The big 50 is fast approaching, and I must confess that I’m not a bucket list person. People keep asking me what I’ve got on my list to see, have, do after I turn fifty, but in reality, I think that sort of thing is a waste of time. Now I love lists, don’t get me wrong. I am a type A, and I make lists all the time, when I’m working on something, to track steps and progress.
I don’t do that for life.
I prefer a roll-with-the-punches, organically grown lifestyle. A shit happens and I work with it approach versus the standard:
- Get Education
- Get Job
- Get Married
- Get House
- Get Kids
- Pay Taxes and Get Broke
- Get Bucket List
- Get Disappointed about Bucket List
- Get Dead
I’ve never been one for that sort of traditional trajectory or the “what you’re supposed to do” mantra. I’ve also never been one to spend my time wanting. When you spend your time wanting, you miss out on living.
That said, people keep asking me what I want to see, do, have after fifty, but I really don’t have a list let alone anything that fits that particular category, except one thing aside from getting Zen…
I want to see my ferrets again.
I’ve thought long and hard about this. I miss them dearly. Sure, winning the lottery would be great, so would retiring to the country, but all that stuff has a material physicality to it. I’m not interested in that at all. I suppose the happiness I’ve always been able to find in my life came from cultivating something. Words. A garden. Friendship. Love. My ferrets were a huge part of my life. Twenty years of hooligan bliss to be precise. Laughter, love, frustration at times, and a lot of heartbreak. According to some, I sacrificed a lot of my life for them, but I never considered it a sacrifice. Any of it. And I would do it all again if I could, but I can’t. They’re gone. I did think about writing a memoir, but every time I got started, I would get too choked up to continue. I have a lot of pictures and fond memories, but I’ve been having a difficult time thinking of something that would commemorate their perfect little souls in a way that truly reflects their importance in my world. I was at a loss, or so I thought until I met DD McInnes, a wonderful painter over on Etsy. I studied his work and knew in my heart that he would be able to capture their spirit. Some people have a way with the natural world and all the creatures that dwell within it. He’s one of those people, so I left the composition entirely to his whim. I simply asked that they be outside in the English countryside and that they be having fun. I sent him a color chart so that he could accurately represent my “magnificent seven” as he called them, and my only stipulation was that Baldrick have a turnip, which is being added as we speak.
Mr. McInnes knew nothing about me other than the fact that I’m an Anglophile — Baldrick and the turnip gave me away — so I was astonished that he not only captured their true spirit but he captured mine as well.
Now I’ll have a painting of my ferrets — a memory — not how they were, but how I always imagined they would be — in a fairy-tale somewhere — frolicking the days away in pure utter ferret happiness just like the characters in some of my favorite stories from Benjamin Bunny to Wind in the Willows to Winnie the Pooh.
Someday I’ll walk myself into that painting, join them in their song and dance, but until then, I have them with me again in a dream that I had hoped would one day become real.
Thank you DD. For painting them into a story, for painting them into my dreams.