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My bucket list: Meeting Janet, writing a novel, Blue Angels

Updated: July 29, 2012 5:04PM



In the open night air, I rumbled around my neighborhood on my brand-new Harley for a spell. Then on Wednesday morning, I climbed back in the saddle for my trip to morning coffee.

I parked my bike next to my friend Kevin’s — two Harleys glistening in the sun, our chrome shining like silver ice.

Our friend Steve soon showed up on his Hog, excited that I have now joined the ranks of Harley riders and wanting to hit the Interstate for my baptismal highway ride.

“Whoa,” I explained. “In time, man. Right now, I am only about parking lot certified and still need to get some miles under my belt before I’m ready to roll like that.”

But rolling I am.

And my goal of riding a Harley, sun in my face, wind at my back — even if I’m just getting started — is now something to scratch off my bucket list. Check.

I have a bucket list:

I want to fly with the Blue Angels.

To live in a beach house for a year and write the great American novel.

I want to meet Janet Jackson. (Just meet her, nothing more, really.)

To fly to Paris for a romantic dinner. (No, not with Janet!)

To earn my black belt in Tae kwon do and Hapkido.

To go to summer concerts every summer for the rest of my life while music and the summer breeze sweep over my soul.

I want to walk my daughter down the wedding aisle and to hug and play with my grandchildren.

To wake up on the beach to a sunrise and feel completely in love . . .

My bucket list is for life. It is to be lived.

In truth, there was a time in my life when I didn’t want to. Live, that is.

Years ago, while batting depression and a sense of futility, perhaps also fatalism, death seemed an easier path. I found my way back from the brink, partly by rediscovering — or perhaps really understanding for the first time — that work, fear and stress can consume our lives unless and until we take life by its reigns like the handle bars on a motorcycle, kick up our boots and enjoy the ride.

What I came to see so clearly is that of the 24 hours in a day, we too often fail to wrest from them even a single hour truly for ourselves. Clear is that while work is a necessary evil and having money required for certain indulgences, we are surrounded by so many simple things that can lend substance, fulfillment and joy to our lives: A walk in the park. Watching a sun set over the horizon. Strolling across the sands of a beach. Breathing in nature while walking a forest preserve trail. Sipping a drink at an outdoor café.

I have come to believe that having a good life amounts to creating a tapestry of priceless moments and memories.

So I want to live — to breathe in the moments with family and friends. To live my life, in the words of Sinatra, “my way.”

“What is (your wife) going to do with you? A (convertible) and a motorcycle,” one of my wife’s friends chided from her car as she spied me sporting my motorcycle gear and near my new Harley outside the coffee shop. “It is a midlife crisis!”

For the last time: Not a midlife crisis, lol!

Just finally old enough to get a few big boy toys, and intent on living, on fulfilling my bucket list and on riding my Harley, sun-kissed on a summer breeze.



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