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I Don’t Have a Bucket List but I Do Have a F**ket List

by Brenda Mahler 2 months ago in aging · updated 2 months ago
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The longer I live the less I stress

I Don’t Have a Bucket List but I Do Have a F**ket List
Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash

Before I retired, a list dictated every moment and every movement. Sometimes the list actually grew shorter by the end of the day, but usually it grew longer. In fact, it is embarrassing to admit but I had several lists: a to-do list, a to-buy list, a reminders list, and my dream bucket list. In retirement each list has diminished significantly, and some have become obsolete.

Now, if I wrote a list for a typical day, it would resemble the picture above. Each day starts with coffee, but I would add to the bottom, sit on the deck and watch the deer, hummingbirds and chipmunks. As I’ve aged, appreciation is a key focus of each day. Waiting for Mom to escort her twins to the feeding block behind our house is time well spent. Over the last couple of months, though the fawns have grown and are becoming more independent, they still move in unison as a family. I feel so fortunate to be a silent observer.

With coffee in hand, the hummingbirds bombard me when their feeder is empty. They freely flourish when I am not around, but with my presence they demand a special treat. Without looking up, I know they are near by the fluttering of their wings as they hover above my head. Somehow, it is understood they are safe as they pause to greet me in the morning.

Beside me sit Dagney and Francisco, my constant companions who continually entertain and make me smile chasing wildlife. The chipmunks are forever terrorizing them from a high limb by chattering and then scurrying up and down the trunk enticing attention. Cisco simply watches and barks sometimes, but Dagney’s life mission is to catch one of the critters. I can’t imagine what she would do with it if she did. Though I did not laugh when Dagney chased the skunk out of the yard or when Cisco got stung on the tongue by a bee, the stories spark a chuckle when I retell the adventures.

Since we live in the forest, somewhat secluded from the bustle of life, a shopping list grows daily for times we adventure into town. However, other than coffee the only staples on my to-do list involve feeding the deer, birds, and the dogs but if I forget, they are sure to remind me.

There was a time I also kept a bucket list of places to travel, sights to see and people to meet. That doesn’t seem so important since retiring. When thinking about traveling I still get excited and will venture out, but it doesn’t have the pull now that I’ve learned to relax and appreciate my surroundings. In reflection, I realize my old desire to travel stemmed from the need to escape the pressures and stresses of a working mother attempting to survive.

Travel has taken on a new meaning now. My husband and I crawl in the rig, our 40-foot Monaco motorhome, and adventure out to explore the world. It is less of a need to escape and more of a new beginning.

Thankfully, the one list that has grown exponentially over time is my f**ketlist.

My stomach once churned during election season worrying about the ramification of the voting results. In retirement, I’ve come to realize the world will keep turning. I will vote but will not allow the negative campaigns to control my moods.

There was a time when world crises kept me glued to the TV screen. Now, I know to keep informed but like water off a duck’s back, the information dips off and evaporates. Acceptance that I can’t change the world brings peace while recognition that knowledge provides understanding and prompts compassion. No longer do I feel weak from carrying the concerns of the world on my shoulders.

Friends and peers who are still teaching share the changes in education causing me to mourn many losses. However, by exiting the classroom, young teachers are empowered to pick up were many of us left off and carry on. Holding the belief that life is a continual march of two steps forward and one back, the future of education will overcome the current obstacles before it. My once all-consuming fears are relegated to a list to live in my conscious without giving it the power to darken my days.

I’ve discovered retirement can be the golden years. It took me awhile to release the concerns that once consumed my days and nights. But once the worries were shelved, I found room to enjoy sitting and appreciating each moment, experience and the potential of the next moment.

“Old age . . . is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator.” — Confucius.


In retirement the one thing I do that brings enjoyment is write. You are invited to follow on Vocal Media, Medium, or join my blog. Reading is a great way to pass the time.

We adopted a new member into our family last month. Dog lover? You might enjoy this. How Can Something So Cute Be Such a Terror?


About the author

Brenda Mahler

Stories about life that inspire emotions - mostly humor.

Lessons about writing based on my textbook, Strategies for Teaching Writing.

Poetry and essays about the of art of being human.

I write therefore, I am.

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