On Birthdays and Bucket Lists

By Lois Winston

Have you ever noticed the older we get, the swifter the years go by? I can remember walking home from school and bemoaning the fact that summer vacation was still six weeks away. Six weeks seemed like an eternity to eight-year-old me. Now six weeks often flies by at warp speed.

I bring this up because my birthday month is approaching, and I’m wondering how I ever got this old. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I gave birth to my first son? I remember the day as if it were yesterday. Yet now he’s the father of three, the oldest of whom is in his first year of college.

Who knows where the time goes?

Judy Collins once asked that question in a song. I’m asking it a lot lately. Back in the sixties the Boomer Generation suggested no one should trust anyone over thirty. Now we’re confronted by the derisive insult of “OK, Boomer” by the generations that have followed behind us. To paraphrase a quote from another songwriter of my generation, the times they are a-changin’.

Once upon a time birthdays were something we looked forward to—parties, gifts, cake and ice cream! Yea! So many of those birthdays connoted milestones we looked forward to—Sweet Sixteens, getting a driver’s license, voting, ordering that first legal glass of wine. Wishes were often fulfilled on birthdays, the one other day of the year besides Christmas or Hanukkah when you might receive that new bicycle or pair of skates.

Now at this point in our lives, if we want something, we buy it for ourselves. Most of us have too much stuff already. When we moved nearly two years ago, we got rid of those things we hadn’t used in decades. Why on earth did I keep a soup tureen I received for Christmas more than thirty years ago but never used? Does anyone ever use soup tureens? And I haven’t a clue as to the last time I used the fondue pot we received as a wedding gift. 1980-something? Those items and much more wound up at the donation center. Hopefully, someone will put that soup tureen and fondue pot to good use.

Bucket Lists are now more important than soup tureens and fondue pots. Whittling down the Bucket List had taken priority prior to the pandemic. Now we’re once again thinking about venturing out into the world. I still haven’t gotten to Scandinavia or Great Britain, and I really would love to see the Terra Cotta Warriors in China.

What about you? What’s on your Bucket List?

In celebration of my birthday, I’m giving away several promo codes for a free download of the audiobook version of Death by Killer Mop Doll, the second book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series. Post a comment for a chance to win.


USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

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22 replies
  1. Lynn McPherson
    Lynn McPherson says:

    Something fun to think about, Lois. I definitely want to see more of the world. I’ll have to think about it for a bit to narrow down exactly where I’d like to go!!

  2. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    Fondue pots! Lois, you really sparked a memory. I got seven of them as wedding gifts way back when. As for your question, there are so many things on my bucket list, I can’t possibly pick one, except to say that as soon as Book 3 is published, we’re traveling to wherever my very patient husband wants to go.

  3. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    I received multiple fondue pots, coffee pots, and silver trays as wedding presents, too. Lots of fun bucket list items to think about, and wishes for the time and health to pursue them! Happy birthday, Lois!

    • Kathryn Lane
      Kathryn Lane says:

      Debra, you will be amazed by the Terracotta warriors! At least I was. I even brought home a terracotta head from Xi’an. What does one do with a terracotta head? Place it in a large planter with vines all around it!

    • Lois Winston
      Lois Winston says:

      I remember all that lucite, Debra. My aunt’s home was filled with it. The only lucite I remember having is a napkin holder that someone gave me one Christmas.

  4. Kathryn Lane
    Kathryn Lane says:

    Lois, happy birthday! I hope you do get to Xi’an to see the terracotta warriors. I was fascinated by them. I also want to comment on why the years are going by to fast – there’s a huge black hole in our vicinity that is sucking time up all around us! On a serious note, enjoy your bucket list.

  5. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Oh, Lois, we need to plan a girls’s trip. Maybe the Stiletto Gang can rent a van 😉 On my bucket list is the following: Finish a manuscript in less than a year. Clean out those closets filled with items you mention. I saw a meme that said If you’re not using it, get rid of it. You stash it in the closet it stays there forever. We cancelled our Scotland trip during 2020. After Gay posted her blog on The Letter She’s Never Forgotten, I’ve wanted to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam! Maybe our van can have a flotation device!

    • Lois Winston
      Lois Winston says:

      Donnell, here’s a factoid for you: before the Van Gogh museum opened, there was a huge tour of paintings that were going to be shipped to the Netherlands. I saw the show in Phila. when I was in college. It was the first time a museum had issued timed entry tickets because they expected such a huge turnout of visitors. I remember being floored by how many people were at the museum the day I went. I was used to walking around museums in NY and Phila. and hardly bumping into another person! All of a sudden, the general public discovered art.

      I’m all in for a girls’ trip, BTW!

    VIVIENNE K. MUNN says:

    Oh Lois ,
    What a great article. I started a bucket list a few years after my injury. So far, I have accomplished much only need to complete it by visiting two continents.
    Thanks for sharing a delightful article.

  7. Susan Oleksiw
    Susan Oleksiw says:

    Happy Birthday, Lois. Every week I take a few donations to various thrift shops, and give away a few more items to friends. Of course, they’re trying to give things to me. The third act in my life seems to be downsizing. Perhaps it’s time for a story with an overwhelmed declutterer. Great post.

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