie almost demands that you think about what things are most important to you and what you'd love to do before you kick it.

Do you recall that book "1,000 Places To See Before You Die"? I have a copy. I was surprised and pleased to find I'd seen quite a few of them. But there are also quite a few (many here in the good old USA) that I haven't seen. The list Patricia Schultz put together is a traveler's list, places to visit and things to see.

What was interesting about The Bucket List was that there were lots of things on their list that were experiences. . . like kissing the most beautiful girl in the world. (Which Nicholson did. And it warmed me to the ends of my toes.) And laughing until he cried. (Which Freeman did and the theater audience joined in!) And they went sky diving-- which was a hoot!

Predictably, it all started me thinking. I started working on my own Bucket List. In four days I haven't gotten very far. . . mostly to family things. I know this is a personal thing, but I'm looking for nominations for my list. And I'm suggesting that you start one for yourself.

Something about recognizing the finiteness of life makes me want to enjoy and make the most of the rest of the time I have here.

And nothing says such a list has to be written once and forever, then completed before death. I like the idea of a rolling list. . . adding a new sight or experience every time you cross one off. So, what would you put on your Bucket List? What would you suggest I put on mine?

Here's my start:

1. Climb to the top of a Mayan pyramid.

2. Take a special trip with each of my grands when they're 12 or 13. They choose the destination.

3. Meet the Dalai Lama.

4. See a miracle.

5. Have a #1 NYT Bestseller.

6. Build a dairy in Cameroon. (Heifer Project)

7. Visit a volcano up close.

Any suggestions? I'm open. And what would you like to do yourself? Say-- what would be your top three?


Helen Brenna said...

All of mine have to do with travel, Betina, except that NYT thing hits home!

Looking forward to the movie.

Oh, and I'm thinking you've already seen a miracle and don't even know it.

Betina Krahn said...

Probably right, Helen! :) I have had several possible miracles in my life. Maybe what I need is better vision to see them more clearly. I've certainly seen "signs and wonders."

There are a number of places I'd like to see, but I'm not sure they qualify for a Bucket List. Tahiti for one. Tibet. Istanbul. Hmmm. Maybe there's more travel involved than I thought.

Ooooh-- I just thought of another! I'd love to see whales in the wild. Frolicking. Though what makes me think just because I want them to frolic they would? :)

lois greiman said...

What a great idea, Betina!! I've been thinking about this quite a bit myself lately.

For me I want to create something I can hang on my wall...ie oil paintings or great photos. A piece of art I'm not getting paid for.

I also want to make a difference in the world..work at an orphanage, dig a well...that sort of thing. I love the dairy idea. Heifer International is one of my favorite charities. I bought a water buffalo not too long ago and it was very satisfying.

I'd also like to take my daughter to Paris. Just she and I turned loose on the world.

My writing goals aren't quite as grandiose as yours (or probably quite as realistic). I just want to make it somewhhhherre on the Times List.

Great post, B.

Michele Hauf said...

Hmm...I need to see blue icebergs before I kick the bucket.

I have to think on this more. I'm sort of an 'in the now' person, so the future stuff is hard to grasp.

Debra Dixon said...

Bucket lists are hard for me because I just keep adding to them. I have no editing filter. I want to do everything and then the really important things get lost again. LOL!

My uncle is taking my mother, my sister and I on a month long trip in 2009. Anywhere in the world. His treat. He's currently in Chili and then next month (I think it is) he'll be on his way to base camp at Everest. He's getting a start on his bucket list!!

Kathleen Eagle said...

BL is on my short list for the theater--thanks Betina! Two of my all-time favorite actors.

I hate that I'm terrified of heights. I'm thinking if I were working on my bucket list I'd have no fear. At last I could climb to the top. Mountains, ruins, canyons, towers, lists--no site I set my sights on would be too high.

I want to travel. Sweden. Ireland. Greece. Definitely Paris with my daughter. Someplace with my brother and sister. Someplace else with girlfriends.

I want to build something on Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Something for the young people. If I could really build the horse camp I created on paper in MYSTIC HORSEMAN I would be a happy camper.

Playground Monitor said...

I was at the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza 5 years ago and didn't climb the pyramid because I was sick as a dog from dehydration and was afraid I'd get even sicker once I got up top and not be able to get down. I'd love to go back, but I don't think they let you climb that particular pyramid any more. :-(

Everyone should go up in the Eiffel Tower, see the Mona Lisa up close, stare at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and walk in the ruins of Pompeii. You need to ride a camel up to the Pyramids in Giza, stand atop the Acropolis in Athens, pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem and visit the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem. Stand on the side of a mountain in the Austrian Alps and sing "The hills are alive with the sound of music" even if you don't sing very well. Sit arm-in-arm with strangers at the Hofbrau Haus in Munich and sway to the oom-pah music. Climb to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral in London (scared spitless the entire way) and stare out over the city. Visit a diamond dealer in Amsterdam where they lock you in a room with gazillions of dollars in diamonds you can try on to your heart's content. Go to an Olympic Games and stare at the flame, knowing it's traveled around the world.

