Writer, author, memoir teacher. I write about the connections we find by giving each other the time and space to be heard.

What’s In Your Bucket?

“You’ll hate yourself if you don’t see it.” So said my husband’s cousin Jimmy. He traveled to Florence after law school and visited the magnificent marble sculpture of David by Michelangelo. The iconic larger than life slayer of Goliath is viewed by thousands of tourists every year. When I mentioned my forthcoming trip to Italy with a group of women writers, he admonished me not to miss that one thing.

A 2004 book called How Full Is Your Bucket advocates increasing the positive moments in our lives and reducing the negative, whether through relationships, work or experiences. Tending toward negativity myself, this sounds like just what I needed to do. So when a friend invited me to join her on a two week tour of Italy with a group of women writers, I thought for about 30 seconds before signing up.

Our tour stopped for only five hours in Florence. By the time I had followed our guide from one side of the city to the other, four hours had passed and I was tired. I was just getting over Covid. But still…pictures friends and family had posted with David on Facebook filled my mind. “You’ll hate yourself…”

“How do I get to see David,” I asked our guide.

“It’s back where we started.”

Oh no. And immediately, oh well. Florence was crowded, that warm Saturday. I was just beginning to feel like myself again, and I longed to sip cappuccino and watch the passing scene. Must I hate myself? So many people! Busy shopping streets as crowded as Times Square. I’d be 76 in a week. Do I get to slow down yet? Do I need to check off more items on my bucket list? Do I even have a bucket list? No, not really.

I’ve been everywhere I’ve ever wanted to go and done everything I’ve wanted to do. Do I need to meet cousin Jimmy’s expectations? I’m sure David is beautiful. A wonder. And not to be checked off when I’m tired and cranky, just so I can brag about it later. I know what David looks like. Who hasn’t seen the pictures? Michelangelo was a genius. Our guide explained that he’d studied anatomy as a young artist, that the marble block had been deemed unworkable by others. Those stories fascinate me. Should I ever find myself in Florence again, I’ll look David up. I’ll make the time. But if it never happens, I won’t hate myself. Not for that. My bucket is already full and spilling over. What about yours? What else do you need to keep it full?

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