Stop Swishing Around in the Bucket List

Christie Perkins

When it comes to bucket lists, I have a very tiny bucket. You know the kind that act as a Barbie house decoration rather than a dowsing pot? It’s small not because of the time factor (psh, we are going to squish a lot of time out of this cancer journey) but because my wish list is small.

I should do something about that.Stop Swishing Around In Your Bucket List 5 Things You Shouldn't Leave Off Your List(1)

Anyway. So, last week I was able to slop a little something out of my bucket. I squealed when I saw the river, who cares that I was in a car full of mostly strangers. Decades of my chained up wish list was finally breaking free. I couldn’t help it, the swirly twirl in my stomach just burst into sunshine confetti. Never mind the muddy river and 105 degree weather.

Today, I was going river rafting.

I’m not really sure when the desire all surfaced, probably some movie triggered it. Actually I think it was a fishing movie that got me all googly eyed all over it. Hm, strange. Anyway, I’m not even sure why I wanted to go. I avoid water (probably because regardless of the swimsuit cute factor I can’t take my eyes off the jiggly, white fright when I look at my legs). And besides, I can’t really swim but at least I’m confident in my amazing doggie paddle skills.


Now, despite my bogged down water reservations, I was going river rafting. River rafting! I could wear thigh hugger knee length shorts, a turtle neck, and grown up floaties (ok, ok, I’m kidding about the turtle neck). I just couldn’t miss this opportunity I had to dip into my bucket list and slosh a little bit out. A real life rafting trip. It’s the real deal, man.

And I almost didn’t go.

Yep. You heard me. I found myself making excuses. Thank you Cheryl at the cancer center for encouraging me to go. I wasn’t sure if it was in my best “health interest” to go. I am an info girl so the facts of my health were intruding. Because the cancer has spread to my bones it weakens them so I’m more likely to get fractures. Was the jarring and bumping around in a wild rubber duck boat ride going to aggravate that?

Yack, yack. I was talking myself out of all of this.

And then I started hearing myself question my ability to be responsible enough for crazy middle grade kids. Afterall, I was acting as a chaperone… not the middle school half clone. (Could I control myself?)

Oh, and what about the the 3 a.m. wake up call. My mind started telling me right away why this wasn’t a good idea: I knew my facts. When I get super tired my cough acts up and I start feeling cruddy. Before cancer I was a night owl and bird food (… yeah, you know the early bird gets the worm. Worms have to be up before the birds). Anyway. I started wondering where am I going to crash when I’m tired? Can I handle this?

All of these “what if’s” stared me down.

And do you know what? I glared back at it. The unknown dual of “what if” and I’ll-show-you-what-I’m-going-to-do began.

So, to start it all off, I went shopping. Yeah, a swimsuit might ruin the perfect adventure and thankfully they weren’t allowed. I found shirts with v-necks, and t-wrecks, others claiming obliviousness to hair wrecks; there were shirts with butterflies and twinkles, and shirts that won’t handle the sprinkles. All of these shirts piled up.

And I realized I had a bunch of unwanted shirts I needed to return. Yay.

I woke up two minutes before my alarm: 2:58 a.m. Oh, I love it when that happens. I knew it was going to be a good day. My kids and niece were tucked away sleeping nice and neat. I splashed on make up (yep, I did) and tweaked my hair then took my seat. Bucket list here I come.

And I had a blast. The water bobbled around and splashed. I giggled and laughed. I even yelled “I’m living the dream!” and I don’t usually scream.

We stopped for lunch and the midday tiredness kicked in on that sunny beach. There wasn’t any shade. But, ah, there were several rocks. Perfect. I sat down and an immediate sizzle dried any remaining moisture in a split second. After all, it is a black sun sweltering heat spongy rock… I think I’ll stand. It’s fine. I guess that’s why no one else was using the rocks.

Smart kids.

By the time I stepped off that raft there was not a burn or a fracture. (I was a little surprised the sunscreen did so well.) I stayed awake for 20 hours. Not a wink of sleep and I was fine… of course two days later I crashed. But, I learned a great deal about bucket lists. And it is simply this: life will just keep on passing by don’t excuse yourself out of doing something,anything, with your life. You can’t just slosh around in your bucket… dump it. Then find a way to fill it back up.


5 Must- Have’s On Your Bucket List

Bucket lists don’t have to be big or grand. They just need to fill some part of you. Stop excusing yourself out of it. So, if you haven’t made your bucket list follow this simple outline for creating your own (put an element of personal stretching in it):

1- List something small that costs little or no money that you could do today: For me this is going on a sunrise hike. Maybe you have always wanted to ride your bike to a certain location. Maybe you’ve always wanted to write a poem- give it a whirl.

2- List something that is tied to your talents: I am working on writing a book (who knows if it will go anywhere but I’m writing it). Maybe you secretly sing- perform for someone. Decorate a bathroom. Invite people over. Whatever. But do something you are good at and share it.

3- List something new you want to try: Personally, I want to learn to play pickle ball. Maybe you want to try Sushi (bless you), or learn to make tortillas or peanut butter frosting. Maybe you want to visit a city that you have never been to. The possibilities are endless.

4- List one thing that could be easily accomplished in a year: I want to organize and dejunk every area (yep including those boxes downstairs) of my house. Now, keeping it that way may be the trick. Maybe you want to run a 5k or paint a wall. Or maybe you want to write your dad’s family history (since he’s not doing it). Whatever. Make a plan and get going.

5- List one big thing that could be accomplished in your lifetime: For me this was the river run. Now, I need to come up with something else. Write it down so when the opportunity arises you won’t be able to turn it down- even if you have to wear thigh hugger knee length shorts, a turtle neck, and grown up floaties. (P.S. Should have bought the hair wreck shirt.)

What’s on your list? Dip into your bucket list… go ahead, slosh a little bit out.


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2 thoughts on “Stop Swishing Around in the Bucket List

  1. loved your bucket list item. Last year I rode in a race car for one item on my bucket list. This year I am going to go on a zip line. I am 81 years old and a colon cancer survivor of 7 years. Good luck.

    • Love this so much! You are never too old to play around in that bucket are you? What a gem you must be. I want to be just like you when I “grow up”. Thanks for sharing.

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