Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Of Bucket Lists and Marathons

I suspect that most of us of a certain age and beyond had an awareness of the concept of a “Bucket List” before the term itself came into popular usage.  I suppose it’s possible that the term has existed for as long as the concept. If so then perhaps it’s just me who was blissful in my ignorance. That could be the subject for another post (makes a mental note).

Some people dream of this
So to re-cap, a Bucket List is that list we create in our minds, or perhaps more formally, of things we feel we must do at some point in our lives. To me there’s a slight negative connotation to the whole idea. I think that for a lot of people (people who have even given their own Bucket Lists any thought) the items on their lists are things they intend to do only once. The expression “Bucket List” has given rise to a derivative expression: “Tick in the Box”. Let’s say for example you had Walking on Hot Coals on your list (I don’t but let’s just say you did). Perhaps you will get to the point where you accomplish this feat. Put a “Tick in the Box”, strike it off your “Bucket List” and never do it again.

A pastime from my past
So why do I see that as negative? Well it occurred to me that some of the things I’ve done in my life are possibly things that are on someone’s bucket list. I’ve cycled through a European wine region, I’ve done a triathlon, I’ve ridden a motorcycle, I’ve piloted a sailplane. For some people one of those may be a once in a lifetime experience. For others they may be such every day phenomena that they no longer even think of them as remarkable. For me they were all experiences that had a profound effect on my life and became a regular but very pleasurable experience for a long time thereafter. Flying sailplanes, the only one of the four I no longer do, was actually the most significant. That’s how my wife of 27 years and I met (another mental note for a future post). My point here is that if I had done any of those things only once and then called it a day I would have missed out on so many wonderful follow on experiences.  It probably bears mentioning that I never approached any of the items I named as Bucket List material. They were just things I thought I/we might enjoy.
So what does any of this have to do with marathons? I want to run the Boston Marathon. Why? Well because it’s the Boston Marathon!  I call myself a Triathlete but I don’t really call myself a Runner even though running is arguably my strongest of the three events that make up a triathlon. For me Boston is a Bucket List item. In order to get there I’ll need to run at least one qualifying marathon, possibly two or more. But I’m pretty confident that I will qualify and I will race there one day. And once I do that will likely be my last marathon outside of an Iron Distance triathlon. Perhaps not. Perhaps I will find the whole experience so fulfilling that I’ll want to repeat it. We’ll see.
Fine dining always appeals
No longer the same but I'd still like to go

Still the machine I would most like to fly in
The engine note alone is list-worthy

Madness may be someone else's dream gig
 In the meantime if you know of a Super Constellation we can catch a flight on, if you own a 12-cylinder car you’d be willing to let me drive, if you can get us a deal on a Monaco hotel room during Grand Prix weekend or a three-starred restaurant in rural France, Italy or Spain give me a call. Just don’t expect me to make a habit of it. Oh, and if you’re looking for a companion for the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona just keep looking.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the repeat experiences, for those shape who we are. Although some would argue that ONE single experience may shape who we are. I say, If I like it enough, I will be back! If I don't, cross it off. I had "marathon" on my list (although I didn't call it bucket list then) since my 20's. I thought I would do "just one." Turns out that experience was so noteworthy, I re-visited it over and over! Now onto #12, in a repeat location as my 1st. :)