On dreams, aspirations, and bucket lists

Posted by on June 5, 2012

I had never heard of bucket lists before a couple of years ago. I guess a movie came out with that name (I haven’t seen it). At the time, I was asked if I had a bucket list. I thought about it for a little while, but then said “no”. That surprised some people because I am very quick to say “I want to see that”, I’d like to do this”, I want to go there”. And some of these dreams and aspirations come up over and over. I’d like to go on one of those long walks in England. I’d like to take a ferry boat to Alaska and sleep on the deck. I’d like to go ice skating on the canal in Ottawa. But would I be devastated, or even disappointed, if I don’t do these things or see those places? I can honestly say no. There are so many things that would be really exciting to do, so many places that would be fascinating to visit, so many sights that would be awesome to see. If I don’t do a long walk in England, maybe I’ll hike hut to hut in the White Mountains. If I don’t take a ferry to Alaska, maybe I’ll take a boat across the Atlantic. If I don’t go ice skating on the canal in Ottawa, maybe I’ll go snowshoeing in the winter in Glacier National Park. There are lots of things to see and do and I will never not have some idea for a fun activity or trip. There will always be some other goal, some other dream, some other aspiration.

That brings me a decision I am making now. I am abandoning of my previous goals. Maybe “abandoning” is not the right word. I am at a different place; I have different interests; I don’t need to hold on to something that I once wanted to do but that does not seem important any more.

I once was a much more avid bicyclist. Quite a number of years ago I spent a week with friends who were cycling across the country. On that trip, I met others who were also cycling across the country. And bicycling across the country became a goal of mine. Pete was very willing to help me achieve that goal. He had it all planned. We would do this in stages. We would begin the next stage of the cross country bicycle ride in Libby, Montana, where I had left my friends those many years ago. We would drive to Libby, camp there, and begin the ride. I would set off in the morning and Pete would ride with me part way. Then he’d go back, pack up and get the car, and rendezvous with me at our next campsite. And the next day, the process would begin again. We would take a week or two, and then pick up where we left off the next year. But this never happened. I don’t exactly know why. He would bring it up now and again, encouraging me. But there were always reasons not to do it. Montana is so very far. It would take a long time just to drive out there. And so this dream, this aspiration, languished.

And the more time passed, the less interested I became. But I didn’t want to abandon the goal. That seemed like a personal failure. But is it? I now no longer think it is. I still like to bicycle. Bicycling across the country certainly would have been an adventure. But doing it in stages was really never that compelling to me. On the other hand, doing it in one go would have meant devoting something like 3 months of my time and giving up that amount of time was not something I really wanted to do.

And, with letting go of a goal that no longer holds me, I can also let go of the bicycle that I purchased to accomplish that goal. I sold my recumbent. And it feels right. And it feels good. And I have no regrets.

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