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Ireland, I am coming home.  I can see the rolling hills of green and fences made of stone. I am reaching out, won’t you take my hand. I’m coming home.. Ireland… Garth Brooks

I had a blinding revelation the other day.  I realised that unless I live to be 102, there is now, officially, more time behind me than ahead of me.  Now I’m not upset about that because I intend to live to at least 101 but it got me thinking.  What REALLY matters?  What do I want to do with this half of my life that I will regret on my death bed if I don’t do? What will make me feel complete? Time to update the bucket list!

I’m not that keen on it being called a bucket list, because I’m a bit worried that the universe may keep me at my word and make me kick the bucket once I’ve completed everything, so I’d prefer to call it my soul cravings….. either that or build a list so long I have no hope of ever completing it.  Anyway, the most important thing on any list is to go to Ireland.

My grandmother,  Gargie was born in Limerick, left Ireland as a WW1 bride and never returned.  She was reasonably advanced in age when I was young, so probably had more time to ramble on about life in general. (and you wonder where I get it from) She would regale me with stories of the Emerald Isle.  I grew up listening to the magnificent voice of Ruby Murray singing the songs of her home country.  Molly Malone (Cockles & Mussels) was the first song I ever performed in public. She taught me both verses of Danny Boy.  She called an apron a pinny.  She made me promise to go home to Eire for her.  She told me I didn’t have to kiss the Blarney Stone as I already had the gift of the gab (and who do I take after hmmm?)  She planted a seed in my soul that has grown ever stronger as the years have passed until now it is a yearning.

My soul is crying to go home to a land I’ve never seen.  It sounds crazy but I don’t feel my life will ever be complete until I’ve set foot on Irish soil.  Until I’ve walked the streets of Limerick as she did.  Until I’ve dipped my toes into the Liffey River and feel what she felt.  Until I’ve seen the forty shades of green and the fishing boats at Dingle.  Until I’ve sat in an Irish Pub, listening to the magnificent storytellers that are Irish singers.  Until I’ve stood next to Molly Malone’s statue in Dublin and told her how much she means to me.  Mostly, until I’ve fulfilled my promise to Gargie to return home.   I can’t imagine how it would feel to leave your homeland and never be able to return.  I have to keep my promise to her.

Thats number One.. definitely.  Number Two on my list can be done on the same trip.  I’ve always wanted to attend a Remembrance Day or ANZAC Day ceremony in France to honor her husband, my grandfather who died when my mum was only 12.  So as long as I get the right time of year to go, I can attend a commemorative service, see the places in Paris I’ve always wanted to see (number 3 on the list) and then take a ferry over to Ireland and begin my journey in her homeland.

Since I’ll be able to climb the Eiffel Tower, see the Arc de Triomphe, The Louvre and of course the Mona Lisa at the same time  as I complete number 2, my number 3 is already dealt with.. So onto number 4.. Write a book.. I’m in the process of that now, but it’s much harder work than I thought it would be.  Maybe I’ll practise on a fiction instead of real life.. Reliving and facing your own realities is more difficult than I ever imagined it to be.. Yes, maybe a fiction to start with will do the trick.

Number  5.. I want to walk part of the Great Wall of China.. Not all of it.. I’m way too fat and unfit for that.. But certainly, walk a part of it.  It’s always fascinated me.   Number 6 & 7 are on our own shoreline.. and they are to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge and to at least see Ayers Rock (Uluru) though climbing it would be the better option.

Number 8.. To see Judith Durham and the Seekers perform live.  Her voice is a huge part of the soundtrack of my childhood.  Number 9.. To ask the legendary singer/songwriter Paul Simon, exactly what he and Julio were doing down by the schoolyard.

Number 10.. To visit America and spend some time with my cousin Deb and my friends in Atlanta, Mark and Wendy and their partners. I have made some new friends in the States who I have yet to meet but would love to.. and maybe a trip over to Canada to meet a few others who I’ve never met yet consider to be my friends.  Of course, in that trip, I would love to celebrate my daughter in Heaven’s birthday at Disneyland, the corporation she wanted to work for.

Number 11.. To do a musical tour where I sing all the great hits from favorite movies on location.. To stand on the same mountain as Julie Andrews and make the hills come alive with my own sound of music.  And to walk along the streets of Bath singing Who Will Buy from the famous scene in Oliver.  Funnily enough, I have no real desire to stand on the Berlin Wall and copy David Hasselhoff so it’s probably a good thing I won’t get that opportunity.

The list could go on forever.  And of course, there are the ones I don’t even have to write down.. They are part of my future for sure.. Becoming a grandma and cradling my babies babies in my arms. Singing to them.. hearing them call me Gargie (the name I’ll take in honor of my beloved grandmother).. Watching my sons grow older and live happy, fulfilled lives.  I have decided these things are just going to be .. I won’t accept less from the Universe.

Some things I’ve already done.. I’ve sung on stage at the Sydney Opera House.  My nieces partner worked there and took me on a tour.. He left me for a few minutes on stage while he went to fix something.. I took the opportunity to sing while I had it to myself.  Okay, no one was watching (I don’t think) but I still did it.

I have met my penfriend Lena from Sweden, who I started writing to when we were both12.  Last Christmas she came here with her family for a holiday and we were honored to have them at our house for Christmas dinner.  What a fantastic day that was.  And another of the things I’d already written on my list.

I’ve seen some of the greatest performers who have ever graced our world, live on stage.  They include Leonard Cohen, John Farnham, Chuck Berry, The Everley Brothers, Don McLean, Dr Hook, Noel Paul Stookey (Paul from Peter, Paul and Mary), Carole King, Simon and Garfunkel and my teenage crush, James Taylor (and he’s still gorgeous after all these years) I’ve seen so many more but I can’t think of them all right now.

I’ve been blessed to have experienced new life take it’s first breath when my 3 beautiful babies were born and completely privileged to hold my Mum in my arms while she took her last breath.  And let me tell you, that was an honor.

I’ve seen lots of Australia though would still love to see more.  I’ve had leading roles in a few plays and damn that was fantastic.  Who doesn’t love applause? I’ve lived so much of my list already.  My life has been full and very, very blessed.

Now as I am in my second, half century, it’s time to do all the things I wanted to do but didn’t have the time or resources to do.   I still can’t afford to but somehow I will make them happen if I have to live to 130 to achieve them all.  Life is meant to be lived, not just survived.

What’s on your list? How can you make them a reality? I’d love to hear what other people want to do.. I may want to pinch some off your list.

Happy listing….. Livvy  🙂

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