I am not sure that I like the current fondness for bucket lists – the concept of doing things before you die seems to focus on our eventual death – which, honestly, I’d rather not have on my mind all the time! BUT, having said that, there are several things I am going to take up or finish in Arizona, because I will have more time, a bit more disposable income and a chance to focus on some treasured activities that have fallen by the wayside in the past 4+ years.
1. Gonna take up genealogy again. Did a massive amount of work on the family tree many years ago – got my maternal side traced back to England, in the 1500’s. Stumped on husband’s side, father’s side, maternal grandfather’s side. So one branch of the tree is covered with leaves, and the others mostly bare. I have always known that I was a Mayflower descendant – from Stephen Hopkins, a “stranger” on the ship (not being a pilgrim, but a merchant recruited to provide assistance and governance of the new colony). He was a shady character, a bit disreputable, which is sort of fun to know, in a way! He and his wife Elizabeth were the parents of Oceanus, the child born on board the Mayflower.
2. I am going to sort and catalog all my family pictures, and save them to disk. Most family trees programs now have the capability to add photos, so I will “people” my tree with pictures, and get rid of a lot of photos that have no identifiers on the back. The family joke is “a bunch of us after church last Sunday” is not an acceptable label!
3. I am going to learn to machine embroider, and finish up some sewing projects. Back “in the day” we were required to take homemaking in junior high (shop classes were NOT an option for girls then!) and I learned to make Baked Alaska, and to sew. Once upon a time I made cute little outfits for my toddlers, and Halloween costumes too. I don’t feel driven to make outfits so much, these days, but to be creative and artistic with fabric in other ways.
4. I want to get back to lapidary, with decent equipment. I would like to take up rock hounding as part of this quest! I used to have a rock polisher that hummed not-so-silently on my kitchen counter in Tennessee. It was fun to see rough rocks tumbled to satiny smoothness, and my older grandson, Xavier, still remembers watching the process unfold.
5. I want to experiment with desert gardening. I am thinking of using greywater from our trailer, and have spent some time better spent packing in researching using greywater effectively and safely. I am not going for tomatoes or grocery gardening though; instead I will stick with my beloved herbs, trying to find varieties that can be grown successfully in the summer heat of 3000 ft. elevation Arizona. I’m thinking Mediterranean herbs – rosemary, lavender, creeping thyme and oregano.
What about you? Are there hobbies or adventures that beckon to you, no matter what your age? I encourage you to explore those niggles that summon you to experiment and take voyages (or hikes) of discovery. No matter how young, or old, we are, we can enrich not only our own lives, but the lives of others by taking undiscovered paths, and forging new ones. Mixed with a generous dash of volunteerism and altruism, a simple, minimalist life, such as the one I hope for, can be one that enables you AND others to grow and nurture the world. Not a bad goal for a 50-something retiree!