A couple weeks ago my 12-year-old asked me how old I would be on my upcoming birthday. When I reminded him I will be 40 this year, he looked at me seriously and said, “Have you made your bucket list yet?”
I haven’t been able to get that innocuous comment out of my mind. With every major milestone in life, we might make resolutions for the year to come, or create an inspiration board (for you artsy-craftsy types, check out this link with instructions from simplemom.net), or we might just keep a list in the back of our minds of things we’d like to do sooner or later. Before we die. And preferably, before we’re too old to physically and mentally enjoy the process.
But I’m not going to make a bucket list. The phrase “kick the bucket” comes from people intent on committing suicide who stood on a bucket while they attached the noose to their necks. When they were ready, they kicked the bucket out from under their feet. Not a pleasant turn of phrase, is it? The bucket LIST, then, would be akin to a suicide note.
Now, if you’re more normal than I, you’re thinking, “It’s just words, what difference does it make? That’s not what we mean now when we say it.” Okay, that’s fine. But I eat, sleep, and breathe words. If I close my eyes, there are words behind my eyelids. Words (for me) trigger joy, grief, terror, passion, fatigue, and more. Words are more real to me than reality sometimes. Perhaps it’s the writer’s curse. Whatever it is, I need something more cheerful and positive to describe the things I’d like to do than “bucket list.”
Maybe a list for each new year. My daughter compiled a “crazy 18” list for her 18th year. I think she accomplished everything on it except skydiving. Skydiving will not be on any of my lists. Ever.
This year could be the Fierce 40 List. Fierce as in Tyra Banks’s use of the word – unique, expressive, extreme – not fierce as in perimenopausal cranky fierce.
Or the Fab 40 List. But that makes me think of the Beatles. Ringo Starr turns 70 this month!
Freaky 40 might work, too, since this phase of life includes such anomalies as wrinkles and pimples together on the same face. Do you know how hard it is to pop zits on wrinkly skin?
Or I could just go with Fun 40. Or Finally 40. Hmm. If I ever come up with a name for my list, I might be able to put some things on it!