a special feature from Leslie Zinberg, co-founder Grandparentslink.com
I really do not think I had a bucket list per se, but as our “kids” grew up and there was more to time to think and wonder, I’ve allowed myself to dream of places I would like to see and things I still want to do. After all, just because I am a grandmother, does not mean I need to sit around and not continue to explore life. Have you ever caught yourself fantasizing or aspiring to do something that you probably had not considered years ago? Obviously I have. I must admit…I now have a bucket list.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to check off the top item on that list. I’ve had a burning desire to go to Africa – to travel, eat, and sleep amongst the wild of Africa, and to experience the feeling of this vast and extraordinary country. My husband of 47 years was not too keen on this, and while we share so very much together — our grandchildren, our family, our personal interests, our love and friendship, this definitely was not at the top of his agenda. However, for 10 to 15 years, this has been a true fantasy of mine.
Lo and behold, I was presented with a chance to realize my dreams. A dear friend of mine (with her fabulous significant other) was going to Africa with her mother to celebrate her 90th birthday! The invitation was extended to my husband and me. Now, get ready for this: Connie, the birthday girl at 90, would be returning to Africa for her 65th time. Can you imagine 65 trips to Africa? Still working every day, Connie is a travel agent, grandmother, and great grandmother, whose specialty has been in the exotic, the fascinating and ever alluring country of Africa. There was no question in my mind – this was the opportunity I had been dreaming of.
It was indeed a trip of a lifetime. My husband loved every second. To see Connie, or as the Masai people call her, “Mama Safari”, navigate her way through Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, and Botswana, was inspirational. This beautiful and lively lady jumped in and out of safari vehicles, and kept us going from morning to night. Nothing stopped her, not flying on teeny bush planes, taking a balloon ride over the Masai Mara, going to the top of Table Mountain in Capetown, experiencing Victoria Falls, or driving in an open vehicle through the overflowing waters of the Botswana Delta. She did everything, up earlier than all of us, ready to go and do and be. What a glorious picture of 90! We all delighted in her energy, her thirst for living, and her love of life.
There is so much to see and experience in the world, and it’s easy to stay put. But, hear me out … if we don’t get out of our comfortable and content world, especially as we get older, life can become smaller and smaller. And, in order to create a bigger world fulfilled with dreams and desires, we do need to get out of our own way; it will help us to be mentally and physically active, vibrant, and stimulated. Step outside of the box and take a moment to indulge in something that is right there on the bucket list no matter how silly, serious or out of the ordinary. Life’s for living, so find something that inspires you, and take the leap.