One good thing about having a bucket list is it helps you set goals, no matter how long it takes to achieve them. As time progresses, priority changes. Sometime you can lose sight of what was once important to you. But if you have something you really want to reach out for, one day you'll get around to it.
Summer of 1996. It was the first time traveling to California for summer school, first time moving in with a boy, first time falling in love. We shared a sparse old 1BR belonging to one of his old friend from Australia. There wasn't a lot of money to be had between us. We went and bought a TV, some small appliances, and other bare necessities at Target so we could return them all at the end of 90 days. It lasted us the full summer. What a wonderfully odd offer it was - the 90 day refund. Who in their right mind would buy and keep anything? Not much studying took place, but we did a lot of dreaming. One day he will become a pilot, commanding humanity's largest commercial aircraft across all oceans. One day I will throw myself out of a helicopter and ride the backcountry's untouched snow. One day we'd save enough money to buy a BMW together and drive across the country, from New York to San Francisco, and live there. My irrational affection for cars started within my own family but was certainly refined by this boy.
Years went by, we got older, had different priorities, and moved on. He never became a pilot. I haven't jump out of a heli (yet). He moved to SF and then BKK. I moved to NY. Eventually I got a BMW with someone else and he, a family with someone else. The remnant of what used to be important get set aside in the dark corners of the mind, replaced by new and more important things. I developed a bucket list. He has buckets full of his son's toys. In some ways it reflects who we are as individuals. One bad thing about a bucket list is it prioritizes what you haven't accomplish. Whereas a bucket of toys keeps you grounded and focused on what you have accomplished.
It has been 14 years since that summer. I've now lost 2 boys to San Francisco. Plus a dog and the bimmer. I never got to drive it across the country so I thought on this quick weekender to the west coast, I would at least drive it on one of my favorite road in the US - PCH1. The route was Palo Alto - Santa Cruz - Monterey - Carmel - Big Sur. It was as beautiful as I had hope it would be - peaceful, quiet. The air smells of this wonderful mix of pine and ocean, just cold enough to reawaken your lungs with every breath at night and just warm enough to embrace your skin with memories of many indian summers' past during the day. I wish there was more time to linger, but I took off with no plans and when you go somewhere with a dog and a friend who is afraid of the forest lodges, it requires more planning. I can't say I have fully accomplish this bimmer drive the way I originally planned in my head years ago, but sometimes you just have to keep and open mind and go with the flow. The drive did get me thinking when (or if) I would trade my bucket list in for a bucket of toys. When (or if) that day comes, would I finally migrate to California.