My Bucket List

A Maturing Zen Christian Localist Manifesto

  1. Eat a nutritious breakfast.
  2. Figure out how to use a prayer book and start saying the liturgy of hours.
  3. Find a local parish with a priest who loves and listens to the people; attend weekly.
  4. Find a local public radio station and lock it in.
  5. Marry someone who prays and bakes bread.
  6. Learn which teas to brew at which temperatures.
  7. Meet the neighbors with the cute kids.
  8. Meet the crotchety ugly neighbors too.
  9. Get a job that lets me take a power nap when necessary. (Meaningful work is also nice.)
  10. Chat with the janitor.
  11. Learn how to keep a pipe lit.
  12. Divide up the chores equitably.
  13. When I really must travel, call home.
  14. Learn to single-task.
  15. Delay gratification.
  16. Sit in the rain on a summer day.
  17. Plant a shade tree even if I’m moving soon.
  18. Learn what Indian tribe once walked “my” land and ask forgiveness if I get a chance.
  19. Smile with bemusement when I don’t have enough frequent flier miles again this year.
  20. Read the daily paper.
  21. Forget to read the paper some days, then notice how little I missed, when I do.
  22. Read the tags on my clothes and imagine a short story about the people who made them.
  23. Call my congressperson.
  24. Talk to homeless people.
  25. Identify my favorite park bench. (By the way, thank you State of Minnesota, for letting me befriend Hubert Humphrey at least in bronze.)
  26. Take that nap.
  27. Visit my hometown as though it were an exotic foreign city. (If I look closely, it is.)
  28. If there is wilderness within a day’s drive, visit. As often as possible.
  29. Work hard and earn a living.
  30. “Depart daily.
  31. “Withdraw weekly.
  32. “Abandon annually.”
  33. Get a library card.
  34. Try that new user-friendly reading device, a book.
  35. Read a book.
  36. Read a bunch more books.
  37. Eat less, eat better, sitting down with my family whenever possible.
  38. Make peace with someone I don’t like that much.
  39. Figure out what’s bugging someone whose politics I despise; actually talk to them to do so.
  40. Vote for higher taxes to pay for public transportation and make reparations for slavery.
  41. Closely examine a tree, its bark, and its leaves – as though it were in an art museum.
  42. Get into sync with my spouse sexually, so that we enjoy one another even more than the sex.
  43. Make friends with someone in a nursing home.
  44. Spare the lives of animals.
  45. Get up in the middle of the night to watch a meteor shower – or if available, northern lights.
  46. Plant a garden, orchard, or berry bushes.
  47. Give away my favorite book, knick-knack, or T-shirt.
  48. Buy clothes from a thrift store.
  49. With appropriate parental supervision, let a little child tickle or climb on me.
  50. Send thank-you cards.
  51. Learn to smile and nod politely when people tell me about TV shows I really must watch.
  52. Be spiritual and religious.
  53. Learn to say at least hello or “peace be upon you” in a few languages.
  54. Chew more slowly.
  55. Try yet another alternative to the automobile.
  56. Ask: Really now, what are national borders anyway?
  57. Plan a day with absolutely no plans.
  58. Whimsy. Try it.
  59. Send an anonymous gift.
  60. Fast from all electronics for at least a day, once every few months.
  61. Give away some money, and then some more.
  62. Feed birds (unless you’re near a wilderness, and might upset an ecological balance, of course).
  63. Call aging parent(s) or grandparent(s) by surprise.
  64. Identify my heroes.
  65. Attend the funeral of someone I’ve never met.
  66. Embarrass my kids.
  67. Pray for someone who really bugs me (but not that they will change).
  68. Splurge on fruits, preferably locally grown.
  69. DIY.
  70. Floss
  71. Only buy the latest gadget two years later.
  72. Read poetry.
  73. Write poetry – at least haiku.
  74. Study Zen by watching re-runs of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.
  75. Look for every excuse not to make excuses.
  76. See the forest for the trees (and all its resident creatures).
  77. Square a circle.
  78. Dream a possible dream.
  79. Ask what I can do for my country, unless my country wants me to kill.
  80. Get to know some of the vendors at my farmer’s market on a first-name basis.
  81. Live a life of quiet respiration.
  82. Listen to a river.
  83. Welcome a scapegoat back from the wilderness of isolation and ostracism.
  84. Study the “12 Steps,” even if I’m not obviously addicted, to see whether any of them apply to me.
  85. Forgive the people who fly disdainfully over “fly-over country,” for they know not what they miss.
  86. Age gracefully.
  87. Perfect my J-stroke for more elegant canoeing.
  88. Get to bed on time.
  89. Buy stock in a bucket company, then protest at shareholder meetings.
  90. Okay, do some traveling. It’s all right. But seek to collect friendships, more than experiences.
  91. Drum, or play the harmonica, in the park.
  92. Tip generously.
  93. Forget that canard about not trusting anyone over 30. Don’t trust anyone under 300. Read Aristotle, Confucius, Thomas Aquinas, or the Buddha on the good life.
  94. Sure, question authority, as they say. Just be sure to start with my own.
  95. Take at least fifteen years to decide on a tattoo.
  96. If I still need drama in my life, try weather.
  97. Keep my gratitude list longer than any bucket list. Lots longer.
  98. Practice being as honest about myself as I hope to be compassionate toward others.
  99. Cross “do a bucket list” off my bucket list and get back to savoring ordinary time.

Gerald Schlabach
September 2014

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2 Responses to My Bucket List

  1. Lovely! Thanks for sharing this!

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