For those of you that have been here for a bit, you may recall that I’ve become a professional bucket lister. But what does a professional bucket lister do? And just as important, what’s the benefits package like?
I should probably start by saying that this isn’t a made-up term like househusbandology (which I DID create, and I’m sure it’ll catch on as well as vexillology and scientology once I track down famous influencers like Sheldon Cooper and Tom Cruise to help spread the word).
Broadly speaking, a professional bucket lister is someone who selects projects and tries to accomplish them. But that’s not a very helpful definition. The same could be said of activists or architects or even authors, (and that’s just the “a” professions). We bucket listers are something else entirely.
I’m not doing a very good job of explaining what I’m doing here. Let’s try again.
Dinner with Dracula
Maybe if I explained a recent project it’ll get a little clearer.
I was determined to have dinner with Dracula. Not one of those dinner’s where a guy with white paint on his face, a dusty cape, and a fake set of fangs suggests that you try the Beef Wellington because it’s extra bloody. I’m talking about the real deal. And since we’re in the “social proof” era, I would need plenty of photographic evidence. Again, not the grainy, out of focus Loch Ness Monster/Sasquatch/photoshopped alien stuff that the National Enquirer would gobble up in a heartbeat. I’m talking about quality images. Something worthy of at least a dozen likes on Instagram or Facebook.
Monica and I wandered all over Romania, looking through castles, exploring caves, and sneaking into ancient crypts. Our quest to check this item off the bucket list was awesome. However, in the end, no dinner with Dracula.
But we did have appetizers. I have photos. No paid actors. Me sitting at a table with clearly identified Dracula. He has a real bite.
Willing Suspension of disbelief
Why is “dinner with Dracula” on the bucket list? For the longest time, cold hard facts dictated my actions. As a surgeon, my job was to collect and analyze the right data, reach a logical diagnosis, and perform the intervention most likely to lead to an optimal outcome. I would get irritated when someone would try to suggest something “outrageous.” Immortality by drinking from a fountain of youth? Cure disease with prayer? Don’t be ridiculous.
In my world, we cured with cold hard steel. Medication was fine. So long as we strictly adhered to the practices of evidence-based medicine. Things like faith and magic and mystery were best confined to pages of books or the movie screen.
In many ways, I am still guided by these rational principles. However, I’ve recently begun to appreciate that there is more to life than I’ve learned in classrooms or operating rooms. I’ve begun to write. And as I learn more about writing, I recognize that the “willing suspension of disbelief” is a critical component of the process.
A gifted author creates a world that is easy for us to immerse ourselves in. We understand and sympathize with characters because what they do or happens to them is believable. It’s realistic, even if they are fighting dragons or using magic to solve their problems.
But this is a two-way street. The reader needs to be willing to put that skeptic aside. To silence the “no way!” that alarms whenever something unusual or bizarre happens. When we read, our job is just as important as the writers. We make the magic happen.
And I have fallen in love with this magic. This magic gives meaning to life in a way that science cannot (at least for me). I’m not good at this magic stuff yet. But I’m working on it.
What does this have to do with being a professional bucket lister?
The Bucket List sprang from the colloquialism for dying, as in “he kicked the bucket.” The stuff we’ve done goes in the bucket. What’s in our bucket does not define us anymore than any of our material possessions, but what we choose to put in our buckets says something about what we value.
So my bucket list is populated with typical adrenaline junkie items like cliff diving, hiking on an active volcano, and running a marathon on all 7 continents (including Antarctica). But just as important are the outrageous and “unbelievable” adventures like dinner with Dracula, and exploring the lost city of Atlantis. (I can’t wait to tell you about Atlantis- I got to see the world’s oldest toilet ya’ll!)
What would you put in your Bucket?Before I kick my bucket, I want it brimming with a colorful, frothy concoction of the exotic and the familiar. Stuff that is challenging, and inspiring. But also magical and miraculous.Click To Tweet
When I kick my bucket, I want to create such a brilliant mess that those who follow can’t help but be inspired, maybe even educated. Or at least entertained.
This is what being a professional bucket lister means to me.
P.S. For those of you that skipped straight to the bottom to check out the Dracula photo for yourself… I’m on to you. The photo is in the this post.
Hey, stop rolling your eyes at me! You’ll get it before the next episode of Game of Thrones airs. Think of this as one of those thrilling exercises in delayed gratification. Your welcome.