When I was about to turn 65 years old, I thought about how important it is to live life to the fullest, enjoying and appreciating each minute. I knew that there were many wonderful experiences I still wanted to have. So I sat down and created a “bucket list” that had 25 items on it. Over the last 7 years, I crossed off most of the items on the list as I completed them, including getting a tattoo (two, actually), skydiving, swimming with sharks, parasailing, and traveling to some specific locations. Still, a few items remained, including……wait for it……milking a cow!
Finally, this weekend, just 2 days after my 72nd birthday, I MILKED A COW! With the help of some good friends, I met Pearl, a big tan cow, at a local farm. I loved petting her, looking into those huge brown eyes, and talking to her. In fact, I spent more time petting and talking to her than I did milking her. She responded to me like a dog probably would have, nudging my hand and making satisfied noises. That was great fun. The milking was easier than I had been told it would be. But, drinking the fresh, warm milk was not a highlight! I have never liked warm milk, and Pearl’s milk coated my tongue in a way I didn’t like. Nevertheless, I feel very satisfied to have milked a cow, and my bucket list is one item shorter.
Now, there is one unusual item left on my “bucket list”: playing in a Texas Hold ‘em poker tournament. I am not brave enough to do it by myself, and all of my friends either don’t know how to play or just don’t want to. So, if you know anyone willing to take an OK poker player like me (who is a novice at tournament play) to a small, low entry fee tournament, let me know. I have no expectations of winning or even lasting very long. I just want to play for however long my chips last. Sounds like fun, right?
Here’s the thing. I have truly enjoyed creating and having a “bucket list”. It has helped me be brave enough to try many things I probably would not have done without it. It has given me many awesome moments and lots more to look forward to. So, if you don’t have a “bucket list” already, I encourage you to create one. As J.R.R. Tolkien’s character, Gandalf, said in The Lord of the Rings, “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”