Do you have a bucket list?
I remember the first time I created one. I was 27 years old, recently divorced after almost seven years of marriage, and living on my own in a third-story apartment that overlooked a lake. I had zero furniture, a coffee pot I bought at Goodwill, and a car I accidentally scratched by setting a cardboard box on top of, and then sliding it off.
I was happy as a clam.
And I wanted to make sure I kept that fulfilled feeling for as long as possible, so I made a list of all the things I wanted to do in my life.
That O.G. bucket list had things on it like:
1. Explore Whidbey Island
2. Learn to shoot a gun
3. See a whale
4. Visit Canada
5. Go snowboarding
And every once in awhile I would actually cross something off.
Some of the things were easy to accomplish, and some I still haven’t done (visit Canada, for one), but it was nice to see that list staring back at me from that generic, apartment-white refrigerator every morning while I made coffee.
Fast forward 20 years, remarriage, two kids, a dog, and a 401(k) plan, and I have a new bucket list.
Being closer to a woman-of-a-certain-age, most of my items are travel related now. Things like visiting Germany to see my girl, Anja; see Italy and Iceland, and freakin’ Alaska for goodness sake. Some are skill-related…master the goddamn pull-up, learn how to code an app, and finish learning French. But mostly it’s just fun stuff like take my kids to Disneyland (they haven’t been since they were 4 and 13 months), write a short-story, go duck hunting, and run another 5k marathon.
Okay, maybe running a 5k isn’t considered fun.
The thing about bucket lists is they aren’t as strict as say, New Year’s resolutions. They aren’t as boring as a general to-do list, and they aren’t as grandiose as a Pinterest board. They are just like an old friend that doesn’t have Facebook whom you check in with every once in awhile — a nice reminder of the things in life that make you happy.
I propose that before the holidays arrive and before the dreaded NYE resolution posts start flooding your social media feeds, you sit down and take a minute to think about the things in life you’d like to accomplish. And don’t limit yourself to money or availability around school sports or childcare schedules, just write out what you’d like to do or see or learn if nothing stood in your way. I repeat: nothing.
After you’re finished, I can almost guarantee there will be one idea that you cannot stop thinking about. It will probably be on your mind as you fall asleep at night. You might even dream about it. You might find yourself googling topics around the idea, or even looking up airfares or hotels that center around your plans.
Focus on that idea.
Really make it front and center in your life. Put a picture that represents that idea on your fridge so you see it every day. Put a picture on your computer screen, write a note in your phone and set a reminder each week to revisit that idea. Make it part of your everyday life. And then begin to imagine what it would feel like to do that thing, to visit the place, to learn the skill, to see the person. Really imagine it all.
And then…sit back and watch as things unfold in life that make this dream a reality for you.
Life is too short not to pursue the things that really blow your hair back. So why not at least try?
It had all the characteristics of a top ten favorite book.
I was immediately sucked into the book on the first page, I loved the characters right away, I easily read 6 chapters in one sitting, and, here’s the telltale sign: I started carrying it around with me everywhere.
And it was great. Truly some of the most beautiful prose I think I’ve encountered outside of actual poetry, in a long time.
“She didn’t get caught off guard. She’d never even tried it — loosening into the capable hands of another.”
Gah. Right in the heart with that one.
“And she knew, the way the tree that strains at a sharper and sharper angle knows, that a thing can grow even under terrible circumstances, but that doesn’t mean it should.”
But in the end, the book fell flat for me. More than flat, actually. The ending was so abrupt (even after 400 pages) that I couldn’t help but feel like the middle school teacher reading a creative writing project that ended with “and then I woke up”.
Would I recommend it? Yes. Based solely on the fact that the first 3/4 of the book was really, really impressive. But I would also just make sure you know that the end…well, it made me want to throw the book at the wall.
Here’s the synopsis.
A darkly humorous, surprisingly poignant, and utterly gripping debut novel about a guy who works in Hell (literally) and is on the cusp of a big promotion if only he can get one more member of the wealthy Harrison family to sell their soul.
Peyote Trip has a pretty good gig in the deals department on the fifth floor of Hell. Sure, none of the pens work, the coffee machine has been out of order for a century, and the only drink on offer is Jägermeister, but Pey has a plan—and all he needs is one last member of the Harrison family to sell their soul.
When the Harrisons retreat to the family lake house for the summer, with their daughter Mickey’s precocious new friend, Ruth, in tow, the opportunity Pey has waited a millennium for might finally be in his grasp. And with the help of his charismatic coworker Calamity, he sets a plan in motion.
But things aren’t always as they seem, on Earth or in Hell. And as old secrets and new dangers scrape away at the Harrisons’ shiny surface, revealing the darkness beneath, everyone must face the consequences of their choices.
If you weren’t alive in the ’70’s, you won’t realize that bodysuits are actually a pain in the hoo-ha. You won’t realize it, that is, until you put one on and a few hours later realize you have to pee. Sure it’s all fun and games and sleek lines and snatched waists, but when your bladder is screaming and you have to fiddle with getting fully undressed in a gross bathroom stall that doesn’t have a locking door, you might be regretting that choice.
But this one has snaps, so, you know, you’re in luck. Also, I am very small-chested and this bodysuit is still flattering in that area. I can’t imagine how nice it would look if I had larger girls (bucket list?)
Chunky boots, $71.98
Just call me Beth Dutton.
I have a running playlist.
I don’t mean an ongoing playlist. I mean a playlist for when I run.
In case you wanna be cool, or if you’re just interested in what the hell goes on in this crazy head of mine, here’s the list.
Wait. First you must know the title of the playlist. Ready?
It’s called, “Run, Forest! Run”
Softcore, The Neighbourhood
Heavydirtysoul, twenty one pilots
Amerika, Young the Giant
BLOW, Ed Sheeran, Chris Stapleton & Bruno Mars
Higher, Naked and Famous
Punching in a Dream, Naked and Famous
Contagious, Night Riots
Don’t Stop Believin’, Journey
Raise Your Glass, Pink
Hall of Fame, The Script
Springsteen, Eric Church
99 Problems, Hugo
Wild One, Lucky Rose
Castle on the Hill, Ed Sheeran
Warrant, Foster the People
Wake Me Up, Avicii
I Like It, Enrique Iglesias
Figured You Out, Nickelback