Monday, March 9, 2009

My Bucket List

As I scanned the blogs this morning (good thing I did! It's my turn!!) it was fun to see which direction everyone went this month. I have to admit, my eyes lit up when I read Michele's because that is something near and dear to my heart. I don't really think I'd ever put down on paper places I wanted to go in my lifetime or things I was going to do. I had a mental list that kept changing but I'd never specified "this is a place I am definitely going to go before I die."

When my son came home from his mission, he said his mission president had him make a list of things he wanted to accomplish in the next five years, the next ten years, and so on. They even discussed it before he came home. So Greg asked me what were my goals - did I have anything I really wanted or needed to do and had I made specific plans to accomplish them? Mmmm. No.

At the time, we'd only lived in California for three years and really did plan on moving when my husband finished his employment and retired the second time (first time from the Air Force.) So my list included ten places I wanted to go in California before we left. I actually have been to all of them - some 21 years later. As our financial circumstances improved, I set my sights a little higher and made a list of places I wanted to see in the world. Some I have made it to, others, I may never get there, but am not giving up hope just yet. One of my goals is to spend a night in every one of the Grand Lodges in each of the national parks.

Every time I pick up a magazine - I guess I'd better stop here and explain the magazines that cover our coffee table: The Ensign never makes it there - it is always by my reading chair in my study. But National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Biblical Archeology and Archeology, and The Smithsonian Magazine bring new and exciting possibilities into our home every month. In fact, the last Smithsonian had a list of ten must-see endangered cultural treasures. I noted the site in Turkey, the city of Hasankeyf, that is going to be covered with water forever when the dam is finished. My husband served a 15 month remote tour of duty in Turkey at Adana near Ephasus and has always wanted to take me there. Now it is a must!

But I digress. I read a short article on what one gal does instead of making resolutions: every January she makes a list of "Things I've Never Done" and it reminds her of all the wonderful possibilities open to all of us if only we dare try them. Years ago when I was young and foolish and had no children, my mental list included walking on the wing of a bi-plane. I would already have done that except it cost $25 and we didn't have that much money. My husband was a poor young lst Lt. and we couldn't afford that luxury.

Next on my mental list was parachuting out of an airplane, riding a mule down into Grand Canyon and back up again, floating the Colorado River, and other fun things. Many years later I added climbing Masada to watch the sun rise (my son said Mt. Sinai was great at sunrise so I needed to do something different.)

Mt. Whitney and Death Valley are only a few hours drive from here and are the highest spot and the lowest spot in the Continental United States. I wanted us to play golf in Death Valley - they do have a lovely little course there - spend the night, and early the next morning race to Mt. Whitney and climb to the top. It isn't a really strenuous climb - you drive up to within about 12 miles of the summit, I think - but not a walk in the park either. But I waited too long for that. I'm afraid my knees won't let me - nor will I be climbing Half Dome with my son as we'd planned. Even if I got to the top, I could never get back down under my own power. The knees don't like coming down - even my front steps!

I think fervent prayer got me up and down all the steps at Angkor Wat last year and up and down the Great Wall of China. Without it, I'm sure someone would have had to carry me down!

This year I have made a list of day trips I want to do (last year's 50th anniversary binging with our 25 day trip to the Far East and all of our family celebrations led me to a much smaller and less ambitious effort.) They include seeing the monarch butterfly migration on the coast which is so incredible! Did you know the monarchs come from Mexico and rest along the coast, hanging in ten foot clusters from the eucalyptus trees like blossoms of wisteria - only they are orange instead of purple and much longer!

I will visit the newly restored Getty Villa in Malibu; spend an entire day at the Huntington Museum and Gardens (the Chinese Pavalion is now finished and a wonder to see!) The biggest Buddha Temple in the US in in Los Angeles. I want to see that, and both the Raegan Library and the Nixon Library. All of these things are within a two-hour drive of my house. Is this going to be easy? It should be. But like most things that are close and handy, it is too easy to say "Next month I'll do it." And never get there.

Like other important things, these have to be put on the calendar - in ink - or it will be easy to put them off and never go. That would be unfortunate. Glenn would really rather be playing golf so I hate to ask him to give up a day of what he loves best. But I have grandkids who love to explore and discover new things, so now I'll entice the new generation to plan fun adventures and get to know their world. Then next year - Turkey! A must see, before the waters of the Tigris cover up one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world, spanning some 10,000 years of history. Dreaming is important. It gives us something to look forward to. But then we have to make plans and put those plans into action. I'll report back on how thing go!


Jennie said...

Lynn, you've done so many things! I hope you get to visit Turkey and go to the other places you still dream of going.

Cheri J. Crane said...

I loved your list, Lynn. You'll have to tell us how the adventures turn out. =) And I like the idea of sharing future expeditions with grandchildren. I'll have to add that to my list.

Anna Buttimore said...

Hi Lynn - I wonder whether, when your son asked what your goals in life were, whether you didn't have any because you'd done them all already? Temple marriage, family, successful author - sounds great to me.

I would like to see the Northern Lights, Disneyworld and Salt Lake City again, but then I think I'm happy with my lot.

Michele Ashman Bell said...

Lynn, you always paint such vivid pictures with wonderful details of your trips and adventures and even the places you dream of visiting. I love your global perspective and zest for travel.

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

I agree with everyone- and Michele said exactly what I was thinking. Such vivid pictures! You must be a writer.

That really was inspiring. I'm going to make my own list, now. I really have no excuses. :-)