Work on your bucket list – before you kick it.

Most likely you’ve seen books or articles about all the things you should do, all the places you should see, etc., before you die. That choice of words always struck me as a bit morbid. And I am sure my headline today isn’t any better. But there is certainly an element of truth to these words.

Last month, my wife and I took the second of our bucket list trips to America’s great national parks. This time we went to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion, The Arches, Capital Reef, Mesa Verde, and Petrified Forest/Painted Desert National Parks. We were blessed with great weather and magnificent examples of the beauty and splendor of the American Southwest. It was a great trip. My only regret is that we didn’t do it years before.

My wife and I are pushing our mid-seventies. And while we try to stay in shape as best we can, there are tasks that our bodies will no longer allow us to undertake. A simple one-mile trail at 8000 feet above sea level with some degree of uphill climbing can be more than a bit challenging at our age. Not that the rewards aren’t worth the effort! Many of the views we saw were as breath-taking as the hike itself. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the physical capacity to take longer or more strenuous hikes, which would have likely been all the more rewarding.

So, my advice, kind reader, is to make sure you undertake these kinds of adventures sooner rather than later. That is, of course, easier said than done. When one is still working, taking extended time off is not always possible. In our case, we owned a business and there were always obligations that precluded lengthy time away from the office. There were also family activities like taking the kids to their sporting activities and other extracurricular events.

 Still, if your individual situation allows it, I encourage you to start checking off bucket list items rather than putting them off until tomorrow. 

If your bucket list includes items like our great national parks, I will try to share some of the highlights from our trips in later articles. Exotic vacations and travel abroad are rewarding in their own right, but our own national parks are treasures not to be passed by.