A few years ago, a popular movie called The Bucket List encouraged people to imagine wondrous adventures and magnificent experiences they want to enjoy before they die.
I just threw up on my keyboard. How old does that make you feel? Trying to imagine fitting in a trip to the Taj Mahal while you’re paying tuition or health care bills and your third daughter just got engaged. To me, a bucket list, at least one like in the movie, is a recipe for disappointment. And who wants to wait until they are old to start living. We’re all living right now, today. My response is a Ladle List. Not a collection of things you hope to do, but a list of things you have already done.
It’s called a Ladle List because ladles are associated with buckets and the term has a bit of alliteration thrown in, which is always good. If you can help with a better rationale or a better term, have at it.
I’ve got a Ladle List and in censored form it is available to anyone who wants to see it. Ladle Lists have a few rules that you can follow or not (it’s your list) but my rules sorta go like this….. To make the list, the event cannot be something you actually aspire to achieve. Swimming across the Singapore River at midnight sounds like something only an idiot would actually plan for. But having swum the Singapore River at midnight while looking for a shortcut to your hotel sounds like a doozy for the Ladle List. See the difference? The second criterion for making my Ladle List is it needs to be unique or nearly so.
I’m a mere four decades shy of the century mark myself and I’m not gonna climb the Pyramids. Sorry. Besides, everyone who’s rich seems to do that. But dammit, I jumped off the Tower at Y Camp (twice) and I once dated a Playboy Bunny. Those things folks don’t plan for, but when they happen, they are not forgotten.
And the big test on this one is whether your friends can say, “Oh yeah, I did that, too. Great time.” Now, some potential Ladle List accomplishments fall into a gray zone. Watching men walk on the moon in ’69 probably doesn’t count ‘cause half the world was tuned in. But if you saw the Stones at Altamont that same summer, well, dude, that is friggin’ cool. I know I’d count it. Like I said, it’s your list. Include what you want.
You’ve got a Ladle List. Just think about it. Some of your list may not be events you’re prepared to share, but when you look back on them, they can help identify who you are. Alcohol seems to have been involved in many of my more memorable excursions but that may be a coincidence. So maybe you didn’t streak the Krystal on Baxter as a college junior, but perhaps you caught the last performance of Olivier on Broadway or surprised your mother by coming home for Christmas when she thought you’d have to miss it this year. Events big and small make up a Ladle List and once on there, they don’t have to be repeated or scheduled ‘cause you’ve already made your headline.
My current Ladle List runs exactly twenty items. But I probably need to replace a few with memories that have come to me today. At least three of them have been written about on this blog. The first one on the List I experienced at age 17 and the last was enjoyed just this fall. I think there are more good days ahead and more unexpected events that will make my list. But I shall not specifically quest for anything new. Bucket Lists are not for me. I like the story I can tell today, not the one they will tell when I’m gone.