See Old Faithful erupt, stand at the base of Devil's Tower in amazement, view the faces carved on Mt. Rushmore and tour Hoover Dam to appreciate the effort it took to construct it. Watch the Space Shuttle launch and feel the rumble travel through the ground and shake your insides.

I'm blessed to have parents who loved to travel and a husband whose job let us live in Europe for 4 years. But there's still lots and lots I want to see and do (and skydiving isn't one of them. *g* )

One thing I did in 1979 that you can't do anymore was to go through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin. It was spooky scary but I'm so glad we did it.

I'll have to put Bucket List on my list of movies to see. Thanks for the review!


Betina Krahn said...

Wow, Marilyn! You've really done the world! A few of those things I've done. . . but lots more to do. Old Faithful-- definitely need to do that!

And Lois, creating something with your hands, not written. A great idea. I've had a yen to do sculpture for some time. Maybe I should sign up for a class. . .

Kathy and Deb, I sense a theme here. . . travel with family sounds like a great thing that's on a lot of our minds. And Kathy, I love your idea about building something at Standing Rock. How cool would that be? :)

Michele, blue icebergs! Another spectacular sight.

And Deb, I'd love to have your uncle. Think he'd adopt me and let me tag along? ;)

Playground Monitor said...

My sister and I stopped giving each other Christmas gifts a few years ago and instead we take a trip together each year. We did Nashville one year and went to the Grand Ole Opry and all the tourist stuff. We drove the Natchez Trace one year and toured antebellum mansions and stayed in a wonderful B&B on the bluff overlooking the mighty Mississippi River. Last fall we took a 4-day cruise to Cozumel. We're still deciding on 08's trip. We've talked about a longer cruise to the Southern Caribbean or maybe a trip to Branson or Vegas. Or they have a summer home way up in Minnesota near where Cindy has a home and we've talked about going there and just doing nothing but reading and more reading and then going out to eat dinner every night.


Virginia Lady said...

I am so envious of playgroundmonitor! Wow, what a wonderful practice you and your sister have.

I started something of a list a long time ago, long before most think of those things, but I wasn't supposed to make it to adulthood, so I look at things a bit differently. I made it, and then some, but my list has included:
Having kids, though I thought I'd have to adopt, fate had other plans & I was blessed with 3 boys.

Spending time with family and friends before they're gone...it's changed a lot of priorities, but has definitely been worth it.

Enjoying the moments with the people I know and the places we are...even the stops at a convenience store or the trips to museums and other cities

Showing my kids the joys and agonies of baking, cooking, gardening, and other little things of daily life. (a lot of people need to be getting grey before they see how great those moments can be)

Dining out with my husband, at a cheap place or a pricey one...time with one another is precious.

I've traveled a bit, not nearly as much as I thought I would by now (I'm now 41) but raising 3 boys and other family issues kept us closer to home for a long time with only a few trips

I still want to travel to Europe and see the capitals and several small towns

I still want to visit Australia and Hawaii

I still want to go to Texas, even if my husband has no desire to.

I want to drive a race car on a race track, maybe even at a ridiculously fast speed. :-)

I'd like to drive a Ferrari at least once.

I'd love to tour throughout New England and Canada.

I'd like to ride a horse

I'd like to snow ski at least once. (Though I doubt I could ever get on a ski lift as my fear of heights keeps me firmly on the ground)

I'd like to learn to windsurf.

I'd love to tour the Aztec and Mayan ruins.

I can think of many other things, but even if I don't get to most of them, I have no regrets. I've gotten the best things done by having a wonderful family and a great group of friends.

That movie is on my To See List as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Betina Krahn said...

Quite a list, Virginia Lady! Australia and New Zealand, now that would be a trip! I'd love that.

I was talking to some friends today about this and somebody mentioned The Holy Land. Israel. . . yes, I'd love to see it. But the troubles over there have dimmed my desire to make the trip. It just seems so crazy and unpredictable over there.
Still, I may have to make the trip. . .

Vanessa said...

If you want to see a miracle, go to Plan B Blog. It's a beautiful and amazing story about an infertile couple and how they finally had a baby.

Bridget Locke said...

Go see the Mt. St Helens crater. It's soooo creepy & I was only 3 when the mountain blew, but I still remember it to this day.

