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Unbucketing

From the BookShelf Writers

The BookShelf Writers consist of four Estero Bay women who have been writing and critiquing together for over five years. For more samples of their work, please visit www.the bookshelfwriters.com

Each issue, this column will feature one of the BookShelf Writers: Debbie Black, Catherine “Kiki” Kornreich, Judy Salamacha and Susan Vasquez.

November 4, 2021

Story & Art By Catherine “Kiki” Kornreich

Driving down Highway 1 I saw a rather portly gentleman trying to stuff himself into a wetsuit. He looked ridiculously uncomfortable. I confidently decided right then and there that I would never contort my frame into one again.

I’ve been lucky enough to accomplish many of my goals, and put a check in front of numerous items on my Bucket List. But at this point, there are things I simply no longer want to do. Some of those Bucket List items aren’t appealing any more. Some of my goals are no longer attainable, due to physical, time or financial limitations.

I’ve decided to cross a few things off my list. In fact, I’m creating a new Unbucket List (in pencil…I may want to make some adjustments).
I’m no longer an adrenaline junkie, or feel like I need to try everything at least once. I’m tossing out the impossible dreams…and guilt. I’m accepting the things that just aren’t gonna happen.

About twenty years ago I damaged my knees in a terrible ski accident, and arthritis has moved in and gotten cozy. So I can no longer do anything that challenges my knees: medium/high impact sports, skiing or even squatting. I will never hop off the couch effortlessly. Crummy ankles mean no more high heels. Fine. No more guilt, no more sorrow, just acceptance.

I’m removing fluent Spanish from my Bucket List, as the old brain refuses to memorize anything…including, but not limited to what I had for breakfast this morning. Learning to play bridge is off the table. A master’s degree isn’t as important as it used to be. Scratch. Off the list.

I’ve always planned to clean and organize my garage. Nope. No more fretting. Same with remodeling the bathroom. I accept.

I also thought I’d eliminate climate change and create world peace. Too lofty? Yes, so I’ve changed that to “do my part.”

There are items on the list that sounded challenging or fun…but now just seem silly. Believing I have to finish every puzzle I start or finish reading every book in the house (there are more than 700 on my shelves!) are no longer goals, but I know I’ll always be a voracious reader and will still do puzzles. I’m pretty confident that I won’t have a best-selling book in this lifetime…and that’s ok, too. I will continue writing anyway.

I’ve scratched having dinner and laughing with Steve Martin. Or lunch and inspiration with Thich Nhat Hanh. Just not gonna happen.
I’m comfortable saying I’ll never again attend ear-shattering rock concerts (country and jazz can remain as options).
What a relief to Unbucket! It feels great to let that s**t go.

I know there’s less road ahead of me than behind, so my Unbucket List gets longer, and my Bucket List is now more reasonable. I’m ok with the things I’ll never do in this lifetime, because there are still so many things I can do.

I’ll always be grateful for the life I’ve had, the people I’ve known, and all of my First World benefits. I’ll do my best to make our planet a better place. I’ll keep believing that people are good.

I’ll attempt to finish writing my books; type up all of gramma’s recipes from the old country; sleep in an ice house and watch dazzling northern lights; stay in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora; go salmon fishing in Alaska; spend a month in Italy taking a culinary immersion class; witness Antarctica’s Ring of Fire; cross Vancouver’s Capilano suspension bridge; circle the country with my dog and little RV; spelunk in New Zealand’s Waitomo Caves; and sprinkle kindness like confetti.

I’ll always keep in mind that a visit to Estero Bay is a Bucket List item for many people, and that I am blessed to call it home.
And I’ll continue to live life as fully as I can, and motivate my friends to do the same. If there’s something I really want to do, I’ll just do it. For as Herb Magidson wrote: “Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.”

Catherine “Kiki” Kornreich is a member of The BookShelf Writers. To see more of her work, visit www.thebookshelfwriters.com

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