My life so far: a different kind of bucket list

This week I was thinking about bucket lists, lists for life, and while I was putting my own together it occurred to me that I probably have an enormous “already accomplished” list. Despite my lack of an overly stamped passport or nuanced social media feed, my 32 years have not been without adventure and accomplishment. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that, so here are the highlights, in list form because that’s how I roll.

Travel

  • Visit 41 states (another on the agenda for later this year)
  • Visit 14 National Parks (two more on the docket for this year)
  • Go on a cruise
  • Drive all the way across the country
  • Swim in the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans
  • Walk the Golden Gate bridge
  • Visit Niagara Falls
  • Solo long-distance road trip (a bunch, not a big deal)
  • Multi-day motorcycle trip

Adventure

  • Ride on a mechanical bull
  • Earn SCUBA certification
  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Visit an active volcano (Hawaii’s Kilauea)
  • Scuba dive in an ancient collapsed volcano/caldera
  • Go snowmobiling
  • Go snow shoeing
  • Go snow skiing
  • Go water skiing
  • Stay in a yurt
  • Climb a mountain (several, big ones)
  • Go rock climbing
  • Eat escargot / oysters / bison / alligator / ostrich
  • White water rafting
  • Fish in the ocean (with actual octopus as bait, ew)
  • Geocaching
  • Sail on Lake Michigan
  • Learn to handle and shoot a gun
  • Do a somersault / cartwheel / back flip / front flip
  • Attend a Holi Festival of Colors celebration (the largest in the Western Hemisphere, btw)
  • Run a 5k / 10k

Spiritual Enlightenment

  • Make a religious pilgrimage
  • Read the Old Testament
  • Read the New Testament
  • Read the Koran
  • Read The Book of Mormon
  • Forgive those who have deeply hurt me
  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter
  • Donate money to charity
  • Befriend a stranger (Hi, strangers!)
  • Buy a meal anonymously for someone

Personal Growth & Continuing Education

  • Fall in love
  • Elope (tell no one for months)
  • Be a mentor to someone
  • Learn to read music
  • Learn to play the piano (since I was 5ish, I can sight read most things)
  • Learn how to operate a DSLR camera, not in “manual” mode
  • Learn how to paint with oils
  • Read classic works in literature and politics
  • Speak in public to a crowd
  • Impromptu public speaking
  • Act in a play
  • Direct a play
  • Participate in community theater (as an actor and as a director)
  • Receive a standing ovation (not necessarily related to any of the above)
  • Volunteer with teenagers
  • Be interviewed by a major news station regarding something I’m passionate about (ages 12 and 31)
  • Learn to play chess
  • Learn American Sign Language
  • Learn to knit / crochet / sew
  • Read a jillion books on a thousand subjects

Life Things

  • Meet someone famous (Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman–he called me a sweetheart!!–Chris Noth, Robert Redford)
  • Have the Bare Naked Ladies sing me “Happy Birthday” (age 19, woot!)
  • Attend a live Olympic event (Salt Lake, 2002)
  • Volunteer at the Olympics (Salt Lake, 2002)
  • Try eating vegetarian for an extended period of time (meh)
  • Gamble in Vegas (I won like $3.75)
  • Play the lottery (didn’t win anything)
  • Grow vegetables in a garden
  • Attend a major rivalry sporting event (meh)
  • Take ballroom dancing lessons
  • Bonfire on the beach / in the desert
  • Sleep on a trampoline
  • Keep a plant alive for more than a year
  • Ride a horse in the mountains
  • Watch the sunrise / sunset
  • Walk in the rain
  • Run on a beach barefoot
  • Go to a movie / dinner by yourself
  • Witness a solar / lunar eclipse
  • Sleep under the stars
  • Box seats at a sporting event (it’s the only way to attend a sporting event, really)
  • Season tickets to the symphony (not always, but once)
  • Attend a professional Broadway show (many, many times)
  • Make a gingerbread house from scratch (no hot glue, no graham crackers, no kit)
  • Pay off student loan

Sometimes it’s easy to think that you have missed out on X, Y, or Z. I find this especially the case after looking at some kind of social media where a friend, acquaintance, or total stranger has part of the life I thought I always wanted. It’s easy to forget that someone’s travel photos, or pics of their darling (clean, happy) children, or a status about a major adventure is not their entire life. They all have the hard, rotten days as well. And it’s also sometimes easy to forget that your experiences that did not make it onto social media for comments and hearts are also valid and worthwhile and have shaped who you are as a person.

What is on your Already Completed Bucket List? What are some of the best experiences of your life? What days are seared into your brain, what months and years changed the trajectory of your life or reshaped a goal or direction?

Harriet sig

 

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8 thoughts on “My life so far: a different kind of bucket list

  1. I love the idea of an already completed list! I definitely get caught up in the “everyone has cooler lives than me” fun of social media and often forget that I have done so much! I need to make my life so far bucket list!

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  2. I am a big fan of planning ahead, but mostly of seeing what you’ve already accomplished and had the good fortune to do. Quite an impressive list, indeed!

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  3. Oh, this is a great list! I should try making one like this too. It’s an awesome one. In just thinking about how I’d like to answer your question I realized how hard it must have been for you to make this list. I’m having a lot of trouble thinking of my stuff. But my first instinct is all very international… speaking French fluently, speaking bits and pieces of Wolof and German, living abroad on two different continents, visiting lots of different countries, and… particularly the international bent of my own immediate family, having a foreign husband and raising bilingual, multicultural kids. Not necessarily stuff I could have envisioned for myself when I was younger. Every now and then I take a step back and look at my own life and feel like, wow, is this really me? In the best possible way.

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    1. I can think of a couple of things about you that I think are awesome: planned the most gorgeous wedding day, raise a delightful puppy, have and continue to raise two kiddos (parenthood, yo!), Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree (have one? In progress? I can’t remember). I think people’s bucket lists look so very different, and frankly, I think they *should* look different, my life so far has had a lot of adventure in it, but I live in Adventure Central and have a lot of friends and family who are equally outdoorsy. I think there are a grillion things I’m missing, so it was nice to look back and list the things I have done, ya know? (Honestly, googling “what’s on a bucket list” helped me a lot. It’s fascinating to think that some bucket list item on someone else’s list (going camping, hiking a mountain, getting SCUBA certified, reading “Anna Karenina”, whatever) are things I’ve had crossed off for ages. Priorities, ya know, they are different for all of us (thank heavens!).

      xox

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