Start the year with a bucket list

Cathedral Rock by Bruce Stambaugh
Cathedral Rock, Sedona, AZ

By Bruce Stambaugh

Instead of resolutions, I’m starting this new year by making a bucket list. As popularized by the recent movie of the same name, a bucket list is a compilation of activities you want to accomplish before you “kick the bucket.”

I’m not anticipating knocking on the pearly gates anytime soon. But then again that’s not always in our hands. I set these dreamy accomplishments to paper as a more determined effort to prioritize ambitions not yet achieved.

Obviously, a bucket list is personal, and varies according to any given individual’s interests and ambitions. The items need not be lofty, fancy, outrageous or flamboyant, just ideas and ideals unfulfilled. As one item is accomplished, another can be added.

What’s on my bucket list? Here’s a peek at some of the activities.

I want to write a book, maybe two. With my many interests, I certainly have gathered enough material. Now I need to pick a subject and get busy.

Shoshone Point, Grand Canyon, AZ by Bruce Stambaugh
Shoshone Point, Grand Canyon, AZ.

I want to visit all 50 states. I have been working on this one all my life. I have seven states to go, Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.

I want to see a game in every major league baseball park. On this, too, I already have a head start. But I have dallied enough that some of the parks have long been torn down. I need to get moving before Wrigley Field and Fenway Park disappear.

I want to work with other relatives to develop a family tree. I know bits and pieces have already been compiled by extended family members. I want to help fill in some of the blank spaces if I can. Family is important to me and I enjoy history.

I would love to walk where James Herriot lived and worked in Yorkshire, England. A veterinarian by trade, Herriot made his intriguing life come alive for children and adults alike in his many books. He so eloquently intertwined the characters he met, the animals he treated, and the lovely rural Yorkshire countryside into fascinating tales.

Near San Marcos, Honduras by Bruce Stambaugh
The little church we helped build near San Marcos, Honduras.

I want to learn Spanish, at least enough to make my simplest inquiries known to those with whom I work and share when I visit Honduras. I figure it’s the least I can do.

I also want to read and reread the many good books that are gathering dust on my shelves. Like all the other items on my bucket list, they, too, have a lot to teach me. And above all else, I love to learn.

I also want to spend time hosting family and friends more than my wife and I already do. They always manage to teach me so much, especially the grandchildren. The grandkids keep me young in spirit even if they physically tire me out at times.

This laundry list of wannadoes is all well and good. But it is, like the Hollywood movie, a tad self-serving. A better bucket list should be even more inclusive and considerate of others.

Working side by side with folks, whether near or far, would be a more humanitarian item for a bucket list. Donating blood, volunteering at a hospital, serving food at a homeless shelter all would be appropriate additions to anyone’s bucket list.

You and I both might be stunningly surprised at how far such a practical, selfless implementation of service would take us. Perhaps we would go further than we ever thought we could accomplish.

That would be a bucket list worth creating.