Sunday, May 2, 2010

Topic Of The Week: Revisiting the Bucket List

About 10 years ago I sat down and wrote out a "Top 10 Things to Do Before I Die" list. I actually started checking things off over those first few years, but somewhere during that time the list got lost, the children came along (check), and I stopped focusing on the items that I had put down as future goals and incentives and instead just returned to making my way through life. I've been thinking about that list a lot lately. Call it a mid-life crisis, turning 40, or just inner-reflection. I've had many opportunities to think about my life and the direction that it is going. I am blessed with a career that exposes me to people who are faced with their mortality due to sometimes seemingly insurmountable battles with cancer. I have learned so much from them as they immediately prioritize their lives and maximize every moment that they have. I have lost some dear friends and family members over the last decade that have given me pause about how I live my own life. I have watched as their spouses and families pick up the pieces after they are gone. I have watched how the loss of a loved one changes those that are left - and they begin to make every moment memorable. I wonder:  Do I cherish every moment? Do I live life to the fullest? The one thing I would hope people would say about me when I do depart this world is "she never took a minute for granted and she lived every day as if it were her last." If there is one thing I hope my kids learn from me is that they should not be afraid to follow their dreams, to take risks, and to get out and explore and experience the adventure called life.

Sometimes I find that things are more likely to be undertaken and achieved if they are put out there for the world to see. With this thought in mind, I give to you my new Bucket List. I expect to add and delete occasionally as my interests change over time. For the sake of showing progress I am including past Bucket items that have already been achieved (in blue).

  1. Write and publish a book.
  2. Remain happily married to the same man (ongoing).
  3. Have children (took a while and did it a different way, but same outcome... headache)
  4. Skydive.
  5. Obtain the rank of Black Belt in a martial art.
  6. Officially complete a Half-Ironman.
  7. Officially complete a Full-Ironman.
  8. Go to Kona and watch the Ironman Championship.
  9. Get a cool tattoo I design myself to symbolize #7.
  10. Own a black Jeep Wrangler that I can put my road bike on the back of!
  11. Own a convertible.
  12. Run a half-marathon.
  13. Run a full marathon.
  14. Learn to sail.
  15. Make a significant, life-changing difference in someone's life.
  16. Learn to ride a horse.
  17. Go on a mission trip in a foreign country.
  18. Get backstage passes to a Joan Jett concert.
  19. Speak fluent Spanish.
  20. Travel outside of the U.S.
  21. Open my own business.
  22. Find my biological family.
  23. Climb a mountain and watch the sunset with friends.
  24. Save someone's life; respond to an emergency situation.
  25. Watch a baby being born (got to watch my daughter's birth).
Sometimes I wonder if it is selfish to list out the things I would like to do in life, but then I think "what's the alternative?". I am a writer, a thinker, and an analyzer. If I don't write it down, it's likely never to get another thought. If I write it down it becomes real and tangible. Obtainable. The alternative? Never chasing my dreams, being content with the drudgery of daily life, never taking a risk, never pushing to see just where my boundaries and abilities lie. Why is this important to me? I have no idea. I've always been this way. I have always focused on being an "achiever". I used to be afraid that it was tied into my self-worth and esteem, but as I get older I really think I focus on achieving mostly because I like the challenge to see what I can do. I like obstacles because they give me an opportunity to test myself, see what I'm made of, and push the envelope. I think life would be so boring if it was just mundane and easy. That would be my hell.

For those that are reading this and are willing to share, post up some of your Bucket List items. I would love to know if anyone else has physically written or mentally written out a list...

1 comment:

  1. Are you kidding? I'm a constant list maker ( My list is a couple of years old, so I have checked off some things and need to add others. Janie, I am learning a lot of things that we have in common that I never knew--too sad to figure that out after I moved away. Looking forward to reading out you checking things off of your list.