Fall To-Do List?


What do you think about the concept of seasonal “bucket lists”? I saw a lot of them over the summer, and I was wondering how often that list—staring you down—turned stressful more than inspirational. Do you make one?

In an article on “bucket lists” (in truth, a slightly different concept), “Psychologist Linda Blair … says chasing big experiences is worthwhile if you enjoy the whole process. ‘Saving up the money, planning it with friends, and then the moment as well. I’m all for that,’ she says. ‘But if you’re constantly living in the future, ignoring what’s going on right now because you’re shooting for goals, which happen so quickly that they’re over, and then you have to chase another one, you’re not really living.'”

And I do sometimes wonder what happens when one doesn’t check something off a list—does that lead to tunnel vision? A lack of spontaneity? One upmanship? Or the worst: Regret?

All that being said, it may surprise you but I find myself leaning favorably toward them.

One thing that seemed particularly special about living back east was the celebration that happened when the season changed—spring in particular—as the shift was so dramatic. But here the seasons are so subtle that I find myself wanting to work a bit harder to really savor them. I started making a list of things I’d like to do this fall—we can call it a could-do list rather than a must-do list, if that helps. So far it includes:

  • Learn to make a great pot of chili
  • Clean out my closet and pull out the cozy sweaters
  • Make grilled cheese sandwiches and hot tomato soup
  • Take a scenic drive where the leaves are brilliant
  • Go camping
  • Host a Chardonnay-tasting party
  • Visit Apple Hill (for apple picking and cider donuts)
  • Bring home pumpkins to decorate
  • Find someone nearby who is growing Concord Grapes
  • Eat plenty of our neighbor’s persimmons
  • Make my mom’s pumpkin delight (my favorite alternative to pumpkin pie)
  • Take holiday card photos
  • Test my recipe for Oktoberfest pretzels
  • Go on a hike and collect leaves with the kids (here are more fall activities one might consider doing with the kids)
  • Take some sunset bike rides before the time changes
  • Watch The Shining
  • Plan our costumes (I love dressing up)
  • Bake root vegetable chips
  • And… it’s in the works… re-design the website!

Then again, I could ditch it all… Time seems to pass so quickly that I find it can be helpful to plan some things, but I’ll have to remind myself not to turn it into a checklist.

What about you? Do you like to think ahead about seasons like this? What are your goals, if so?

P.S. My all-time favorite bit of mockery about getting too serious about that one particular seasonal motif.

[Photo credit Joshua Bucklan/IPOL/New York 1/25/97—and if it were possible, I’d add to find a coat that looks just like that 1997-Prada-coat the late Carolyn Bessette is wearing, out with JFK Jr. and Friday, to any to-do list. It’s always been a favorite.)]

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