Community Voices

When the movie “The Bucket List,” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, began showing in theaters, people quickly responded to the narrative by creating their own bucket lists, to-do lists of all the experiences they wanted to have before they die.

Whether you saw the movie or not, since that time, references to bucket lists have become woven into daily conversations about dreams and goals. In my opinion, having and sharing a bucket list makes a dream much more realistic. I’ve never written it down, but I certainly do have my own mental list of all the things I want to do while I’m able.

One dream for me that fits into my budget-friendly mental list is to learn more about growing things. I love, love, love spending time specifically with green and growing things like trees, native flowers, yard and garden annuals and perennials, even weeds. So much so that I’ve always thought, as I inch toward retirement, that I would love to be an expert in all things yard and garden.

There’s a program for that from the University of Minnesota Extension, and there’s probably a couple apps for that, too. And while I’d love to jump on board and achieve mastery at the level offered by the university, that seems like a big, lofty goal considering where I am today with my current knowledge.

I kept my mental goal, mulling it over each growing season, and I wasn’t gaining ground on this dream. It is quite possible that I was waiting for this sign from somewhere to tell me, Now, do it now.

Armed with my small bit of knowledge, earlier this spring I turned off County Road 42 into one of the local garden centers. The sign was there. I drove past it at least four times before pulling into the parking lot. Seasonal Help Wanted! Where else should I go to dive deeper into my passion for all growing things?

This sanctuary of plants was just what I needed to decide if what was on my mental list was a pipe-dream or something I should consider pursuing. My initial goals to becoming a seasonal worker were to, 1) learn more plant names (both scientific and common, good plants and weeds, too) and learn from others (check); 2) get a work out (check); and 3) determine if I really, really wanted to pursue more horticultural knowledge in the future and achieve mastery (check).

Sure, accessing an app or a couple Facebook specialty garden groups might have been easier than taking a seasonal job to help me accomplish my priority. However, I am beyond grateful that the sign I needed was literally a mile away from my home. I am proud I recognized the sign as something more and at the same time engaged with local people to help me achieve a small portion of my mental list.

What’s on your bucket list? What passions have you put off until you have more time, money, or energy? What signs — family, friends, acquaintances — are with you on this path that can open possibilities? In the movie, the billionaire Jack Nicholson character meets the mechanic Morgan Freeman character, and together they go after their lists. Who is it that you may not have met yet who can help you reach the destination?

Jessica Lamker has lived in Savage for more than 20 years.


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