For the past couple of years, I have been thinking about writing an actual “bucket list.” You know, the “live like you were dying” list.
I made my first bucket list (mentally, never written down) when I was about 20. Was it elaborate? Taking a trip to the moon? Becoming a billionaire? Diving with a great white shark? Nope, none of those. Just a few things that were hopes and dreams at that tender age: getting married to my sweetheart, having children and enjoying life from day to day.
Done. Done. And, done!
That's not to say I couldn't have crossed off dozens of items from a real bucket list. I have taken plenty of adventures, visited and lived in many countries and states, and attended hundreds of sporting events, concerts, etc. I just never made one of those written lists with items that I would hopefully get to at some point.
But suffering a stroke in 2020 and nearing retirement age has left me feeling a sense of urgency these days. A few things that I have thought about for many years have become priorities. And so, I have made this short bucket list of the most important things to me before my time runs out:
No. 1 — Trip to New Mexico
New Mexico in the top spot? This would not be the “trip of a lifetime” for many people, but my reasons run deep. I was born in Alamogordo on Holloman Air Force Base, but lived there for just days before heading off to Paris, France, where my Dad had been reassigned. I have never been back. So, it's personal to me, akin to the attachment a person who was adopted must feel to their biological parents. The ember that has burned for years has become an inferno, and is consuming me. I would like to “meet” my birth city and state.
The two-week car trip I envision also would include stops in San Antonio and Dallas on the way out, and the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park on the way home. Of those four places, I have visited only Dallas and fell in love with the metroplex the five days I was there.
No. 2 — Trip to Ireland and U.K.
This is an adventure more likely to be on others' bucket lists. For me, it's a trip I have made many times but not for decades. Mom was born and raised in Liverpool, England. We traveled to England every summer when I was in school to see my family. We always took side trips to Wales and Scotland, but not Ireland, home of my great-grandparents and their parents. Similar to No. 1 on my list, I long to see my ancestral home of Sligo, a coastal seaport in the north.
It's a trip my wife also has wished to make for a few years. We hope to add Germany to the itinerary, to visit the small beautiful town of my wife's ancestors.
No. 3 — Whitewater rafting, again
Whitewater has been a passion since my teens. My sons and I went on many whitewater trips in the 1990s, including the class 4 Ocoee River in Tennessee (site of the 1996 Summer Olympics kayaking events) and class 4/5 Chattooga River spanning the Georgia and South Carolina border (filming site of the classic movie “Deliverance”). My wife's not a whitewater fan, but maybe it's time for another trip with my sons. I have to prove to myself that a stroke will not keep me from doing the things I love.
No. 4 — Fourth FSU national football crown
This would have been third but because it's out of my control, I moved it down. I turned down an opportunity to an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2014 BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. My wife called me a “fool” and I vowed not to make the same decision next time. FSU, with Jameis Winston leading a miraculous rally in the final seconds, won 34-31 for its third title. Hopefully, I will see another crown for my beloved ’Noles. Mike Norvell, you listening?
That's my bucket list. Short and sweet, but I'm passionate about each one. What's on your list? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your top three and a sentence or two on why they are priorities. I might include them in a future column.
Reminder from last week's column
What are your favorites things from Bay County's past? Send me an email with your top two or three and include a line or two about why they were special to you.
Ray Glenn is the content coach and engagement editor at the Panama City News Herald. You can reach him at RGlenn@gannett.com.
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This article originally appeared on The News Herald: Ray Glenn: Here's my bucket list. What's on yours? | Opinion