By: Anne Marie Holloway
I don’t know about you, but as a working Mom of four active, school-aged kids, I have very little time available for myself to stop reflect, unwind and “de-stress.” Because of that, with the arrival of each year, I often find myself looking at trying to tip the scale back a little towards myself. With the voices of the wise women in my life echoing in my head, telling me to take better care of myself, I begin each new year attempting to take stock of the things that I need or might like to do for myself – things that do not involve family trips or kids’ activities.
In the past, I made promises to myself to try to exercise more, join a book club, attend a retreat, see a play, attend a concert, take a class, buy new sneakers or maybe even get a massage! But, each year I typically found myself slightly falling short of my humble aspirations – not because of the lack of pursuit or even enthusiasm, but because these things just simply become unattainable due to lack of time.
A few years ago, I attended a PTO event for parents where they hosted a speaker who began his presentation by asking us to create a “bucket-list” of 10 things that we would like to do before our time on earth was over. The speaker told us that these things should be completely self-serving and without limitations (like money or time). Half the room – which was filled with mothers – squealed with delight, while the other half had already picked up their pens and began feverishly writing before the speaker had even finished his sentence. But not me. I guess I just was not designed for that type of progressive thinking. Or maybe, it just hit too close to home. The thought of writing such a list made me sad, as I had just lost a dear friend to cancer.
Anyways, creating that list was the most difficult thing I had ever had to do. I was happy and thankful for being where I was in life. I had worked almost full-time through the early years of my first two children, and I loved that my husband and I were at a place where I could finally be a full-time stay-at-home mom. I had so many intricate plans revolving around my kids, my husband, the house, activities, budgets and meal plans…. I found it difficult to make a whimsical wish list just for myself. It was almost painful. But, I did it. I made a bucket list that evening at the PTO event. It was lame and I can honestly say that if I was asked to do it again, I am not sure that I could make a better one. Silly, I guess.
But the speaker that night did make me think about what I hoped to experience from this journey, so I went home and started a different sort of list. I started to list the lessons that I have learned about the good, the bad and the otherwise in life. With the help of my husband, we have compiled quite a list of witty little titles that apply short insights into the things that happen in life. We hope to one day share them with our kids when they need them most.
I read the list we have created often, and it makes me smile. I hope that my kids will read them, shake their heads and smile too. Maybe, just maybe, they will also find my sad little bucket list among my journals and see that their crazy old mom had actually tried to accomplish something more than what the “bucket list” had on it… I hope they will look back at my life and say, “Wow! She was something else!” and it will inspire them to live fully, courageously and joyfully!
What would you write on your “bucket list?”