I recently found a bucket list I wrote many, many years ago. So long ago in fact the term bucket list hadn’t been invented so my list was entitled “Just Live Life and Do It Damn It”.
It’s been fascinating reading the dreams of an Anthony that was care-free and single.
But as I went through the dreams and musings of what feels like another life altogether, I couldn’t help but wonder what a bucket list written AFTER I’d become a parent would look like.
There are obvious choices such as taking the kids to Disneyland and being able to go away for a single night without having to pack 16 bags and play car-packing Tetris.
But the changes in perspective are enormous. Pre-kids Anthony may have fantasised about a cute Danish girl joining him in the shower, but post-kids Anthony just longs to have a shower all by himself without any interruption.
The pre-kids bucket list had extensive travel plans on it. Post-kids I’m happy to get the kids out the door before 7.45 each morning.
Pre-kids: Read all the classics.
Post-kids: Actually get to read more than one adult book a year.
Pre-kids: Conquer Mt Everest.
Post-kids: Conquer the never-ending mountain of washing.
Pre-kids: Stay up all night on a tropical island and watch the sunrise.
Post-kids: Sleep through the entire night and not have to see the sunrise.
Pre-kids: Jump out of a plane.
Post-kids: Get through a meal without having to make airplane noises to get someone to eat.
Pre-kids: Build a dream house.
Post-kids: Get through a day without stepping on a Lego piece from their dream house.
Pre-kids: Participate in a group sky-dive.
Post-kids: Go to the toilet alone.
Pre-kids: Attend every match of <your sporting team> live this season.
Post-kids: Get to watch one half of one game on television undisturbed.
Pre-kids: Survive swimming with sharks.
Post-kids: Survive drop-off and pick-up at school (survive swimming with sharks).
Pre-kids: Learn an art or craft.
Post-kids: Keep your walls free from permanent art.
Pre-kids: Dine at Michelin starred restaurants around the world.
Post-kids: Drink a cup of tea without having to reheat it three times.
For the record there were 176 things on that old bucket list and going through them I was delighted I’d actually done 152 of them. For a moment I couldn’t help but revel in the abandon of the past.
And then the twins ran into the room with pictures of their horse-riding last week and excitedly recounted everything as if I hadn’t been there with them and I realised that while pre-kids Anthony had fun, post-kids Anthony has purpose.
We still travel. We still embrace new experiences. But now it’s not about me. It’s about showing the girls how wonderful life can be. About sharing the experiences.
I feel a bit sad for pre-kids Anthony: he didn’t have ‘be a parent’ on his bucket list and right now I couldn’t imagine a more fulfilling thing to do.