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June 21, 2012

Life's Great To-Do List




As I’ve mentioned before, I am a chronic list maker. I make lists of all kinds: grocery lists, packing lists, chore lists and especially to-do lists. I’m not sure if it’s just the sieve-brain that I feel I’ve acquired since becoming a mother but the minute I think of something to do, I have to write it down or I’ll forget it. And if I forget something then the groceries won’t get done, dinner won’t be prepared, that permission slip won’t be signed and the entire house of cards will come crashing down.
Did I mention that I put a lot of pressure on myself?
I also get an extraordinary amount of pleasure from checking things off. It’s a sickness.
But the one thing that I haven’t kept on top of is my “bucket list,” i.e. that list of life’s great to-do’s (get married, have kids, find a cure for cancer, etc.). I have a mental list but it always gets buried under the pile of the more mundane everyday lists. Once in a while, I get to cross things off my bucket list even if things don’t always turn out as planned.
Nearly two years ago, my husband and I went to Paris to celebrate our tenth anniversary and my 40th birthday. It truly was the trip of a lifetime. I had always dreamed of going to Paris, sitting in cafes, soaking up the culture and language and enjoying the food...and exploring the museums, especially the National Museum of Picasso in the Marais District. Forget the Louvre! (I hear it’s a bit overrated anyway, too big to tackle in a day.) I wanted to see Picasso’s personal collection of art in Paris. It was on my list.
Our last full day in Paris, we mapped out our final stops- breakfast on the Sienne, Notre Dame, Marais District, Picasso Museum, lunch in St-Germain-de-Pres, walk to the Eiffel Tour with a stop at Luxembourg Gardens. All went according to plan until we arrived at the entrance of the Picasso museum and found this sign:

The museum had closed a few weeks prior to our arrival for a renovation expected to take up to 3 years! I was devastated but vowed that I’d be back to see the collection when it reopened.
As luck would have it, the touring collection made only one stop in Canada right here in Toronto! Last night I had the pleasure of attending a special event at the AGO with my husband and having a private tour of the exhibit. Given that I couldn't see the collection in Paris, perhaps this was even better. I strolled through the neary-empty rooms, not a crowd in sight, pausing and admiring each piece of work, taking it all in: his sketches, drawing, paintings, sculptures. I was so absorbed in my own experience that I didn’t realize that I was the absolute last one left in the museum and that the security guards were patiently following me and my husband so they could lock the doors behind us. 
Did the exhibit live up to my expectations? Most definitely. And if I couldn’t see it in Paris, having a private tour made up for that in spades.
Life doesn’t always turn out as planned and our bucket list sometimes gets set aside by any number of obstacles that get thrown our way. But with some patience and an eye for opportunity, life has a way of working itself out.
Next on my list: Macchu Pichu!
Image 1 © Lane Erickson | Dreamstime.com
Image 2 courtesy of http://www.indulgedecorblog.com

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