The worst thing you can do is live a life… …without having lived it at all. Laying there, staring at the hospital room ceiling from your deathbed on your final days, looking back on your years, regretting the many things you never accomplished or experienced is not the way, at least not for me. I dread the thought of seeing the decades as one big collection of workdays: Wake up, wash up, work up, wind down, wake up, wash up, work up, wind down, weekend, wake up…
I know too many people that live to pay bills. If they’re lucky, they get to attend their children’s school plays, catch a night with friends at a bar, visit in-laws, get some spring cleaning in, take an occasional trip to the local theme park, etc. But in the end, what have they done worth noting? Worth remembering with fondness?
Don’t get me wrong. If that’s all you desire, fine. You are far from a failure at anything. Being a responsible parent or significant other is a great thing. You satisfy the needs of those who depend on you in some capacity on a daily basis. But what do YOU want to do? What are YOUR hopes? What are your dreams? What are your goals?
There is a movie that made me realize there is an actual name for all of the things you want to do, experience or witness, usually out of the ordinary. It’s call “The Bucket List”. Whether it’s skydiving, going down a waterfall in a barrel, visiting all 50 states or all seven continents, there’s something you want to do that’s not part of your normal routine.
I know what I want to do and what I’ve accomplished so far. Whether or not I get them all done, I’m gonna have a helluva lot of fun trying. I hope you make your own list and accomplish yours as well…
Soooooo, without further ado, here are 10 items from my BUCKET LIST (and never forget – “Life is short. Play HARD!”):
- Write a novel or screenplay. I’m actually already on that path, as I have begun work on three different novels. I’ve recently decided to focus on one and convert it to a screenplay. It will be a romantic comedy.
- Go fishing. This one seems simple enough, but for the life of me, try as I might, I never get to go! People have been promising me for years and something has always gone wrong. I’d go by myself but I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.
- Go sledding with a team of Alaskan Malamutes. Malamutes and huskies are the most beautiful animals on the planet, second only to black panthers, but I can actually OWN a dog.
- Meet former President Barack Obama (he’ll ALWAYS be MY president). I want to hug that man and thank him for being more than just a leader. More than just a humanitarian. More than just a game-changer and improver of life for ALL people. I want to shake his hand on behalf of my father, his father and HIS father. I want to thank him for being the living dream that so many have had for so long. Being the inspiration for others to live and grow beyond the limitations of expectancy and the human imagination.
- Learn to play the classical &/or bass guitar. It’s always been my dream to sit on the beach at sunset and play the classical guitar as the seagulls sing along and the waves crash against the rocks. Bass guitar because I love a good walking bass line in a jazz tune, as well as how it drives a funky R&B groove.
- Witness an Aurora Borealis in Alaska, Iceland or Norway. Another one of the beautiful natural occurrences that this world has to offer. I’d love to photograph it.
- Visit Uganda, Ghana &/or Cameroon. In recent years, I’ve learned so much about various countries in Africa that I can’t begin to describe how badly I want to experience the magic. I want to see Uganda because of all the beautiful things my friend in Kampala taught me. Ghana and Cameroon because that’s where my story begins.
- Form an “old school” R&B/Funk band and record an album. I think that R&B and Funk are two genres of music that should be shared for generations to come. Especially since they’ve been referenced and sampled so often over the years. I’m in the works of assembling a group now, so keep checking back on my blog!
- Go to the Superbowl. Preferably to see my Chicago Bears, winning it all! If they play like they did last season, I just might need to get those tickets this January!
- Run one more 5K marathon. It’s been years since I’ve been able to run at all, much less a marathon. Now that I’ve had my other knee replaced, this dream is more of a reality.
Bucket List Items Already Achieved (some before I even heard the term, “Bucket List” )
- Appear on a newspaper or magazine cover.
- Learn Sign Language.
- Join the “Mile-High” club.
- Contact and forgive/reconcile with anyone who’s hurt me (took me 6 months to find them all).
- Meet Luther Vandross.
- Meet Chante’ Moore.
- Learn archery.
- Read the entire bible.
- Play jazz in a civic center.
- Perform with a professional jazz artist (Wynton Marsalis).
- Play in a back-up band for a celebrity (Suzette Charles).
- Live long enough to see each of my favorite teams win a national championship (Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks and FINALLY, the Chicago CUBS!!).