Let me just start off by saying “The Bucket List” is not a very original title for this post, but you will soon see that “writing consistently witty blog titles” is not on my bucket list. Give a girl a break. 😉
Over the past month or so, it seems that the concept of a “bucket list” has come up in multiple conversations with various people in my life. One conversation involved me stating something was a “bucket list” item for me, and another involved a discussion of the fifth item on people’s bucket lists. A recent blog prompt from WordPress was about your own bucket list items, and all of these things combined really had me thinking about the whole bucket list thing- mainly, the fact that I don’t have one. Yeah, I just mentioned a “something” that was a bucket list item (I’ll get to that), but I really don’t have a true list of things I want to do or accomplish before I die. If I only have one something I can think of offhand, then I certainly can’t tell you what sits in fifth place on that list.
After some thought, I decided I wanted to write a bucket list, but I hesitated once again. Bucket lists seem to me to be filled with things like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or swimming in a cage in a shark tank or running a marathon on every continent. In my world, those are not bucket list items. Those are items on the list called “things ain’t nobody got time for.” If a bucket list is supposed to be filled with grandiose adventures and swimming with poisonous creatures in a dark cavern then you can forget it. I’m good. Fill my bucket up with treasures and tales from my sweet, little East Tennessee home, please, because I have no desire to end the quest of the bucket list by falling into a crocodile’s mouth as I zipline through the Amazon jungle. Ya’ll! Who are you people that like to do these things?! I think you’re weird. Really, I do. But ya’ll go have your fun. Your international expeditions leave more okra for me at Sunday dinner. Anyway, like I said, in my mind, my life and the things I enjoy don’t fit what I view as the stereotypical bucket list. I am just not adventurous, and I never will be. I thought and thought about it, and I decided a bucket list doesn’t have to be about wild expeditions and daredevil tales, but I just couldn’t get started writing one. I came home from school today wanting to write, though, and I decided on this topic. So, here it is, my (stream of conciousness) bucket list.
1. Write and publish a children’s book- I love kids. I love children’s books. I love to tell a good story. I have to do this. I know I can do this. I think about it often…just waiting for the right idea, the right character, the right something to get me going. I could totally see myself writing about my adventures with Riley-dog, because there is always a story to tell there especially now with little sister Lizzy in the picture. This is a bucket list item that really matters to me. All my momma and teacher friends need to be looking for me in your kids’ Scholastic book orders someday. I’m going to be famous. I can feel it!
2. Get a PhD- This is the “something” I mentioned earlier that would be on my bucket list for sure. I really like to learn about things that interest me. I LOVED college as an undergrad. I loved intellectual discussion and research and writing. Really, I did. Total dork. Grad school was a little harder for me to enjoy, because I was teaching full-time and early in my career to boot, and it was a lot to juggle, but I loved learning enough that I missed the enjoyable learning experiences I had as an undergrad. I hope to someday be in a financial position which would allow me to take some time off work to focus solely on a doctoral program in either education or child and family studies. I would love to take my work and research and learning and just own it and open up brand new opportunities in my life. I know myself well enough to know I wouldn’t balance a full time job and an intense program like that very well, but someday, this is my goal. I have been so blessed with outstanding learning opportunities both in my own education and in my career, and I hope I never lose my lust for learning. Plus, I could insist everyone call me “Dr.” 😉 Even better, I could say, “Trust me, I’m a doctor.” (BAH! Ya’ll knew that bad joke was coming!)
3. Run a marathon- Just one. Not some crazy one with some crazy theme or as part of some crazy continental challenge. Just one, 26.2 mile race. All I need to satisfy me is one marathon in a respectable time (I would die if Mickey had to escort me off the Disney course, because I was so slow). I really like to eat, so training would be a really good excuse. Doritos count as carbo-loading, right? Oh, I am supposed to eat healthy while I train for a marathon? Ok, maybe we should scratch this one off the list. KIDDING! Cheyenne, you better have my back on this! Just maybe not November 2014! 😉
4. Meet Richard Simmons. No, really. I have to meet him! I HAVE to! I love, love, love him. Go back to my Valentine’s Day post to read why, or just google pics of Richard Simmons, and surely you will see and understand why I have to have him as part of my life for even just two minutes. I mean, I don’t want to get arrested for stalking or anything, but I am not opposed to hanging out outside his gym in LA every day for the rest of my life until I get a picture with him. Is that a little dramatic? Maybe? Richard is a little dramatic. I think he’d be ok with it.
5. **The famous afore mentioned FIFTH item on my bucket list**: Have a family. Aw, I know. A softy one after a silly one. (Keep in mind I said this was a stream of conciousness bucket list…so these aren’t ranked in order of importance.) I want a family of my own. Don’t get me wrong. I love my parents and friends, and I adore my fur-babies and consider them my children, but…I want baby babies. I’ve always wanted kids, and that will never change. Adoption, surrogacy, stepchildren, my own flesh and blood, I don’t care. I would love them all just the same. I have devoted my life to kids as a teacher, and even if I don’t teach forever, I know in my heart of hearts that I will always work with children. I love kids too much, even when they make me bonkers, to stray from a life that serves them. Just like I know I will always work with kids, I know I will always want to be someone’s Mommy. A Daddy to go along with me as Mommy would be great, and I hope and pray every day that happens for me too, but in the end, above all else, I want babies to call my own. Geez, did it just get dusty in here?
6. To be more at peace with and less afraid of death- This is a weird bucket list item, and it’s a hard one for me, because having weird fears and lingering questions about death really makes me question my faith and makes me feel at times like I am not the Christian I should be. I know, I know, I’m human, and we falter and wonder and will always have questions and fears about the unknowns of life, but I just really hate those moments when I let the voice of my fears talk louder than the voice of my faith.
7. Be a Radio City Rockette- In a conversation amongst strangers at a training I once attended, the group leader asked everyone to share what they would want to accomplish if they could only do one thing for the rest of their lives. The responses ran the gamut from “climb Mt. Everest” to “cure cancer” to “end world hunger.” Until it got to me, and I boldly replied, “I would become a Radio City Rockette.” I got a lot of “Go home, Barbie” looks, but the group leader slowly broke into a huge smile and said, “I have never heard a response so joyfully honest.” Ok, ok, so this one is more of a pipe dream than a genuine bucket list item, but the Dixie Chicks said it best, “Some days you gotta dance.”
8. Make a difference- I’m a teacher. I know in the smallest and largest of ways I make a difference every day, but it never feels like enough. The older I get, especially in the past year of my life, the more I feel called to serve and love others. I was raised by parents who lived and raised us with the mentality that if you have then you should give whether it’s of your time, your money, your love, your home, whatever- if you have then you should give. One of my favorite things I have heard recently in regard to service is that God doesn’t ask or require us to be equipped for what He calls us to…He just asks that we be willing. I want to live and be continuously growing in a way that enables me to be willing to serve and love others in a way that makes a positive difference in the world. I want to leave the world better than I found it. That matters so much to me.
9. Write a bucket list. Oh, look! I can check an item off! Maybe I’m not so bad at this bucket list thing after all. 😉
Hayley and Riley (the dog whose bucket list reads Eat. Sleep. Play. Repeat)