From Bucket List to Reality

Bucket lists, vision boards, mission statements, 5-year plans; there are countless ways that we humans choose to categorize our hopes and dreams. And those amalgamations of what we want to accomplish and experience are recorded in all sorts of ways.

I have seen people who carry tattered pieces of paper with them everywhere just in case the opportunity arises and they can scratch something off their list. I have what I like to call an unofficial bucket list. It is a mental list of things that I would like to do or experience, but I haven’t committed them to paper. What I have realized in the last few years, though, is by not writing them down I am not really committing to them at all. Many of the experiences I have had have come because of someone else. It made me wonder how many things I would have actually done without the prodding of someone else? Sure, I wanted to run a marathon, but would I have done it without a running partner? Running an Ultra Marathon of 50 miles was not on my bucket list, but now I can’t imagine NOT having had that experience.

Last year, I took a coaching class called Blue Sky Visioning. The class was designed to help us create a vision for the next five years. Each week we were guided through exercises to help us with the process. It was a step by step plan and at the same time it was a jumping off point.

I dove in head first running out to buy all the books and school supplies required and began with a flurry.
The second week of class we were told to begin writing a list of things we would like to do without judgment. For example, we could write down that we wanted to live on a farm and the next thing could be that we wanted to live on the beach. This was not the time to edit our thoughts and think about how any two things might conflict with one another. It was a stream-of-consciousness bucket list. This sounded like an amazing exercise until I heard I had to write a minimum of 300 things I wanted to do. I made it to about 70 before this whole process started to cause me anxiety. How was I ever going to come up with 300 things?

Each week, as we continued to work on our lists we were given topics to spur our imagination. In addition, past students shared their testimonials of how this process has unfolded for them. One man spoke about always wanting to live in this very small town in Maine, but because of his wife’s career there was no chance of that ever happening. He wrote it down anyway. The next week he told us that his wife was asked to open an office in that same town he had always dreamed of living.

This class had my attention now. I had always been a believer in vision boards but this class was starting to feel like everyone had been sprinkled in fairy dust BUT me. Week after week, I listened to these stories and continued to work on my list.

Then as we began to look over our lists and categorize them I saw a vision and a bucket list emerging. It made me a little nervous because there were things written down that if I was using a filter or editing tool, they would be removed instantly. Who am I kidding, I don’t want to jump out of an airplane — or do I?

The course wrapped up but some of those little sticky notes are still in my journal and other mental notes are tucked away on that unofficial bucket list floating around in my brain.

I have been revisiting that bucket list idea as well as that vision. What is it about writing my list down that gives me pause?Fear? For sure. It’s uncomfortable? Definitely.

Being uncomfortable and fearful are not places I like to sit for long. But as they say those are the same places that the magic tends to happen. In the next few weeks, we will be telling you more about one of our bucket list items that we will soon be able to scratch off the list. With our pencils primed to cross this one off we’re thinking about what new things we want to add.

What is on your list? Have you written yours down yet? Go ahead, write it down. You’ll soon see it too. All the good stuff happens in the far-flung places of the mind. When we commit it to paper and commit to ourselves those ideas get moved to the forefront where they are ignited with action and with time are ferried into reality.

Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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