I remember watching The Bucket List with Morgan Freeman many years ago and thinking “Yeah, if I ever have a terminal disease, I would definitely make a bucket list and do every last thing on it.” I will be 35 in October and I have realized that waiting for the grim reaper to saunter into my life before I make a bucket list is ridiculous. I want to get started long before I only have six months to live. Age is a crazy bastard; it deteriorates your body while rejuvenating the part of your brain that was dormant just years before.
At 21, I was a single gal, living in Las Vegas and making a good living as a massage therapist. I was the living, breathing reason it was called Sin City. Late nights drinking at bars, meeting random strangers who valued me as much as the plastic cup they were drinking out of, and a culture that was, and still is, based around what monetary value you brought to the table. Getting the hell out of there should have been item one on my bucket list. In my twenties, I needed a nap, a stiff drink, and an explanation as to what the hell I was supposed to do for the rest of my life. A bucket list was for old people, sick people and really old people.
I’ve reached the delightful age, much to the chagrin of my children, where my car radio is permanently tuned to NPR. Yesterday afternoon they were interviewing a woman who had written a few books about happiness. She was speaking about the benefits of making a bucket list and what items on that list could be the most fulfilling. Relationships, gaining knowledge, travel, and new experiences topped the list. Languishing at the bottom of the barrel were items like becoming the richest person in the world and being the most powerful human on the planet. It jump started my brain….what would my bucket list be? What would other thirty-something women add to their bucket list and why?
I tried to imagine myself making this type of list at the tender age of 21 and it made me nauseous. I was obsessed with finding the perfect boyfriend, having a sweet ass apartment and obtaining the kind of money that gets you into the VIP room every night of the week. I had yet to realize the true value of my relationships or what I could create by pursuing my dreams. There is a real appreciation on my part for what the last 14 years has taught me and thankfully my bucket list today is filled with more value based dreams and less monetary acquisitions.
Today, I am in a different place, literally and figuratively. I am married to a man who respects me, I have two marvelous kids and I have taken the mortifying step of becoming a writer. The relationships I have with my family, friends, mentors and neighbors rank higher on my list of accomplishments than how much money I make or what car I drive. It’s great news for me, because right now I make no money writing and I drive an old Toyota Corolla. I value experiences over material possessions and I live in a community full of people who share my ideals. I finally have a bucket list and it’s something I am proud of. It’s filled with experiences that I hope will enhance my life through my thirties and hopefully, well into my eighties or nineties. There’s no calendar to peek at on my iPhone that will update me with “Cancer Diagnosis” or “Car Accident”. I don’t want to wait for the bad in order to truly enjoy the good. I love the song by Kenny Chesney that talks about seeing an old man being interviewed and the gentleman’s words of wisdom are “A hundred years goes pretty fast, don’t blink”. That’s my plan.
My Bucket List
-Finish my book and get published.
-Be a writer who makes a living writing.
-Travel to Europe with my hubby and kids.
-Take a road trip across the United States that is focused on food and strange sights.
-Interview my biological father about his life, his choices and what made him change.
-Research the genealogy that my grandmother put together before she passed away.
-Travel to Scotland and investigate my heritage.
-Live on the beach in Hawaii for at least one year.
-Learn how to play the piano.
-Take a month long cruise with my husband.
-Finish our basement for my mom to move into as she ages.
-Be financially secure enough to send my kids to college or to accomplish whatever it is that they want to accomplish when they turn 18.
-Visit Niagara Falls.
-Travel to every state in the US.
-Learn about Buddhism, Atheism, and Christianity.
-Create photo albums/scrapbooks for my kids to take with them when they move away.
-Own a coffee shop/restaurant.
-Read all the classic novels I missed in high school.
-Learn Spanish and become fluent enough to get around Mexico without annoying the locals.
-Renew our wedding vows on the beach in Cancun when we make it to 20 years of blissful union. (I just like the word blissful. It’s been a real marriage, so don’t get your panties in a bunch.)
What’s on your list?
Mandy Brasher has been married to her partner in crime for thirteen years and together they have two kids. Since then she has changed diapers, potty trained, worked as a barista and organized events for a non-profit. Mandy loves to travel, cook, do yoga and read blogging and working on writing a book. Follow her sass mouth and unexpected adventures.