The Bucket List of a Middle Aged Woman
Are your buckets full or waiting to be filled?
First, let me tell you that I don’t expect you to agree with everything I am about to say. Some will agree but others will think I’m either crazy or have a death wish. I’ll concede that I may have a slight touch of crazy but I absolutely do not have a death wish. I just do not wish to live long enough to become a burden on those I love so dearly. Nature has a way of culling the sick or weak from a herd. It is only humans that fear death or are too selfish to let go. The result is that millions of families are being torn apart from the emotional and financial burden of caring for the elderly. I don’t want to be that burden on my family. My bucket list does not include living to be 100. I’m satisfied with what I’ve had and if I can’t take care of myself, then I am ready to go,
Social and Moral Responsibility
That’s a strange heading for an article on the bucket list of a middle aged woman, I know. As a baby boomer (born in the 50’s) I have personal knowledge of the impact of disease on our society. My Dad has late stage Alzheimer’s disease and can no longer care for himself. He lives in the locked unit of an assisted living facility because he wanders. He rarely knows who I am when I visit although I still seem familiar. My Mom lives in a different unit of the same facility. She experienced a stroke many years ago and has some residual mobility issues. Both Mom and Dad are in their mid 80’s. The cost of assisted living is staggering.
It is our social and moral responsibility to care for the elderly. According to Caregiver.org, the following represents the projected change in people needing long term care.
Further discussion of our social and moral responsibility is critical and will be covered in a future article but it is important to realize that as the population ages, our responsibilities increase and require an investment of our time and our money. It is the very least we can do for those who have done the same for us as children.
Quantity vs !uality
My parents worked hard all their life and were frugal. They knew the value of a dollar and their bucket list was simple. All they wanted was to give their children a good life and…to leave them a little money when they died. It was a simple goal for simple people. They accomplished the first part of their bucket list. My brother and I had a wonderful childhood and we are grateful. The remaining item on their bucket list, to leave their children money, is questionable. At the current rate of elder care, we will be lucky if the money they saved will last as long as they do. The facility we chose for them will not accept Medicaid and Medicare does not pay for long term care. We chose the facility for the quality of care but if the money runs out, we will be forced to move them to a facility that will accept Medicaid. We will be forced to sacrifice quality for quantity. It is an adult child's nightmare.
Learn More About My Journey
- If You Live Long Enough: A Mother Looks At Life
Growing old doesn't mean that we stop learning or that we aren't reminded of what we have already learned. Even in old age, we are reminded that love is all that really matters.
- Alzheimer's Disease - Preparing for Assisted Living
When Alzheimer's disease progresses and your loved one can no longer live independently, preparing for assisted-living can be daunting. You can pack up all those old memories and make new ones too.
Finally, we come to the bucket list of a middle aged woman
Everything you’ve read here has influenced the recent revision of this middle aged woman’s bucket list. The older I get, the shorter the list gets. It isn’t that I’m working so diligently to accomplish all the things on the previous list. It’s simply that as I age my priorities have changed. The things that matter to me the most can’t be purchased, they can’t be displayed on a shelf and I can’t wear them to a party. I don’t have to pinch pennies for them and they don’t appear on my calendar. They are moments in time, places of the heart, and hope for the future. So, let’s look at the list of things that I hope to experience before my time on this earth is over.
- I want to tell my Dad I love him one more time and have him know it is me.
- I want my Mom to know, really know, how much like her I have become and how proud that makes me.
- I want my brother to know how proud I am of the man he has become.
- I want my sister-in-law to know how special she is and that I know she was the perfect one for my brother.
- I want my niece to know how precious she is to me and that I will always have her back.
- I want my friends to know how I treasure the memories we’ve made together.
- I want to sit in the woods and hear the wind song in the trees.
- I want to stand in the rain without worrying about my clothes or hair.
- I want to sit by a creek and squish mud through my toes.
- I want to lie in the hay, high in the loft of a barn and lose myself in daydreams.
- I want to wake one morning to only good news; no wars, no killing, no racism
On the Light Side
What Reallly Matters
As you can see, my list is fairly short for someone who has lived nearly six decades and never done really amazing things. I’ve never jumped from an airplane with a parachute nor done a walk-about in the beautiful land of Australia. I’ve never climbed Mt. Everest or spent a week on a cruise ship. In my youth, I thought those things were important. They aren’t anymore. Looking back, the amazing things I didn’t do made room and time for the amazing things I did do. The bucket list for this middle aged woman is short but the individual items are simple. They don’t require money or travel. I don’t need anything but desire to accomplish them. I still have time because I still have today and, I have hope. The last item on my list may seem foolish but even that can be done. I won’t turn on the television.
The truth is, I want to live a long time. I have new friends to meet, old ones to spend time with, and many more memories to make. Finding contentment with your life is a gift, It's there for the taking. All the material things in the world are temporary. You can't take them with you. What really matters are the people we love, the relationships we build, and the memories we make. Do those things well and it doesn't matter whether you live to be 40 or 140. Check your bucket list. It might be time for a revision.
© 2014 Linda Crist