I've never been a fan of the term Bucket List because of its kinship to "kick the bucket," like death is imminent so you'd better get going. Maybe that's not such bad advice, but it feels more ominous than upbeat. So I decided to invent my own term for the list of experiences/accomplishments I want to focus on before a certain date, and that date is not death – since it's not on my calendar.
My Before 70 List:
Granted it's not very legible, but rather a work in progress that I update from time to time. I taped it to the inside cover of my Gratitude Journal so it's visible each night when I list the five things I'm grateful for that day.
My title isn't original, but modeled after a younger friend's efforts to pursue her passions – Ten Things I Want to do Before 40. Her age (or mine), of course, is not the issue. It's all about intentionality.
I've wanted to take Ikebana lessons, the art of Japanese flower arranging, since I witnessed a demonstration in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park in 2013. Classes aren't readily available in Arkansas where I live most of the time, but with Drew now working in California, I saw my opportunity.
Mieko Hirano greeted me at the door with a pitcher of cymbidium orchids, aspidistra, gerber, astromeria and ranunculus. Thankfully she wrote the names on a white board since my flower vocabulary is severely lacking. She sent me outside with a second pitcher to retrieve water from a nearby faucet, then instructed me to pour it into my very own, take-home container, complete with pin frog.
With graceful, meditative movements, Mieko folded and secured an aspidistra leaf and told me to do the same with two more, each leaf cut a precise number of inches less than the one before.
"In Ikebana it's all about balance and space," she explained, as she pointed to the exact spot for me to place a ranunculus.
The metaphor didn't escape my attention.
We continued to build the arrangement, positioning the flowers so each one enjoyed its own space yet fully contributed to the whole. Once finished, Meiko pointed to a trifold screen and asked that I formally display my piece for a photo.
For days afterward, the sight of my first Ikebana endeavor brought me a feeling of peaceful contentment, and pride.
"I made that!" I'd hear myself say, to no one but myself.
As much as I like crossing things off lists, I decided to revise instead. My Before 70 List now includes "More Ikebana classes."
I wonder what might be on your list?