The bucket list.

In just a few months, I'm going to be turning 40.


It's true.

40 seems... significant, I guess, in ways that are hard to put words to, because I think it's just an overall feeling I have about it.  Not dread, not joy, just... crucial.  Urgent, maybe.

Anyway, this isn't making any sense at all - you should try living in my head for a day or two - but the point that I'm trying to make here is that I need some goals.  Some longterm life goals.  And I need to write them down.  I've never really like the term "bucket list" very much, because it makes me think that death is imminent, which hopefully it is not, but "list of life goals" just doesn't have the same ring to it, now does it?

So here I am, planning out the back 40 of my life, so to speak, and although I have many, many more things I want to accomplish, here are my top 10.

1.  Finish college.  GASP!  I know, it's shocking, right?  I seem so smart and put together that surely I have a degree or three sitting in a drawer somewhere, just waiting for me to pull them out, dust them off, and find a brilliant new career, right?  Right?  Sadly, that is not the case.  I started working while in college, and I got married while in college and suddenly in my 20 year old mind it just didn't seem all that important to finish.  So I didn't.  I won't say something overly dramatic like "and I've regretted it ever since," because I really haven't, but it is something I'd like to do someday.  I've even gotten as far as requesting my college transcripts.  The practical part of me says a degree won't make a bit of difference in what I do with the rest of my life and it will just eat up my time and resources, but I want to do it, so there it is.

2.  (Re)learn French - I took four years of French in high school and four semesters in college, and at one point, I was a passable speaker and an excellent reader.  I still surprise myself from time to time by how much I remember.  After all, it's been 20 years.

3.  Travel to France.  See #2.  Or just travel anywhere new, I suppose, but France sticks out in my mind as the number one place that I have always wanted to experience.

4.  Learn - REALLY learn - to use my camera.  My husband gifted me with a beautiful Nikon D7000for Christmas last year, and I have made huge strides in learning how to use it.  I even take it off AUTO most of the time ;).  There is still so much more to learn, though.  Maybe a photography class is in order.

5.  Run a marathon.  I really thought after my half marathon in 2011 that 2012 would be my year to accomplish that goal, but then I realized just how much time would be involved in training for a full 26.2, and I just didn't have it to give.  Not now, when the boys are so small.  It's not like I can say to Cooper "Hey, Mama needs to go on a two hour run so you just amuse yourself while I'm gone, ok?"  Instead for now I'm going to keep eking out 30 minutes or an hour as I can to run on the treadmill of doom, but someday, SOMEDAY I will do this thing.

6.  Write a book.  An actual, honest-to-god book.  Someone famous once said that every person has at least one book in him/her, and I believe that.  Heck, I might even have two.  My computer and my desk are littered with vague ideas, rough drafts, outlines, first chapters...  I not sure if it's fear of failure, or fear of success that holds me back.

7.  Get a tattoo.  I liked tattoos before they were as mainstream as they are today, but I've had a hard time committing to exactly what I want.  I've finally gotten it all figured out.

I want something like this:

to commemorate running my first marathon, and I want something like this:

to commemorate writing my first book.  They are small, meaningful and important to me and only me, and that's something I'm sure I could live with forever.

8.  Have my dream car.  This is one thing that was on my bucket list before I even had a clue what a bucket list was.  But I'm happy to report that it's the only thing that, to date, I can successfully mark off.  If you haven't heard the story of how Hugh came into my life, check it out.  Bring tissues.    

 9.  Learn to drive a stick shift.  It's with great shame that I report that this is a skill I have never mastered.  My attempts to try to learn, first with my high school boyfriend and later with R, all ended exactly the same way - with someone or the other threatening to walk home.  As a self-proclaimed country girl, this is a shame I don't want to bear forever.

10. Spend a week, maybe more, traveling across the countryside taking pics of old barns.  Old barns are my favorite thing ever, and while I'm sure I would take pics of more than that on my journey, that would be my number one goal.  

So, there are my top ten things to do before I die.  How about you?  Do you have a bucket list?  What's on it?

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  1. I have lots of bucket lists! I have one for our current duty station so we don't miss anything here (because I never want to come back - lol). I have one for Fall, and I had one for summer. I think I don't take them as seriously as some people do. To me it's just a reminder to enjoy my life ... like a To Do list ... only more fun!

    1. Yeah, I really like your method. I tend to take pretty much EVERYTHING too seriously, so maybe I need to come up with a few "mini-buckets" too.

  2. I have no bucket list. I'm afraid that if I make one, I'll never do any of the items, and I'll die feeling like a huge failure. I'm very neurotic that way.

    But I like your list. I like the book one, the barn one, the French one. If I had a bucket list, those would be on mine, too. Maybe not the barn one. I do like the idea of traveling around to find certain treasures.

    1. I completely understand. I had to think long and hard about it before I ever wrote anything down. Once it's written down, it's a lot of pressure.

  3. All that running you'll do to train will give you time to either think about the book (bring a phone or something you can use to record voice memos), and listen to French lessons.

    I took my first French class in 2nd grade. Lived there for 4 months. Visited 4 times since. The best I can manage in French is to walk into a pharmacy and buy an ace bandage (everything medical is behind the counter, so you have to ask). Talking to waiters is a major triumph for me. So pathetic, but now I understand how someone can live in the US for years and still have trouble speaking English.

    1. I have SO much respect for people who are able to speak a second language passable well, because it is HARD. Also, I'm curious, how many ace bandages did you have to buy when you lived in France? ;)

  4. Good for you!
    When I was in college, I had the utmost respect for those returning to receive diplomas etc. At 33, I am planning to return in 2014.
    Oh French. I took it all the way through to high school and all I can tell you is how to get to the bathroom...from my class...in high school. Being Canadian, you'd think that I'd know it better than the freckle on my husbands ass...too much sharing???
    Tattoos are awesome...as long as they have meaning. I have three. One on my hip was a "I hate you dad. I'm 18 and I'll do what I want"...which was a dumb idea...the other is a symbol on my wrist for the word "balance" after I destroyed my back and had to change my lifestyle.
    The third is my son's name. He's my world.
    Life is a weird and wonderful place all at once. Do what your heart longs for and makes it happy.
    You don't need a list. Just follow what you feel.
    Did that sound super sappy?

    1. Yay for you for going back to school! It's such a huge commitment and SO scary. And no, that doesn't sound sappy at all. It's brilliant advice, and for some reason, it's so, so difficult to do sometimes.

  5. Start writing now. I belong to a local chapter of a national writing group that meets once a month. It's turned my writing dreams into reality and it seems like every time I turn around another member is getting published. We meet in Louisville, but our current president lives in or near Etown, maybe a carpool could be arranged? Email me.

  6. I second Angie's idea. Plus, I could meet you for coffee, too!


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