I recently went hiking in Opal Creek, my favorite at this point in my two days shy of three months in Oregon. It is a beautiful hike through what used to be a mining community and is now a reminder of days of old, of the practice of throwing things away that still have use and value that we continue to maintain today. And magically flowing through all of the machinery and cast iron stoves, through homes of decay and newly built, runs a creek of magnificent color and opportunity for adventure.
Specifically I speak of the adventure of sliding down a natural rock waterslide, through cold rushing water pooling for a final frigid splash. A hiking buddy from our meetup group took video of all of us as we played on this waterslide, and graciously posted it to youtube as a joyous reminder of the fun we had. A dear friend, after watching the video asked if it was on my bucket list, or should have been, and well, the thinking started.
Now, I saw the movie “Bucket List” a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I even toyed with the idea of creating a bucket list of my own, for a brief moment. Then I proceeded with my life, carrying on from day to day and didn’t really think much more of it. Until now….
But that leads to the next part of the heading of this post…afterlife. Perhaps I should have titled this post, ‘movies I have seen’ because “Afterlife” is a movie I just watched a few days ago. It is a Japanese film that asks the question, “If you can only take one memory with you from this life into eternity, which one would you choose?” Interesting question, whether you are 15 or 97. Would it be from childhood or adulthood, a place, or a person?
And then yesterday I watched “Box of Moonlight” which is the tale of a man who spontaneously drives away from his life to search for something lost from childhood, a feeling, an experience, and in the process stumbles, almost quite literally, into his life, his real life, his present life. How many times have I, have you, tried to escape from the current reality of your life, whether literally, figuratively, or in any other mind-numbing form because it wasn’t what you imagined or planned? Only to find, of course, that the illusive “IT” is right in front of you.
So returning to the question Bonnie put before me, in the end, no I do not have a bucket list. I thought about creating one, but then I wondered if there are opportunities that I would miss in the pursuit of fulfilling a list that frankly, I may or may not ever get around to following through on. Let’s face it, almost all of us, myself included, have made lists of resolutions, intentions, or goals of things that we wanted to do, attain or achieve. But how many of the items on those lists do we not do, attain, or achieve, whether out of forgetfulness, laziness, or life just happening? Don’t get me wrong, I am all for setting goals and having a plan, but I also know that in my life specifically, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, has turned out as I have planned it and goals have been fulfilled in very different and much lengthier time-frames than expected.
Sure, there are places I want to see and experiences I hope to have, but at the end of the day, life is. We can fill our boxes with pictures, ideas, moonlight…we may even be able to complete most of the things on our list. But what may we have missed because our vision was too narrow, our longings like blinders shadowing the present view, our life a list on paper?
And at the end, what one memory would I choose if this were my final breath and I actually got the opportunity to choose just one?
I believe for me it is a feeling that I have experienced many times over. That feeling of contentedness that comes from taking the chance to experience something new that I have never put on any list that I have ever made over the years. That feeling of joy that comes from making a decision to change my life and the freedom that it gives me from my thoughts about ‘what if.’ That feeling of peace at any given moment when I realize this is a good life of wonderful people, beautiful earth, and the fact that I am fortunate to be incarnate to enjoy it all.