Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Bucket List

Originally posted on December 15, 2013

What do I want to have done, achieved, experienced, before I “kick the bucket”? This is the “Bucket List.” It becomes ever-more relevant for some and less so for others. My wife, not relevant. Me? A bit.

A cousin as part of his Christmas greeting sent me a picture of his holding the New Zealand elk, with a vast rack of antlers, and the innocent comment that this was yet another item off his bucket list. This reminded me of the subtle sense that I too keep a vague bucket list, and I decided to make this a bit more explicit.

A little later my darling wife offered to share a bit of news about some item—never mind what—and I found myself courteously declining—I did not want to add this novel information to my mind. I remembered that recently I turned off a couple of DVDs, too, though I would have  fallen into finishing watching them a few years ago. What had changed?

I realized that I was turning away from an underlying attitude I had acquired as part of my cultural conditioning: “Do not avoid opportunities for broadening your horizons. That would make you narrow and unsophisticated.” Wow, I was not buying  into this, at least not as much. I used to buy into that commandment a lot. I now view it as stoked-up quasi-addiction to any product of any medium that is offered to me without too much of a demand for lots of money. Well, if it costs little or nothing, sure. Wrong. It’s as bad as junk food.

A third theme coming together on this has been two people who have talked to me about addiction, and I’m drifting towards a neo-Buddhist perspective that recognizes that not only subjugation of a race is wicked, and subjugation of a gender, but our own slavish mentality that allows us to be subjugated to media. Wow! “Media addiction”? Could that be a recognized condition in fifty years?

Thinking about addiction, my wife reminds me of the social imperative of concepts, like the bucket list. “You’ve got to do these ten things before you die.” Who says? Our appetites collude with these bits of “common sense.” In fact, I’m deeply content much of the time, but am prone to becoming discontented by being reminded of all that I’m missing out on. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is an interesting new disorder, now that we have so much more access to activities that give us the illusion that we’re really “with it” and not missing out. But of course, it’s all illusion.

So I’m settling in, and as part of that, missing out, and surrendering to how very very much I’m missing out. I’m not all free, let me confess. The variety of interests and involvements is still significant, even though I’m letting go of many others. But I sense a theme here—getting focused, getting in the groove.

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