This morning, my eight year old daughter told me she needed to write a bucket list. After I got over being stunned that she even knows what a bucket list is, I asked her why she felt she needed one.
“The end of the world is coming on 12/21/21. There are a lot of things I need to get done before then,” she said, very seriously.
I am proud that I didn’t laugh. I tried hard to look pensive, considering her words for a minute, careful to answer in a way that didn’t dismiss her feelings or statement. “Yes, I can see where you’d have a lot to do if the world was ending then.” Boy, that Mayan calendar really has her concerned. “Are you afraid?” I asked.
“No, just worried that I won’t get everything done in time,” she said.
“Like what?” I asked, really curious about the contents of her bucket list.
Without missing a beat, Natalie rattled off the items that she needed to get done before the world ends at the end of this year. She’d clearly given this some thought:
Go to Stanford. (I told her she wasn’t old enough to go to college yet. She amended her statement and said, “Go to a summer program at Stanford.”)
Get married. (Again, I reminded her of that age thing…she shot back, “Fine, a crush…”)
See Paris, tour China, and eat pizza in Italy. (I told her those were all great, but that I wasn’t sure we’d have time to fit all that in over summer vacation.)
Go on a shopping spree. (I cringed a little at the materialism, but then figured, hey, shouldn’t she have one visit to the mall where the sky’s the limit? I mean, if the end of the world is coming, why not go out looking one’s very best ? I did remind her that if for some reason, the Mayan’s prediction didn’t come true, those bills would have to be paid. She said she’d worry about that later.)
Adopt 3 more dogs and 6 children. (I started to tell her that she was too young to adopt children and that we don’t have space for more than one dog, but then I realized I was being a downer and simply told her it was admirable to want to help other people and animals.)
After she’d completed her list, I mentioned that in 2000 everyone worried that chaos would ensue when the clocks flipped over on New Year’s Eve because (as they warned) the computers and other tech devices were not prepared to change from the 1900s to the 2000s – the infamous Y2K. I told her how the media and everyone else talked about the awful things that would happen – all computer data being lost – bank accounts, investments, anything important that was kept on computer; the financial, transportation, and healthcare systems coming to a stop because of their reliance on computers; and prison doors popping open and allowing criminals to roam free because the prisons had computerized security systems. What they pretty much described was the end of the world as we knew it. There was great consternation in some circles. In others, we just backed up our computers and printed out vital documents in case the system went down temporarily. Well, Y2K was a big nothing, I told her. Not a thing bad happened. She considered my story, then said with more confidence than an 8 year old should have, “I want to get these things done…just in case.”
So Natalie is writing her bucket list and planning for our end of the world party on 12/21/12. She asked if we knew any Mayans to invite to the party. I told her I’d work on it.
See you on 12/22/12.