The ancient Mayans believed that the world would end in the year 2012. Strangely enough, seers and sorcerers of several other ages and cultures have also focused their predictions of doom on that same year. As a result, there is now a motion picture called "2012" depicting the cataclysmic end of human civilization in that year.
Well, I don't pretend to know when the world as a whole will end, but I know that the end of my world could be any day. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone, young or old. So I have determined that there is no use getting too worked up about planning for the distant future. Sure, I have a will, and life insurance, and a retirement account, but I'm a firm believer that it's what I accomplish each day, here and now, that counts.
To keep my daily activities relevant, I am actively developing a "bucket list" of all the things I'm determined to do or accomplish before I kick the bucket. Making a bucket list is a terrific exercise in re-evaluating priorities and streamlining daily life. It gets every motivator into perspective.
If something isn't important enough to make it onto my bucket list, then it's really not important at all. And if it makes the list, then I'm determined to be actively making progress toward its fulfillment.
My list includes once in a lifetime goals like taking a tour of Europe, as well as things I want to do every day if I possibly can like hugging my granddaughter. It also includes things like the kind of person I'm determined to be - a believer who boldly lives her Christian faith, an upbeat, positive influence on those around me, and a woman growing older gracefully, not bitterly.
Making a bucket list is not a "one-time-and-you're-done" kind of thing. A bucket list is a living, changing thing. Almost every day, I add new things I'd like to do, and write off some things I've lost interest in. The fact that my list keeps changing is, to me, a good thing. It means I'm alive, still growing mentally, still engaged with my world.
Since starting my bucket list I've also found that I'm actually enjoying certain parts of life a lot more. I've decided there's no need to reserve my best clothes for special occasions. Instead, I wear them and enjoy looking good, no matter what the occasion.
I no longer have "good" dishes that are saved and used only when company comes to dinner. I use them whenever the mood takes me and the spontaneity makes every day special. The same is true of linens, jewelry, everything I own. I just ask myself, "What am I saving it for?" And then I use it with abandon. If that means some things get used up or broken or lost, so what? At least I enjoyed them, and as with things like dishes, so did my family or my guests.
I figure, if I'm actively using up what I own, I'm also broadening the choices for my family when it comes to getting me gifts for birthdays, Mother's Day, and Christmas. People love to see you wear or use the gifts they bought. When you "save" it because it's special, you rob your loved ones of that joy.
Some would say my attitude is a bit "carpe diem." But hey, what's wrong with seizing the moment? If 2012 is the end, and even if it isn't, I want to be able to say I "lived" my life, not just existed. I want to know my life mattered, and that my existence made a difference in the lives of people around me.
Put that in your bucket.