Tag Archives: Life

My Bucket List

This is a blast from my past. It was originally written in June 2014 but I think it is still as pertinent today as it was almost 10 years ago.

‘The Bucket List’ was a movie that came out in 2007 with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.  It tells the story of two terminally ill men who take a road trip to fulfill their final wishes:  their Bucket List.

It has become quite popular for people to create their own bucket list.  It is a list of things they want to accomplish before they kicked the bucket.  My list, my bucket, is a little different.

In my bucket I’m holding tight to the memories, the emotions, the ideas that made my life as rich as it has been.  When I approach St. Peter at the gates of eternity (hopefully many years from now) I want my bucket to be overflowing with love, with smiles, with humour and yes with remembered tears of sadness that I have journeyed with throughout my life.

I don’t want to complete things and then strike them off the list to move on.  I want the pictures in my mind to be retained until my last breath.  I want to be able to recall my first kiss.  Okay maybe not the first kiss as we were young and stupid.  But I definitely got much better.  I want to remember what it felt like when my father picked me up as a sleeping child to take me to my room.  I want to remember what it felt like when I got my first praise for a short story I had written.  To know that my words could touch another was intoxicating.

I want to remember puppy dog kisses and a kitten’s purr.  I once watched a cow giving birth and many years later I watched the same process with our family dog.  Five incredibly beautiful puppies took their first breath while I watched!  It was exhilarating.  I have watched whales playing a few feet from my boat.  I have caught fish and seen bears in the wild.  I have been to other countries and have experienced a warm welcome.  I have driven through mind numbing storms and joked about it afterwards.  I have been deep in caves hoping that my guide knew the way out.  I have done so much in my life and all of those experiences are in my bucket.  I’m not done yet so I think I’d better get a bigger bucket!

 

 

 

 

A New Year

And so it begins,

A New Year is born.

A chance to make changes,

An Old Year to mourn.

 

We take up the mantle,

To plan a direction,

So much is amiss,

And needs a correction.

 

The future is ours,

To mold, to make fit.

The question of course,

Is can we admit?

 

Mistakes have been made.

And evil has been done.

But we have the strength,

To approach it as one.

 

Together and wise,

Let our will be conceived.

And just as we’d hoped,

A bright future achieved.

 

 

Angst is the Word

The notes I had made,

They seem to have fled.

I’m left at a loss,

And filled now with dread.

 

Once every week,

Was the goal I had set.

It worked for a while,

And then came a threat.

 

The words I had written,

Got lost in the mess.

My home is in flux,

And I’m full of stress.

 

When order once more,

Is the word of the day.

And writing is easier,

I’ll then have my way.

 

Forgive me my rant,

I just needed to vent.

I’m feeling much better,

My angst has been spent.

At Peace?

She slowly made her way through the brush and the trailing  vines. She knew where she needed to be, she felt drawn to one spot and one spot only. She felt that she had been doing this for an eternity: every night the desperate need to be here.

Eventually she made it to the one place where she could sit and breathe. She desperately wished that she could remember. So much of her life was blank, unknown. She heaved a sigh and looked out at the heavenly vista displayed out in front of her. From this vantage point she could see the ocean with the waves crashing on the shore.  Dolphins frolicked in the surf. Large sea birds dived beneath the waves, returning seconds later with a fish squirming in their beaks.  She could see the forest and the deep restful green of its leaves. She was at peace here.

”Hello.”

For a moment she was startled, she’d never heard a voice here before. She started to stand up and turned towards the voice.

” You have nothing to worry about, I mean you no harm.  Please sit, I would like to talk to you.”

She did as she was instructed. She felt no fear, no anxiety. She felt….. calm.

The voice in question materialized into a young man, a young handsome man. He strode with purpose towards her and still she felt no concern.  He sat near her, crossed his legs and smiled. It was a lovely smile.

”I know why you come here every night. I know where you go everyday. I know your name.”

The woman who moments ago had been comfortable, even accepting of the things that she could not remember now came alive with the thought of knowing.

“Who am I?”

With these three little words her entire world changed. She was about to know the answer to things that she had not thought to question.

“Stacy Ann. Wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, friend. All you ever wanted to be was Stacy, a woman. You were drawn in so many different directions. People needed you and you answered their call. You did everything for anyone and never took time for yourself. People loved the person you were at the moment. But they never knew who you really were.”

The woman now known as Stacy Ann looked sad. She glanced at her hands resting in her lap and with the small voice asked:

“Why?”

