Your wild and precious life

wild-lifeFor reasons that I can’t entirely explain, I dislike the term bucket list. Why? I’ve already said I can’t entirely explain! Perhaps I just dislike the term “kicking the bucket” that is foundational for said term. Death is not something I am averse to, although I am in no rush to get there!

OK, I just googled “kick the bucket” to check out images, now I can tell you that I now loathe the term bucket list. May it never be mentioned here again.

Let’s go with references to “your wild and precious life.” If you are not familiar with the Mary Oliver poem, The Summer Day, which is the genesis of the phrase, now is a really good time to begin. You can thank me later.

images-1Anyway, what do you plan to do with your wild and precious life? Now that I am 56, I guess I am thinking about this more concretely. When I was young, my list went to infinity and beyond, mostly focused on travel. Nepal. Lake Titicaca. Buenos Aires. Shanghai. Tibet. Dal Lake. New Zealand. Hawaii. Macchu Pichu. Greece. Israel. Camino de Santiago. The Pyramids. Hong Kong. London. Berlin. Petra. Aleppo. Iran. The Grand Canyon. Vancouver. Paris. Santa Fe. Mackinac Island. Quebec City. Bora Bora. Antarctica. Alaska. Carcassone. Cinque Terre. Seattle. The Alhambra.

It's A Beautiful Day!Other things include a masters degree, being published, finding work that mattered, reuniting with Mark. That last one most of all seemed most impossible, yet I sit here in our house typing these words, with Mark in the next room! All of these things have happened, but they are much more than items on a list to be checked off! They are rich gifts, bountiful and dynamic in ways I can barely express to you. What I can say is that gratitude overflows in a rushing stream from my heart daily. Wanting a happy heart – that was there too, another nearly impossible dream, but God is so good, so good.

FranNadineSiq2006As for the travel, I have been richly blessed to travel to many of those places, some of them more than once. There are other places, but how long can one post be? Anyway, travel was something within that drove me and drove me hard. My frequent traveling days are behind me now, and who knows what future travel will bring. But that’s OK, I have traveled and now my life and my precious life plans are different. Travel is big, but it is not nearly at the top like it once was!

Ever more sharply aware of passing years, I know that I have to start crossing things off, and focusing on what I want from this wild and precious life. Paramount to all of my desires are what God wants for me. Good listening skills through prayer and discernment are necessary, and a work in progress.

I will write more about what my wild and precious life desires soon. What will you do with your wild and precious life?

Here’s a song for you, to get you thinking about a wild life.


11 thoughts on “Your wild and precious life

  1. Yep, I can’t stand the expression either. In my case, it’s because I just didn’t like the movie that apparently got people thinking about stuff they should (yes, judgy word) have been thinking about for a while. Moving right along to my list…no travel on mine. Morning prayer is always, “God let me know and do your will for my life.”

    Meanwhile,, since my mid-50s (and I’m so past that!) I’ve believed that anything and everything between now and my death is icing on a fabulous gluten free chocolate cake or gravy on a pile of smashed potatoes.


  2. I cannot stand the phrase because it implies “saving up” our dreams rather than living our dream in the now. And actually isn’t “wild and precious life” from Ita Ford’s letter to her niece before she was killed in El Salvador? It would make sense that Mary Oliver might be familiar with Ita Fords writings….or vice versa even.

    Thanks for this post.


    • Thank you for this comment and for referring to Ita Ford, may her memory forever be a blessing. I googled around and found parts of her letter and did not find the exact quotation, but she certainly urged her niece to live. It would make sense nonetheless about Mary Oliver being familiar, etc.


  3. no bucket list, just wishes- mostly for my family to love and be kind to each other. The one place I wanted to see was granted in 2002 when my late husband and I went for a 3 night, 4 day stay in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was a taste of paradise to me. I would not mind winning the lottery, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Que sera, sera.


  4. Amen. I don’t like the expression, mostly because I try to make every day special, rather than feeling I have to live from big event to big event. If all you do with your life is go bungee jumping a few times, you’ve missed all the quotidian beauty in between.


  5. Thank you for bringing these thoughts to the surface. I love Mary Oliver’s poetry but haven’t thought of her phrase, “Wild and precious life.” For me, wildness implies that my life defies attempts to plan or direct it. I walk, look, listen, and learn, making a conscious choice to recognize the precious and magic in each person and moment. This seems to be the way Mary Oliver has lived her life.


  6. I just commented to my husband this morning, after hearing “bucket list” yet again on the television, of how I couldn’t stand the sound of this phrase! Yet, unlike those words, your words—and your Talking Heads—really made me smile, and sing :). God bless.


  7. “…quotidian beauty…” To me, that’s what Mary Oliver’s poetry is all about, the appreciation of quotidian beauty. She’s my favorite poet. What I want to do with my life is to be truly present for it, for all of it. That’s harder than it sounds, at least for me, but I am completely committed to it. Essentially, I want to be more like my dog. 🙂


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