To me, a Bucket List isn’t a simple list of things you want to achieve in life, like completing one’s education or career goals. I once gave a talk to a room full of folks & pointed out that “If we are lucky, very lucky, what’s going to happen to us is that we are going to get old, get sick & then die.”
If that’s my best scenario, I want to make sure that I approach my end with gusto, & I’ve left instructions that my headstone is to be inscribed “No Regrets.” As I completed my seventh decade (count them; it means I'm not 80 for another 9+ years), BucketListing has become a big deal to me. I enjoy contemplating what should be on my list, and researching new opportunities to have once-in-a-lifetime travels, as well as planning some repeat experiences. No, you can't go to Paris for macaroons too many times!
I’ve already checked off a number of items on my own Bucket List, which contains both small & large goals, experiences that challenge and satisfy, and in some cases, terrify me (I’ll talk about shark diving some other time). Sailing from Newport Beach, California North Carolina--yes, we took the shortcut through the Panama Canal--was a lovely years-long journey I shared with my late husband, Rocket Man, & I’ll never regret devoting several years to checking that item off our mutual Bucket List. I wouldn’t sell my cherished memories of those years on Yankee Rogue, our Fantasia cutter-rigged sloop, for any amount of money.
An item I checked off my Bucket List last year was a simple, but long-held, dream. I wanted to learn to use a lathe and make myself a wooden bowl, & I finally did just that. When I was growing up, girls didn’t even know they could want to do woodworking. My father was an accomplished weekend woodworker, but more than half a century ago neither one of us realized that was something he could teach me.
|Photo courtesy of Jeff Aydelette|
However, the one tool that eluded me was a wood lathe. I had actually bought one for myself, but before I could even remove it from the box, Hurricane Isabel destroyed it in 2003. Other life circumstances intervened, and until last year I wasn’t able to replace it.
I like to do research, so I have read books and watched videos on woodturning, and took an introductory class on using a lathe. Then I had the opportunity to take a one-day class from a master woodturner who was visiting Chapel Hill. I even booked a hotel for the prior evening so I wouldn’t risk missing even a minute of class time by having to commute so far. I didn’t have my own woodturning tools, but the owner of the shop where the class was held kindly lent me tools and taught me how to sharpen them. I was even invited back for a lesson on how to make most of my own tools.
I left late that lovely spring afternoon with an imperfect, but immediately beloved, bowl made from a chunk of Red Maple. Although I technically checked off using a lathe to make a wooden bowl from my Bucket List, I also carried home with me a passion for learning to make all sorts of items with a lathe. A real bonus was meeting other folks who share my love of sawdust.
Not everyone appreciates my simple 8-inch bowl. When I tried to show it off to a grown granddaughter her response was “And it took you all day to make that?” No dear, it took me 69-1/2 years to create that sweetly proportioned bowl. However, the next one won’t take nearly so long.