“It was the time.  It is what was expected of women at that time and you were the best of them. You knew the role you were expected play and you did exactly what was expected of you.”

Stacy looked up. There was a smile just lurking at the corners of her mouth.

“Something has changed. I’m not that woman anymore. I feel free. I feel blessed.”

The nameless gentlemen stood and offered his hand to Stacy Ann. Together they stood and faced the seat she had been sitting on for all this time.

“You’ve been given the time to notice the beauty that is everywhere around you. You were too busy before. Perhaps you have been enjoying the peace for the first time.  But now it is time to come home.

Stacy Ann look at what she thought was a bench that she had been sitting on and suddenly everything made sense. She was at peace.

Stacy Ann Cooper

Beloved Wife and Mother

Grandmother and Friend

You will be missed!

Born 1817

Died 1898

 

 

 

 

Identity

What is it that makes me, well, me? What is it that makes you, you? We all have a built-in identity based on how we look, how we speak, how we act. I am a Canadian. I was born in Canada X number of years ago. You really didn’t think I was gonna tell you my age? Silly you! But as such, I am perceived by others to have certain… traits. It is expected that I will be polite. Always saying “I am sorry” and “eh” are common phrases that are attributed to a Canadians.  They are attributed because they are often said. (Most of us try to get away from the “eh” because it is, well, irritating.) Assuming we are polite is not a bad quality to have.

Canada is the second largest country geographically and yet our population puts us at the 40th. Big country, few people. I think that goes a long way into determining our character. We have a great sense of humour and love to laugh at ourselves. We have more lakes than in the rest of the world combined and we make a great friend. We are loyal and tenacious. But we’re not perfect. We will be the first to admit that. I like being Canadian. I like the fact that the rest of the world likes me because I am Canadian. But I am sure there are those out there who do not. And I’m OK with that.

But there is so much more to one’s character then where you were born. We develop as we evolve as people. I was lucky to have had an idyllic childhood, a carefree youth and, so far, a useful adulthood. I have had adventures and friendships, sorrows and ecstasies. All of these have helped form my character. And it is still forming. With luck, it will be until the day I die. And I have no plans for that anytime soon! I’m just sayin . . .

Perhaps the most important component to one’s character is time. Time allows us to grow, to experience to become the person we are meant to be. It is sad when some are not given the time to become more. With time we can learn, we can touch, taste, hear, see, hypothesize. What we do with those experiences that we have gained over time is what will define our character.

And the final piece to the jigsaw puzzle that is us is, us. We choose. We can choose to let the good and the bad define us or we can make that choice ourselves. That perhaps is the strongest aspect of our identity.

Mac and Cheese

When I was a child, my favourite meal was macaroni and cheese. It came in an orange box with elbow macaroni and a package of powdered cheese. I would eat that daily given the opportunity. A little ketchup on top, yep, I was good. Jump forward several decades and my tastes have changed somewhat. Mac & Cheese is still one of my favourite meals but I no longer use powdered cheese because I have discovered real cheese!

I remember being told as a youth that I needed to give up my childhood dreams. I needed to accept that life was not all rainbows and unicorns.  I thought that was ridiculous. There are some things that do belong in my past, in my childhood but others are still with me. Like that Mac & Cheese. I use different cheeses and different pasta but the essence is still one of comfort. Since those heady youthful days, I have discovered spices and herbs and sausage. Yes, my Mac & Cheese is significantly different than it was in those long-ago days. But it still represents, me.

I am glad I’m not the same person I was all those years ago but I’m also proud of the fact that I have retained some of that… childhood curiosity? I think that is something we should all try and keep. Life does its damnedest to mould us into appropriate adults. And that is how it should be. But we should never forget who we were and what we stood for. For that way lies madness. And there is enough madness in the world today that we do not need to contribute any more to it. Maybe that is why things are so crazy: people have forgotten what they cherished as children.

We are not born to remain in one state. We are born to grow, to evolve. Most of us do a very good job of it. But some…!  Life is delicious. It is messy and uncomfortable but it is also fulfilling and rewarding. We need to embrace the best parts of it and ameliorate the rest. Just like my Mac & Cheese.

And of course, rainbows still caress the world and unicorns are just a whimsy away.

Is it not about life?

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

William Shakespeare – Macbeth  Act 5 Scene 5

2022 AD – 1606 AD

This is one of the most popular soliloquies written by William Shakespeare. There have been many explanations for the reasoning behind it in the context of the play. But I had another thought. Is it not about life?