Here's my list (in no particular order).

Have awesome sex with a great man...preferably the man I'll spend my life with. :)

Go to the British Isles, Greece, and Italy

Finish writing a book & get it published

Do something worthwhile. I'm a certified mentor, but haven't done so in a long time. Literacy is a big thing for me, so I might get into it again.

See the East Coast, preferably Maine during the fall.

See, simple stuff, but then again...I'm pretty simple. :)


PJ said...

Great blog, Betina. Can't wait to see this movie.

I started my own Bucket List after my husband died in 2001. After 9/11, my 50th birthday and his death all occurred within a two week span I decided it was long past time that I fulfilled a few dreams and a lot of those dreams are centered around travel. Every year I join a group of girlfriends for a trip to a different location. This year I saw NYC for the first time. In 2005, after 37 years, I once again travelled to Italy with a girlfriend and fell in love with the country and her people all over again. I'd always wanted to share her wonders with my niece so in 2006, a week after she graduated college, she and I left for 12 days in Italy, just the two of us. Now I'm saving for trips to the British Isles and Japan.

PJ said...

Playground Monitor, I'll second those "should do's" you listed. I also was blessed with parents who showed us the wonders of the US. During my childhood we visited 37 states, Canada and I also lived in Mexico as an exchange student. In addition to the wonders of your list I'd add experiencing the power and majesty of Niagara Falls, the beauty and wonder of the giant Sequoia's, the Badlands, the Rockies, riding the dangling cable car up the side of Mont Blanc, at 15,404 ft., the highest peak in western Europe and yes, singing "The Hills are Alive" at the top of your lungs in an Alpine meadow. I've blessed to have experienced all of them, as well as climbing Mayan pyramids...and wondering if I'd ever be able to breathe again. LOL

Cindy Gerard said...

See what happens when you're away from your computer for a couple of days? Amazing posts like this one hit the blog and I miss them :o(
Love this post. Love love love it.
Love the lists. And Marilyn - whoa. What a life you've led.
In the past few years I've hit a few of the things on my list: Hiked the Grand Canyon, had grandchildren, traveled to Italy, snorkled and swam with giant manta rays in the Grand Caymans, hit the NYTs. You all, however, have extended my list immeasurably! Most of your suggestions have been added to MY list. We can hope, right?

PJ said...

How did I not know about the Heifer Project? I just visited their site. What a wonderful enterprise! Thanks for directing me to my next donation.

Kathleen Eagle said...

PJ, that Heifer Project is great for gift-giving. I've given and rec'd quite a few farm animals that way. It's the only way I ever want to get chickens. I had chickens one summer when we were ranching. Never again.

Betina Krahn said...

Kathy, I second the sentiments about chickens. We had them when I was a girl and my dad always made my sister and I collect the eggs. Hens do NOT like grubby-fisted kids messing with their eggs!

And PJ, after my husband died, I went on an experience spree, too. Did England big-time and flew several places I'd never been before. But I also did a few things I didn't know if I'd have the nerve to do: build a new house of my own, buy a fancy-schmancy car, move across country by myself. You learn a lot about yourself when you're doing such things alone. But I wouldn't recommend it.

Hey, guys, what people would you like to meet? I put the Dalai Lama, but I'd also like to meet and hang out with some social activists like Brad and Angelina or Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. Writer-wise, I'd like to meet Jodi Piccoult and Dean Koontz and Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs. I've already met Anne LaMotte, so check that one off.

Who would you find fascinating? Whose brain would you like to pick?

Christie Ridgway said...


I've done number 1 on your list (my Mayan pyramid was Chichen Itza...and I did go all the way to the top!)

I've done number 7 (the volcano) on the big island of Hawaii.

I've also done the whales in the wild on a sightseeing sailboat (so no motor noise, it was awesome to hear the splashes of the jumping whales) and was escorted back to shore by dolphins! Loved that. Not sure I have to get close to whales ever again because I was a little scared--they're BIG! (Of course.)

On my BL: A sightseeing safari in Africa. I think I'd like to live in Hawaii for a while. Other travel destinations when we are a little freer of kid responsibilities, except Surfer Guy and I are thinking of taking a trip this summer, just the 2 of us to Europe, and leaving boys at home!

Betina Krahn said...

Wow, Christie, you're my new hero-ine! Seeing whales-- I'll probably be a little scared, but I really want to do that. And the volcano. . . that too!

I would definitely recommend London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Edinburgh. . . I personally would like to see Ireland. And going just with the hubby would be GREAT. Though, traveling with kids the ages of your boys would be very memorable, too. There's so much history over there-- my boys loved all the weapons and castles!