A friend was recently gifted a copy of The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small, by Kath Stathers. An outdoor enthusiast, she jumped into it with wild abandon, and excitedly asked me to share some of the things on my own bucket list. Unfortunately (?) I didn’t have one.
If you know anything about me, by now you probably know that I’m not a goal-driven person. So, the idea of having a list of things I feel compelled or driven to do or accomplish before I die has remained foreign to me. I live. I do while I live. That’s my life. I’ve been on a meandering path for as long as I can remember, and I love it more than I can say.
But, it’s December, we’ll blink and 2021 will be over, and for all its craziness, I thought for my last post of this year, I’d at least sit down over coffee to give the idea of a bucket list a think and see what showed up.
90 minutes later, here’s what I had:
Sit at a table of older wise women from which we teach younger women everything we know.
And that was it.
No mountain climbing.
No trek to Africa.
Not even living in Italy, which was once something I mused about doing.
This table thing has been something I’ve wanted for many years. I still have no idea what it really means or how to make it happen, but I believe it will happen. One day.
I wondered briefly if having just one thing was sad, but quickly dismissed the thought with the sure knowledge that I’m living the life I’m happy in. When I want to do something or go somewhere, I mostly do it or go there (or did, before COVID, and hope to again). When I want to have something, I mostly buy it. I am in relationships with people I love and who love me. I have three businesses that allow me to share myself with others. I live and share my truth in life and work.
“It’s enough,” I thought.
Further, it seemed to me that everything about my life is leading me to that place—to that table with the other women. Just so. Over time. Without push, or driving goals.
So, I put down my pen, and walked away from the exercise to get ready for our end-of-year celebration in the AssistU community.
This morning, as soon as I woke up, I instantly knew it truly is enough to love my life and be happy. I didn’t need goals, or mountains to climb before I die. What I have is plenty.
Then, again over coffee, another thought came to me. I realized that a bucket list—at least my bucket list—doesn’t have to be about things I haven’t done that I want to be sure to do before I die. It can absolutely be about things I already do that I want to be sure I carry with me until I take my last breath.
With that in mind, I put pen to paper again, and this is what showed up:
- Love everyone, and yourself most of all. We are all perfectly imperfect.
- Leave everyone and everything more cared for than before you arrived. ”Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.” ―Rumi
- Reach out for help whenever needed; it makes you stronger, not weaker.
- Live your life your way. Let it speak; notice who listens.
- If you think it, give voice to that thought without censoring. Someone who hears it needs it.
- Be neither victim nor martyr.
- Have faith; as Oscar Hammerstein wrote for Cinderella, “Impossible things are happening every day.”
- Whenever there are two options, choose the third; that’s where the magic is.
- Have fun exploring what catches your attention. You can always stop if it turns out you don’t find it intriguing.
- Make more tries, without concern for how they turn out.
- Forgive, knowing that people always do the best they can with what they have.
- Notice every-day sweetnesses.
- Tell the truth according to you. Honor the truth of others as being as true as your own.
- There’s always tomorrow to get stuff done. And if there isn’t, it won’t matter, anyway.
- Now matters most. Miss it; miss your life.
- Never sacrifice one thing for another. If you feel you need to, it means something’s out of balance. Fix that, fast.
- Know who the most important people in your life are. Say yes to them as often as possible.
- Consider others in all your decisions.
- When something goes wrong, look for the hole in the process; fix it, then learn from it. If you have to learn something again you never learned it to begin with.
- Get the messages that are meant for you.
- Watch for the table of wise older women. Join them when you find them.
None of those are new to me. If you’ve been around for more than a minute, you probably recognize some of them. They’re bits and pieces of things I’ve felt moved by over the years. But this is the first time they’ve just sort of rolled out of me like they’d been in the hallway waiting for me to open the door and invite them in.
Just as quickly, the flow stopped. There were 21 of them. Three is a sacred number to me. It’s meaningful to me that the sum of 21 is 3, and that 21 is divisible by 3. The list was meant to stop there.
This list is what I’m taking with me as 2021 ends and 2022 begins. The one resonating with me most right now is the concept of making more “tries.” I’m not (or maybe I should say that I haven’t been in the past) much of a “try-er.” I have been far too attached to being successful at that which I do, and when I try something new and don’t see success fairly quickly, I walk away from the thing. Maybe that is trying. But I think I’ll explore that more, too, and try things without attachment to the outcome or “success” rate. That has to be far more fun, I think.
In fact, maybe “try” will be my word for 2022. Don’t quote me on that, as it’s not set in stone. We’ll see.
How about you? Do you have a bucket list? A word for 2022? A theme? I’d love to hear about it in comments.
As we close out this year here at AssistU and prepare to ring in the new one with a new cohort, from my heart to yours, I wish you and those you love the happiest year-end holidays, and the merriest New Year!