Are we walking shadows? Perhaps. While we live, we can create, inspire and impress. When we are gone can we still?  Some do. William Shakespeare lived 400 years ago and yet we still speak his words. We still try to understand his words. We engage with his words. But can we know the man just through his words? What did he desire? What was his favourite colour? Did he love to kiss gently like a butterfly or with mad passion thrown to the wind? The man is gone. His essence is no more. His shadow walks still.

Will my shadow still touch after I am gone? Will yours? Does it matter? I will not worry about what will happen after I’m gone. I would like to think that perhaps, just for a little while, I will be remembered fondly. But quite frankly at that point I probably could care less. We don’t know what waits beyond the veil.  It could be a new adventure; it could be nothing. So, I intend to make my presence known here, in this world, in this adventure.

We don’t remember the individuals who built the Pyramids or the Great Wall of China or even the buildings that became our cities. These people with sweat and blood and tears built our world. We can see their legacy but we don’t remember the individuals, perhaps that’s the way it should be.

I want my sound and fury to be joyous and positive. I want to touch people with my words and nudge them with my ideas. I want to share who I am. In 100 years, no one may remember my name but if the spirit of who I was resonates somewhere, in a word,  an idea, in a thought. Then I have lived well.

Taking Up Space

I was fascinated recently watching a bug outside my window. It was furiously insistent on doing . . . something. I don’t know what kind of bug it was, it had wings and was far enough away that I couldn’t make out any details. Think of a really big ant with wings. And then it dawned on me that this tiny insignificant insect was part of the whole picture. It wasn’t insignificant, it had a role to play. As do I. As do you.

Since the beginning of sentient thought we have questioned our existence. Life is the ability to reproduce, to grow.  Existence is a fact or state of living. But of course, it is so much more than that. In its simplest form to live one must only breathe.  To have a life, that’s a tad more complicated. Plants and animals in all forms reproduce but humans have the capacity to enhance that life. Reproducing is biological, the ability to love is chemical, what to do with those two can be magical.

We all take up space on this tiny blue ball floating in a vacuum.  What we do with that space is what defines us. We are alive but living is what we do with that life. Some people have made incredible contributions to the whole while others have been quietly in the background. And still others believe they have made no contribution at all and yet I disagree. That small insignificant bug is part of a chain.  A chain that binds us all together. That insect is as important in the long term as am I. But I’m sure for very different reasons. I like to think that my efforts are significant but perhaps only to me and to those around me.

I remember a news story many, many years ago about a town in, I think, Australia where a neighbourhood was overrun by very loud birds. People were irritated at being woken up too early by these annoying creatures. So, they set about to relocate or eradicate them. They did. And shortly thereafter there was an incredible influx of poisonous snakes. What they didn’t take into consideration was the fact that these annoying birds’ favourite snack was said poisonous snake.

It is the domino effect all over again. I’m not the one that has to make the miraculous discovery but if my words inspire someone who then inspires someone who then inspires someone . . . you get my drift. My comment, my smile at stranger might be one of the pieces of the chain. No person, no insect no comment is insignificant. We all take up the right amount of space at the right time.

I’m Feeling Wonderful

I’m feeling wonderful,

And I don’t know why!

I’m on top of the world,

And there’s rain in the sky!

 

The sun shines around me,

Tho’ the clouds up above.

There’s a smile on my face,

And I’m thinking thereof.

 

I don’t understand,

The happiness I feel.

I frankly don’t care,

I hope that it’s real.

 

The feelings I feel,

Are only for me.

Others may have them,

Just now let me be.

 

This day like the others,

When I’m feeling this good,

I’ll treasure the memory,

And do what I should.

 

I’m feeling wonderful!

And I don’t know why.

I’m on top of the world,

I tell you no lie!

 

 

A Bundle of Keys

A bundle of keys,

The memories they hold.

Once gripped in my hand,

My past will unfold.

 

The tales I could tell,

The deeds I have done.

A life that was lived

Was chock full of fun!

 

A lover’s sweet kiss,

In the back of my car.

Miles we had driven,

Some near and some far.

 

My bike had a lock,

I thought it secure.

But wily mean bullies,

Saw that as a lure.

 

The key to my heart,

Is not kept in a box.

It is worn on my sleeve,

My mind holds the locks.

 

A diary of secrets,

Is unlocked with a key.

Dare if you must,

You may just find me!