The year I turned 30, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish before I died. A bucket list. How incredibly unoriginal of me, I know, but I had never heard of the idea back then. I read an article where a man had listed the 100 things he absolutely had to do before he died and it had led to clarity about who he truly was and what really mattered in his life. I wanted that sense of clarity. I created a list but try as I might, I could only come up with 70 things. That's it. 70 adventures, small and large.
28 of them are places I want to visit. That's slightly less than half of my dreams.. to go to the places I've only read about. Another 7 center on Taylor - being there to watch him achieve his milestones. Graduate from high school and college, get married, have children. I realize that those are my dreams FOR him and not necessarily my dreams. At the time, Taylor had not yet started kindergarten and there was no line between his life and mine. Would he love school? Would he make friends? What sport would he play? My life for 13 years was driving to events, play dates, practices... helping with homework, reading bedtime stories, hiring tutors... buying a tuxedo for prom, buying a truck for his first vehicle... helping with college applications, touring colleges, meeting with recruiters, saying goodbye, enduring boot camp, combat training, and job school... I held my breath. I wanted every single dream of his to come true. Tell me how I can make his life a little better and I will. Tell me what I can do as mom. My focus was Taylor. I wouldn't change a single thing. He is the best accomplishment I ever hope to have in life. He is a fine and wonderful Marine. He has all his dreams in reach.
I can breathe now. Slowly and luxuriously... slowly with my arms spread wide to gather in all the possibilities. I can exhale all the worry and breathe in the possibilities as cliche as that sounds. It is time to make a bucket list, a real bucket list. Let's clarify what I want, really want to do with my life.
1. I want to go to Paris. I do. I know that is a common assertion among women, but I want to walk the streets and sit in the cafes. I want to gaze at the Mona Lisa and picnic under the Eiffel Tower. I want to journey to Versailles and eat cake. All the other trips on the list can be crossed off if I can go to Paris.
2. I want to snuggle with my grandchildren. This one is tricky because I know immediately upon hearing that I am going to be a grandmother, the cycle of trying to ensure that their dreams come true begins. However, I embrace that. I want to kiss their downy heads and breathe in their sweetness. I want to build pillow forts and read picture books to them. I want to play cars and go on adventures. I thoroughly enjoyed motherhood; I want to do it again... and be able to send them home when they get cranky like a proper grandma.
3. I want to have contributed something to the greater good. That's incredibly vague. However, I think it's human nature to want to be remembered. I want to touch lives, to make the world a better place, to ease a burden, to inspire a dream. I'm not sure we have lived if people are not sad when we have died. I want to live so when I am no longer here, people notice I am gone.
I am sitting her re-reading all the things on my original list and yes, I would love to do many of them. Others, I blame on the fight against turning 30. I mean, did I really want to bungee jump or hanglide? Really? In reality though, I've done a lot. If I can mark these three off the list, I'd say my life has been well-lived. Who knows what adventures I'll add next. :) I am breathing these days and it feels amazing.