Thursday, September 30, 2010

Maggie's Bucket List

by Maggie Mayall

In 2004, I took a cold hard look at what I’d done with my life. Turning 50 will do that to you. Turning 50 gives you perspective. Getting old(er) ain’t for sissies. It ain’t for the faint of heart, I can tell you that.  When I turned 50, I started to wonder, “OK. Now what?”

Let’s just say—just to round things off to a nice even number—this is the halfway point. Let’s just say I stay healthy and everything goes well from now on—that I’ve survived the excessive and hard-partying 20’s, the road, a few rock bands, a long-term marriage and being a parent. Let’s just say stress and worry and a traffic accident doesn’t send me to an early grave, and luck and keeping up the good work with my lifestyle will help keep some of the genetic predispositions of my family tree at bay.

Ok, so let’s just say I make it to about 100. What do I do for the second half?

When I turned 50 I thought, “What have I left undone?  If I knew that I was going to go tomorrow, was there anything that I regretted not doing?”

First crazy thing I did was I cut my hair. It was like I was struck with an insane urge. I had to do it. I’d read once that in some cultures, cutting your hair is a spiritual cleansing and a beginning of a rebirth. I have to admit, doing that did have an effect on me: Annoyance. It was very cute, but it was a bitch to keep styled.

Well at least I didn’t get a sports car.

I thought about the fact that I had never released a record of my own. Oh, sure, I’d done a lot of recording. But when I’m 99 years and 364 days old, would I be sad that I didn’t have a record? And my answer was yes, I would be sad. So I released an album, “dig this,” in 2006—an anthology of never-released material. For good measure, I put a band together and played a few gigs. And I’m very happy I did that.

Since then, my hair’s grown out again (thank God), I lost 40 pounds (boy so THAT was a weight off my ass!) and I started working out. I’m in the best shape of my life. My goal is to be able to do at least one chin-up someday. Maybe I’ll end up some kind of geriatric body builder or something, who knows?

I started making a “Bucket List” and checking things off.

Sometimes when I tell people about my “Bucket List” they say that’s for people who are going to die.

But an emergency room nurse told me once, “Statistics show that 100% of us are going to die.”

Thank God I wasn’t in the emergency room when she told me that.

When I was 26, I went on the road to Australia with my boyfriend as part of his band. It was a crazy trip. A lot of stories there, some scandalous, but this is not the place for it. I’ll have to write that in my memoir. Which is on my Bucket List.

I loved Australia and always wanted to go back there. I especially wanted to go back there older and wiser and a lot more sane than I was when I was 26. And I always regretted that I had never seen The Great Barrier Reef. So I put that on my Bucket List.

While I was envisioning going to the Great Barrier Reef someday soon, I joined a writers’ group and started writing an online column about my life, getting a chance to hone my skills for my eventual memoir-writing. See how everything comes together?

Lo and behold, earlier this year, the stars aligned and I was able to join my husband (the former boyfriend) on the road again in Australia. After spending a week with him and the band (with no kids!), and singing with the band—something I didn’t even put on the list but should have—I got on a little plane by myself and went up to Cairns where I caught a boat out to the reef. I took a lot of underwater pictures and checked another one off.

See Alaska and walk on a glacier? Check!

Ride a bicycle in Paris? Check!

Start a new blog? Check!

River raft trip down the Grand Canyon? We did that in July. But John (the boyfriend/husband) broke a rib, so I’m going to have to be careful about dragging him along for some of this stuff.

About a month ago, my sister and I camped out in a parking lot all night somewhere near Boston for a TV show called The Amazing Race. Tried out for a Reality Show? Check!

I don’t have to worry about running out of things  to do because I keep adding to the list. I’d like to go swing a hammer somewhere, building houses for some people that need it. Anywhere in the world will do.

Also on the list: Sing the National Anthem at a professional baseball game and ride a bicycle to The Great Wall of China. I’m on a roll. I think all I have to do is envision it and when the time is right, the path to it will show itself.

I mean, after all, I’m only 56. Got another 44 years to go, right?

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