The Fear of Not Doing


Maybe because the Big 5-0 is fast approaching  I’ve been thinking about what I want to do before I’m…well, too old to do it.  It could be called my Bucket List (although it’s not really that big – the size of a small plastic beach pail, really).  Is this List the beginnings of my mid-life crisis?  

Most of the items involve travel.  As I rattle off the list to myself, it occurs to me if everything on the list were to be accomplished, I’d never be home.  I’d be a gypsy although to do any of it, the lottery would have to be won.

Some of these things go against everything my loved ones normally associate with me.  For example:  I want to pilot an Ultra-Light aircraft.  Not only am I afraid of heights but I’m afraid of flying and yet, I’ve wanted to do this for a very long time.  My father had his pilot’s license and his…er…flying “skills” were enough to turn me off flight for a lifetime.  But the idea of flying open to the winds with nothing but a lawn mower engine puttering away behind me is very seductive.  I can’t explain it; I just want to do it.

I want to drive the Nurburgring in Germany.  Those who know me are familiar with my love of speed. In fact, there are quite a few highway patrolmen in the province of Alberta who are also well acquainted with my love of speed; however, I want to do it legitimately, with the only consequence being…well, I guess my death.  I would train and learn as much as I could before so as not to endanger myself or others on the track.  I get a tingling feeling in the base of my spine every time I see an aerial shot of that hallowed altar of speed.  Oh, and I’d want to do it in a proper car.  Perhaps an M5.

I want to see Africa and India.  Venice is near the top of the travel list as time is not on Venice’s side either.  Europe has to be a return address not just a tourist destination at some point.  There are deserted beaches in Fiji and misty moors in Britain to be walked.  I want to see the red dunes in Namibia.  There are photographs to take and languages to be learned.  I want to sail on the Mediterranean and paddle the countless bays around Stockholm.

Now that it’s written down, there’s more on this list than originally thought.  For some of it, I may already be too late.  Are my reflexes already too slow for the Nurburgring?  Would I cause a five car pileup in the parking lot?  And same goes for the Ultra-Light…my vision and reflexes aren’t what they used to be – does this matter?  Of course it does.  Time’s a wasting…

I envy people make living and experiencing a priority. This doesn’t have to mean climbing Everest; to some, just getting on a plane is a huge adventure.  Some might scold and say, that’s foolish; you need to settle down and be responsible.  No, you need to Live.  Thus far,my entire life has been a catalogue of caution, fear, and excuses.  I don’t want my kids to make the same mistake.  Get out there, do stuff, experience the world and other cultures.  Don’t wait. 

Going to check my Visa points and formulate an argument in favour of racking up more points so that some of these things can happen before I’m 80!


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