cradle list vs bucket list

Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Recently at a social gathering, I reconnected with a former colleague. Three years earlier, my husband and I had been guests at her son’s wedding. It had been a top of the line affair, nothing left to chance, every detail covered. My friend was “only” the mother of the groom but, I was confident she had a hand in planning the reception. Her sense of style and perfectionism was at work in the choice of table settings,linens, chair covers and flower arrangements in the adorning the room where the reception was held. Not only was the whole affair a 10 plus but her son and his new bride were a perfect match.

The newlyweds had dated for approximately three years, developing their relationship before jumping the broom. They were planners, goal setters. So when I asked my friend how they were doing it was no surprise to hear,” wonderful”. She continued, “this May they are going to Europe for two weeks – one of the things on their “cradle list”. I doubt that anyone has not heard the term, “bucket list”, but really now, how familiar are you with the expression, “crade list”? I knew about the new trend to replace wedding gifts with a “honeymoon fund”. The bride and groom contract with a travel agency. They set up an online fund which allows well wishers to donate to the “honeymoon destination”-probably more appreciated than another set of pots and pans! I was unaware of this “cradle list” thing, and my puzzled expression revealed my lack of knowledge. Laughing, my friend explained this new expression. Her son and his wife wanted to travel before they began a family. Travel, world adventures were to be experienced before settling into family life- places to go, a type of wish list was compiling their “cradle list”. Very different from the “bucket list” of their parents, us baby boomers, who opted to begin families, hoping for travel, world adventures once the kids were gone, mortgages paid off,and the last kid through college. Then, if the market held, and our savings flourished, we could begin checking off dreams on our”bucket list”.

I see the advantage of traveling, seeking adventure, diving out of a plane, rafting down the Colorado River before the bones begin to deteriorate, muscles routinely beginning to ache. I can appreciate this young couple’s philosophy. I am sure many others would not, rather commenting, “but who has the money when you are young to travel, play? They should be planning on children, buying a home, retirement, building their 401K”.

We were fortunate during the boomer years. Most of us did have children (2.3), bought a home, saved for the future, looking forward to checking off “wanna dos” on our “bucket list”. We were able to accomplish the basics wants of life- some at a greater level of comfort, but overall, we had access to home ownership, sending our kids to college with the assurance of a comfortable retirement.

Each generation will find differences in life style, monetary accessibility, and employment. Other couples composing this new generation will, like my friend’s son and his wife, find “funding a family” increasingly more expensive. Economists, money managers see housing costs, everything related to having children will escalate: doctors,dentists, college tuition. So maybe this idea of a “cradle list” suits our new couples. I think I am going to rethink birthday gifts, Christmas gifts and contribute to my kids’ “cradle list”!

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