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Columnist: Skip resolutions, get a bucket

Lynn Walker Gendusa

Contributing columnist

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All my family has left the building. All gone home to Florida and Colorado to start another year. All thinking about needing to lose the cookie weight, packing up Christmas and going back to work and school. Some will make resolutions. I will declare I will not cry next time they leave, but I always do.

In reality, most resolutions are not long lasting. Just go to the gym and see how many folks are there Jan. 4 and then check again on March 4. Where did all those resolute people go?

There just might be a solution through an amazing, surreal story of my own. My hope would be for you to buy a bucket, or get one out of the garage. It can be tiny, or it’s handle can even be missing. It does not matter. But, what does matter is that it can be used for nothing else. It is your bucket with your name on it.

In July, my friend Ricki was preparing to turn another significant year older. She was not handling it well. The normally vivacious Ricki was somber and quiet. So unlike her, that two other friends and myself decided to give her a surprise birthday party.

Since the day I met her 10 years ago she has always had a “Bucket List.” A journey to there, to read this or that, to volunteer, or to get better at golf. Once she retired from being a school counselor, the buckets just kept getting stacked up because, by gosh, she was emptying them. Amazing!

Personally, I never had a bucket list. Most of my life was spent working and supporting my children. Being a single mother, my dreams were simply putting food on the table and paying the bills. If I got through the month without a big scare, I was a happy person.

When I met Ricki I had just married after 20 years on my own. My children were grown and educated. I had figured that as long as my kids got an education and were safe, that anything after that was just gravy.

I never had to worry about the next meal once I was married. However, I continued with my career and hard work. Not once did I not pull my share or take it all for granted. The humbling years prior to marriage were ingrained in my soul and I never will lose them. They made me strong, resilient and turned my faith into a pillar of courage.

I retired as an interior designer this past year. I had a great career and great clients that I loved. God gave me that career on a platter and I know it. Appreciation for the clients, God and a husband that supported me is beyond measure.

I was winding down my career at the time of Ricki’s party. We decided to decorate her party with pink buckets. They hung from ribbons on the chandelier in the dining room and over the island in the kitchen. Buckets were used for utensils and napkins. To say she was surprised and her spirit lifted was an understatement!

After we had dinner we settled down to play a funny, made up game. When all the ladies arrived we instructed them to write down an item on their own personal bucket list, not sign their name and then throw them in the pink bucket in the foyer.

I would pull the slips of paper, read what was written and then we all had to guess who the wish belonged to. Some were so funny that it brought howls of laughter. Some were serious and many were about taking trips to far away dreams.

About halfway through I realized I had not written my own. I grabbed a piece of paper, started to write one thing, quickly changed it and threw it into the bucket.

It was my very first bucket list item in my life.

Long ago, as a college freshman, I started to write. A professor begged me to change my major and go into journalism. Of course, I didn’t listen. For the next 40 years somewhere in my soul was this nagging or longing to be able to write.

I would submit an article occasionally, and to my surprise, it would be published. But, because I had to put food on the table, writing was always on the back burner waiting for a day to come to a boil.

Around the time of Ricki’s party, I would go to bed and every night I would feel this nagging to get up and write a story about my wonderful high school class. One night, I promised God I would. I did, sent it to the LaGrange Daily News, and to my surprise they published it.

In October, I became a columnist for this paper.

My bucket list item, written in July, … “I would like to be a newspaper columnist.”

Something ingrained in the recesses of my mind made me quickly put that dream on paper. I threw it in a bright pink bucket and now I am telling you about it.

This Jan. 1, dig deep into your soul that God built and find His bucket list item for you. It is there. Write it down and put it in your own bucket, and you might be surprised at how one day it will be emptied.

Sometimes we lose resolutions, but God’s will for us is always there to be found.

May you find yours in 2016. Happy New Year!

Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former LaGrange resident who currently resides in Roswell.