Life's too short not to do (and read) all the things. So what are you waiting for?
There is a character in one of my recent WIPS - a pivotal character - who adopts a philosophy that really resonates with me. Since losing someone dear to him, he is hell bent on doing crazy things - dangerous things, weird and wonderful things, facing fears, learning stuff - experiencing life to the fullest. Going by the old adage that life really is too short. Make the most of it.
As I've gotten older - you know, over twenty-five (ahem) - I have connected more and more with this idea. I don't want to be in my rocking chair, all wrinkly and sucking on my dentures thinking, 'Well, I have a house and a car and a flat screen TV and an investment property but I really wish I'd been a circus performer. I could have been, but I never even gave it a shot'.
I don't want to have regrets. I want to live a full and rich life, filled with experiences, not just 'stuff'. Okay, I admit - I would like to live a full and rich life AND have some stuff ... mainly a shoe closet like this ...
So this brings me to 'The Bucket List'. A concept often talked about. It's been the subject of books, films, TV shows. Things you would like to do - to tick off - before you kick the bucket.
For me there are two kinds of bucket lists. As writers and voracious readers, my friends and I have a BOOK bucket list as well as a LIFE bucket list.
The books you really must read before you die - my writer friends and I have ticked off many on our lists but there are always more books to read (yay!) and we thrive on our recommendations to each other. My current side of bed stack (my to read pile) always looks kind of like this ...
The Current Pile:
Henry & June - Anais Nin
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
Jane Austen Compendium - I've read all but Northanger Abbey & Mansfield Park.
The Little Friend - Donna Tartt
Dirt Music - Tim Winton
The Boy Who Fell to Earth - Kathy Lette
Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood
Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris
Entwined With You - Sylvia Day
The Fry Chronicles - Stephen Fry
Ship of Brides - JoJo Moyes
As you can see, I have eclectic reading tastes. But, I am really interested in people's LIFE bucket lists (wait, you mean books aren't life?)
We are reminded all too often, when we lose people, that life is indeed short. We are reminded that time is precious, too precious to spend arguing with random people on the internet, too precious to spend indoors on social media, too precious not to spend time doing things you love with the people you care about.
So, as with my book bucket list, I've started ticking things off my life list. Still plenty to do though!
1. Become a Writer
It was always a dream of mine to be a writer and to be published. I have now been published multiple times as a journalist and had my short fiction published. I've completed two novels and several feature film screenplays, I've worked in television writers rooms and have films in development. I'm still travelling the publishing road for my novels, but I can well and truly call myself a writer.
2. Make a film.
I'd love to see my stories on screen. I SEE my stories visually anyway and have studied film theory and analysis. I made a short film not so long ago, The Day After Today. It was screened at numerous film festivals and won a few awards. I'm incredibly proud of it and have plans now to write and produce my first independent feature film.
3. Visited Italy.
It surpassed my imagination and inspired me incredibly. The history, the food, the people, the culture. I would live there in a heart beat. A farmhouse in the Tuscan hills or a tiny whitewashed villa in Amalfi.
4. Run a half-marathon.
I didn't train nearly enough, I'm just a stubborn bitch and I refuse to give up once I've committed to something. So I did it. In two hours. And couldn't walk afterwards for about three days.
6. Be Wonder Woman.
This is a work in progress but I'm gradually ticking the boxes. I made a commitment to myself a few years ago to continually try new exciting things that challenge me physically and mentally. So far I have taken stunt classes, learned circus aerials, and played roller derby. Stepping outside your comfort zone is a great way to remind yourself you are lucky just to be alive.
I was 'Kitty Kamikaze'. This is my helmet and skates.
YET TO DO
1. Jump out of a plane.
It's not original. It's probably not entirely safe. But I'd really like to do it. I'm sure it's fun, once you get over the screaming and being certain you're going to die.
2. Sing the national anthem at a sporting event.
But can it be in America so I can sing the Star Spangled Banner? This might be un-Australian but it's the best national anthem in the world. Seriously. I'm not even American and it makes me patriotic.
3. Attend the Oscars.
The red carpet. The dresses. That little statue. Best Screenplay? Don't mind if I do. Dream big!
5. See one of my books on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Hey, what's the point in having small dreams?
6. Be the ambassador for a literacy program for young girls/women in underdeveloped countries.
7. Ice skate in Central Park in New York at Christmas time. (*Update, I ticked this one off in December 2019. It was truly amazing.)
8. Read my work at an open mic night at the famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe on the Lower East Side, in NYC. (*Update, I also ticked this one off in New York in December 2019. Mindblowing, terrifying, exhilarating AF.)
9. Swim with sharks.
What's on your bucket list? Which books? Which experiences? Which places? Or what have you already ticked off? I'd love to hear them.
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