Every once in a while, the concept of the bucket list floats back into my attention. It's pretty pervasive in our culture right now, and I think it's generally a pretty good idea -- I mean, if you start from the premise that you're going to make sacrifices and compromises to have a relatively safer and more comfortable life (which I do think everyone does eventually have to do, in some form or another) then it's a great idea to figure out your sticking points -- what sort of experiences you absolutely don't want to miss. The thing is, though, I can't write one.
I really can't. I can't figure out what things I wouldn't be willing to die without doing.
I mean, there are a handful of things that are really important to me. I'd like to meet Neil Gaiman (check) and Tim Minchin (check), I want to publish a novel, but more importantly I want to build a career as a writer, I want to travel and have meaningful relationships and hopefully have kids some day and raise them to have relatively few deep emotional issues.
But as far as the sort of easy, event-based, check-off-a-list kind of things that a bucket list is well suited to organize? I just don't think I know myself well enough to know what sorts of things those would be.
Maybe I'm wrong -- maybe the bucket list is a shallow papering-over of the reality that human desires are too complex and subtle to be satisfied with a simple checklist. Maybe, ultimately, you don't need to compromise your selfhood, even one little bit, in order to get through an entire lifespan. But I think that casts my current ambivalence in a bit more of a positive light than I'm confident it deserves.
That said, I think I'm on the right track in thinking about this, even if I can't actually write the list.
Talk to you tomorrow.