Monday, July 7, 2008

My "Bucket List"

It’s been said that the people with the fewest regrets in life are the ones who are most able to let go of that life when the time comes. I certainly found that true in my years of working with terminal patients in the hospital and in hospice, so I have been making a concentrated effort to eliminate regret from my life. Not that I am facing imminent death – at least not that I know of – but in preparation of the inevitable. After all, time does not march backwards.

In the spirit of the movie, “The Bucket List,” I have started checking off things that I always wanted to do. As I wrote in an earlier blog on this subject, my list started with having my small farm and playing farmer as long as I can. I'm still doing that, and this weekend I checked another item off my list.

I’ve always wanted to go on a trail ride, and even though I have owned horses on and off in my lifetime, I have never been able to go on a trail ride for one reason or another. So I told my kids and my husband that is what I wanted to do for my 65th birthday. Last Friday – yes, I’m “Yankee Doodle Dandy” – six of us went to a nearby dude ranch and spent the morning riding through 800 acres of beautiful East Texas pines and meadows.

I’m not going to idealize the experience. While it was wonderful to be in the saddle, riding a very pretty appaloosa gelding who had the nicest slow trot, it was hot and dusty and sweaty, and three days later I still have muscles screaming at me for riding so long. (Some of these are muscles I never even knew I had.) But it was fun and especially meaningful because I shared it with some of my kids and their spouses who all make me feel incredibly loved. Going horseback riding is probably not high on their Bucket Lists – if it is even on them at all – and they all did it for me.

And as an added bonus, I got to check off another item on my list. At one point we were riding a trail with the trees on one side and the open meadow on the other. One of my daughters said, “Mom, you should take a run across that meadow.” So I did, and I was so thankful that she remembered the time we were driving past a beautiful hay meadow with gently rolling hills and I said, “Every time I pass a meadow like this I think of how much fun it would be to gallop a horse across it.”

Thank goodness young people have better memories than some older people.

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