My Half-Assed Bucket List

On the eve of my 24th birthday, a friend from high school (who happens to share my exact same birthday) inspired my first attempt at blogging (she also has a way cooler blog now, visit it here). I believe she listed out 25 things she wanted to complete in the next year, and I decided to borrow the idea and run with it (sorry and thanks Kathy!). So I compiled a list of my twenty five things I wanted to complete in the next year, ranging from staying up all night to watch the sun rise on the beach, to taking a spontaneous road trip with no planning. At the end of the year, I celebrated turning 25 having only checked 11 items off my list. I admit, I felt like a failure. When I began, I had no reservations, and I thought my goals were totally achievable- I almost thought I had made the list too easy. But I lost steam, and I got caught up in other things.

There are two major problems that inherently come with building yourself a bucket list, or setting any major goals for yourself. The first problem, which really isn’t a problem at all, is that people change. People grow, and goals shift, and things that seemed awesome, can sometimes reveal themselves in time to be much less awesome. Who I was at my core did not change, and the people and things I truly loved did not change. But in just one year, my goals for my life had completely changed. I started the year looking for a promotion at my job, and I ended the year in school for a completely different career field. And while the dreams I had always had stayed the same, I was open and willing to try new things. I wasn’t going to stay boxed in at a job that I knew long term wasn’t for me, because I had set a goal of being promoted on my bucket list. I let the old list go in favor of new opportunities.

The second issue with my list was that I had set goals for myself that I was not willing to attempt that day. While long term goals are great, you have to know yourself. A lot of people have a picture of who they would like to be in the future (a movie star! an astronaut!) but they don’t want to take the small steps that lead to those goals (go on an audition! take astronaut-ing classes! yeah i have no idea how you start that second one…) They see themselves taking a big risk one day, but just not today. They don’t see the small risks, and the small choices that lead up to the big goals.

So on that note - I’ve drafted a new bucket list. It’s very simple. It’s just a bunch of stuff I want to do that I might not try if I didn’t go out of my way to try it. A lot of my list is based around travel, and some of my goals are long term, and some are short term. I want to challenge myself to complete 5 things off my list every year, but I also reserve the right to grow, and change, and move things around as I go.

I actually made my first bucket list when I was seventeen, for a school project. One of my items was “go roller blading down the streets of San Francisco.” My younger self wasn’t thinking with the same sense of mortality that I am now. Last month I visited the Bay Area for the first time in my life, and I laughed when I saw the crazy slopes my teenage self would have had me spiraling down. A lot of times when goals change, it’s for a good reason. And who knows, maybe ten years from now, I’ll look at that first list and say, “That sounds like an awesome idea, I’m gonna try it now!” Realistically I probably won’t cross all my items off my list. But I’d rather put the things I do want out there, than let them pass me by.

So here is… My Half-Assed Bucket list. I’m not going to mention this a lot, and I don’t want this blog to be a bucket list blog. But it’s here, and it’s a suggestion of the adventures I would like to see for myself. Dream big, live bigger, no?

 

Happy new day,

- D

PS. This is a draft of my first bucket list ever from when I was 17 that I revisit every now and then. For comparison : )

 

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Happy New Day

Every New Year's Eve, friends, family, and drunk acquaintances gather around and count down the tickings of the clock together to celebrate the passing of time. And when the clock hits midnight, we may kiss, and we may cry, but mostly we look ahead to a new year full of new possibilities. Resolutions are made; some resolve to be kinder, some resolve to be bolder, and everybody joins a gym. New Year celebrations are full of hope and promise, and we treat the strike of midnight as a tabula rasa, reflecting on the year that has past, right before we wipe the slate clean, making way for a fresh start.

The problem with New Year's is, that, for all literal purposes, it's basically just an arbitrary marker that time has gone by. Some Gregorian guy decided that we had to find a way to count time, employed science & math, and made the year begin on a random day. It probably had something to do with crops or religion too, but this meaning has clearly withered in time.

On New Year's Eve 2007, I was hopeful to try to wash away an extremely rough year. There was no one particular reason that it had been rough, just a bunch of little things all piled together. I was half way through my senior year of college and had just found out I would not be graduating on time with my friends and I would have to come back for an extra year. I had falling outs with two of my closest friends. My dad was sick and in the hospital for a few weeks, and my mom hadn't dealt with that well. On top of all that I was going through my first big break up. It generally felt like 2007 was the year that every thing was falling apart. So understandably I was very excited for a new year. But when the new year came, much to my dismay, 2007 did not just wash away. While thing gradually did get better, on January 1st my problems were still there, still present, and still things I had to deal with. I was going to have to see my ex around campus, I was going to have to decided whether to forgive my friends, and I was going to have to work harder and stay an extra year if I wanted to finish college.

During this time I was lucky to have a very good friend, named Susie, who talked me through a lot of these things. We had been friends since high school, and also then were in college together. We were a source of support for each other, (her more for me that year, I'm sure me more for her some years) and I am lucky I had someone like her at that time. Around the spring of 2008, a tradition began. It began first as a celebration of finals month being over. On June 1st she texted me something to the effect of "Summer has begun! Happy new month! Here we go!" Eventfully this became our mantra; after a rough month, rough week, rough day we would count down and look forward.

"Happy new day!" The bad day is over, new one is coming. We can celebrate the future, without wiping away the past. Every day is a chance for hope. Every day is a chance for change. Not every day will be great, or even good, but every day is a chance. Don't wait for New Year's to celebrate. Celebrate the moments and the wins, big or small, as they come. Be present and grateful, and celebrate today.

Happy New Day!

 

 

 - D