A few days ago, I was listening to a podcast while commuting to work. In this particular episode, a woman described how she decided to give a kidney to a complete stranger. She mentioned that when she started her bucket list as a child, she had written “donate something bigger than blood” and how this thought had always been floating in the back of her mind.

Suddenly, I felt like I was missing out. Not about donating a kidney – though I do respect this woman and pray that if my kidney was ever a match for someone, I’d be able to give it to them – but for not tracking my hopes and desires from a young age.

We all know that I’m a fairly open book about my “big dreams,” but I’ve never made a physical list of all the things I want to do. I’ve never sat down to write out all of my heart’s cravings, and for a moment, I felt like I missed out on the opportunity to watch how they have evolved over the years. I’m sure that my 6-year-old bucket list would be different than my 16-year-old bucket list, which would be different than my 26-year-old bucket list. But I was too busy eating Little Debbie snacks and catching fireflies in a mason jar at six; was too busy worrying about my first speeding violation and getting the Doritos out of my braces at 16. So last night, at age 26, I sat down with a fresh sheet of paper in the journal my best friend gave to me upon moving to NYC, grabbed a pen, and started.

It should be noted that this journal is already equipped with plenty of inspiration for such an activity. The front of it bears a quote by Rachel Carson: Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. And true to my best friend’s character, she wrote a beautiful pep talk on the first page, scripting visual courage for me to re-read any time I needed an extra boost. Flipping past that, I found my thoughts on discovering my first NYC apartment, followed by all kinds of adventures from my first year in the city. Many of these were written in the wee hours of the morning because I wanted to capture the moments when I was still at the epitome of excitement, or was still carrying the raw emotion of sadness. The writing is a bit wiggly, a bit quirky, and it makes me smile. I say all of this because I read through those pages before starting my bucket list. I laughed; I cringed; I felt the tingle of excitement in my stomach. How beautiful it is to look back. And how beautiful it is to gaze forward.

To start my bucket list, I wrote the date at the top. That way, when I add or remove items from my list, I can look at how it has evolved from the beginning. Then I just simply started writing. I didn’t let myself filter ideas; I wrote exactly what came to me, letting my subconscious tell me some of my life’s deepest desires. Some of them I already knew: Go skydiving. Backpack Europe. Tour with a dance company. Yet some surprised me: Get a pen pal in another country. Take a photography class. These are but a few of the items I wrote down – some were big, some were smaller – but I found such excitement in the fact that the entire exercise was limitless. I could literally write down anything my heart craved. Anything.

My list is nowhere near being done. But as I look at where it stands, I love seeing my elephant-sized ideas nestled beside those the size of a minuscule mouse. I crave a life of adventure, of wonder, of passion and love, and those can come in experiences of all shapes and sizes.

My list will evolve. I will cross things off. I will add new things. It breathes; it ebbs and flows; it is what I hope to see and feel in my lifetime.

I challenge you to sit down and write a few things for your own bucket list. What will be the adventures that mold your life?

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1 Comment

  1. Jaime

    February 18, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    It’s a very special process, making those kinds of lists. Loved reading about yours.

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