Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bucket list

A couple of my co-workers celebrated their 50th birthdays recently. It won't be long before I'm facing the same grim milestone.

I feel like a grump admitting it, but I've grown to hate birthday celebrations. Unless you're under the age of 19, is a birthday party really necessary? I don't expect anyone to mark the day I entered this world, except for my parents and my spouse. Are any of us with a driver's license all that excited about getting older?

SO and I figure we have about 25 good years left. Anything after that will be gravy, and depending on our genetics and environment, it might be lumpy gravy at that. Our own parents, well over the age of 65, have a combined list of ailments that includes (but is not limited to): osteoporosis, arthritis, high cholesterol, bipolar disorder, prostate cancer, fallen bladder, and cataracts.

Sometimes I ponder the sentiment, "Die young and leave a beautiful corpse." It's catchy, but a recent brush with the Grim Reaper left me certain that an early death is not on my Top Ten list of things to do. Heading westbound on I-40, a semi-truck threw a tire in the eastbound lane. My hands gripping the steering wheel, I watched as it bounced (in apparent slow motion) on the line dividing my car from one to my right. In the rear view mirror, I saw it hit the shoulder and roll harmlessly into a ditch. There was a surge of adrenalin. My hands started shaking when I imagined it deviating slightly and crashing into my windshield. I would have bit it but good. As for a beautiful corpse -- well, I'm sure it would have been a closed-casket ceremony.

If I had a bucket list (and I don't), I'd feel pretty good about marking off some things. True, I'll probably never tour Europe or hike up to Machu Picchu, but I've seen the Grand Canyon and driven up Pike's Peak. I wrote and published a book and I found my True Love. I had a part in creating two unique and entertaining individuals and I've laughed -- a lot. So when the end comes, it comes.

I just hope it comes without any surprise birthday parties. I hate those things.


Jim Smith said...

When I was young I was of the "better to burn out than fade away" crowd. But there something about having a spouse and progeny that make hanging around much more appealing. There is also the fact that I didn't expect to be old this quickly. It really sneaks up on you.

So I guess I need to call your SO and cancel the surprise we were planning for next March...DARN.

pastgrace said...

All I know is I missed the card you always send me... Did you forget?

Really I'm with you on the birthday party gift giving thing. I'm at a point in my life that I don't want anything. And I'm trying to get rid of things.

jenX said...

holy smoke. we're going to be 50? when in the world did life land me on a moving walkway to old age. somebody stop the button, eh? well, you found your true love. you don't need a bucket list.

i always believe i can and will cheat death, but then today, a Corvette passed me on the left - in the shoulder - on the Belle Isle Bridge. The whiz and hum left me shaking. Jana, if I never told you, you have a lot of living and giving left to do. Of all the kids - and we were kids - I went to college with - you were the biggest talent. I mean it. I admired you then. Now, approaching 50. No fear of flying. The best is yet to be. I must believe this is true for myself, because holy smoke, I thought it was just yesterday I was sitting in the Echo office.