When I was willing to admit that I was old, rather than just late middle aged, I began a list of things I would never have to do again. Or never do at all.
I will never have to fly again. I don't like flying, but I was willing to put up with it to get to places I needed or wanted to be. It's hard to get from Boston to Ireland in a reasonable time any other way. But trains serve my needs these days. I love train travel.
I will never go skiing. While I like snow and cold, skiing has always struck me as something you either did a lot or not at all. It is a skill that has to be practiced. I could not master it in a day a year. I didn't want to devote the time to get good at it. Of course, people enjoy a day on the slopes, just not me.
I will never have to teach another tiny kid to ride a horse. Most kids aren’t natural riders and they are too young to understand instructions like "lower your inside hand". Once they figure it out what you want, they excel at it. Adults can understand the instructions; they just can't get their bodies to do it. I loved my years of teaching, being one of the few willing to do the first eight weeks when kid meets horse. I believed that those eight weeks were the important foundation for the rest of their riding lives. And I loved it. But I am glad I don't have to do it anymore.
Oh¸ yeah, then there is the hot air balloon ride I will never have to take.
I won't have to hunt for a job. Or sing in a choir.
I am beginning to believe I won't have to garden again. I'm not really convinced of that. I bought a couple of hundred bulbs and never got them into the ground. I may never. Right now I am contemplating tomatoes and peppers, and planting the seeds I bought. I may keep contemplating until it is too late to act.
I haven't been much of a success at this anti-bucket list. At 70 I said I would never climb over another spit rail fence. The thing about split rail fences is that they have no gates¸ so to get into the pasture, one either climbs over or disassembles them.
This may seem like a pretty grim list, keeping track of the things that are lost. In fact, it is liberating. It clears time and energy to do the things I really love. It keeps me day dreaming and setting goals.
There are still some things on my more traditional bucket list, things I haven't done that I want to do. There are some writing conferences I would like to attend, even if I have to fly to them.
I'd love to have one of my novels published. As much as I like short stories and consider myself a short story writer, I have written my share of novels and it would be great to see one in print.
I would like to see a night sky full of stars. I live in a high sky glow area and we have four or five stars that shine through.
I would like to teach more. I love doing the one hour seminars in some writing subject. In September I am doing one on how to take criticism. I would like to teach a course on writing historical stories to high school kids.
Oh, yes there are piles of things I haven't done yet, and still wish to do. Some I will mange to fit in, others are gone for good.