By Judy Osgood
Before The Bucket List movie was made, I read an article written by a man who thought he was going to die in a plane crash. That wasn’t an irrational fear on his part. He was on a commercial flight that experienced serious mechanical problems. While the flight crew prepared the passengers for a potential crash landing, he found himself thinking about the things he wanted to do before he died. He decided that if he survived, he would make a list of those things and start doing them…
I thought it was a great idea and set out to make a list myself, which I’ve worked on doing over the last 14 years. Now and then I add a new item, and occasionally I scratch one off because it doesn’t seem important anymore. Most of those have to do with unrealistic physical fitness goals like climbing Mt. McKinley. Interestingly, the only item I’ve given much thought about since crossing it off was financial.
Number 17 was, “Go on a big shopping spree for myself without feeling guilty.” I wasn’t thinking about a new washing machine. What I had in mind was lots of new clothes.
So why did I cross it off without doing it? That’s a good question that I’ve asked myself more than once. And there’s more than one answer too.
I know I felt the need to give more to myself. When we’re raising a family and money is tight, we women tend to take care of our family’s needs before our own. Over time that becomes a habit and we find it hard to be good to ourselves. Recognizing that, I gave myself permission to treat myself – to a book of crossword puzzles, to lunch with a friend now and then, even occasionally buying something to wear that wasn’t on sale. It seems paradoxical, but once I began being good to me, that spending spree diminished in importance until eventually I took it off the list.
These days the second reason seems far more important to me. When I visited a third world country and saw what it means to be really poor, my thinking changed dramatically. Where once I would have considered myself rich because I could go on a big spending spree, I discovered that if we have a roof over our heads and can feed our family three meals a day, we’re rich by the world’s standards.
That has had a big impact on my bucket list. Now it includes items like “Contribute enough to roof a Habitat house, Make a good donation to the Feed the Hungry program in town every single week “ and “Build a school for girls in Afghanistan.”
So what’s on your Bucket List?