Maybe you want to learn a new language, travel to New Zealand, or climb Mt. Kilimanjaro before you run out of time. Or perhaps your desires are more simple, just things that you keep putting off because life gets in the way, like seeing your sister, or visiting your daughter in college, or maybe you want to have coffee with a long-lost friend. Regardless of which items you have on your bucket list we all have one thing in common, one simple thing that resonates in us all – we all have the desire to get more out of life.
In writing my latest short story Island Bride, I was approached by my publisher with a simple prompt, “If your friend died and in their memory you were forced to visit one country on your bucket list, where would you go?”
When I asked myself where I would go, I would think of a place only to stop myself with a million excuses.
I couldn’t go there.
I’m too busy.
What would I do with my children?
What about my job?
In my denial of following my dream (and vicariously my character’s), I realized a common truth — we are our worst enemies in life. We, women, are often the keepers of the peace, the breadwinners, the comforter, and/or the sentinel of our family. We identify ourselves through what we do for others, and often how we can please them. Identity is important, but in the constant strive for perfection we often forget our dreams, or what we will do “one day.” When we lose those desires, we get less out of our precious moments.
This blanket truth was the kernel idea of Island Bride and the beginning of a new train of thought in my family. As I wrote, I realized that those things on the top of my bucket list were simple; I didn’t need to eat bugs or see unexplored jungles or the Great Wall of China. The thing I desired most was true, unadulterated happiness. I wanted to laugh until my cheeks hurt.
Life has shifted since Island Bride. I made a choice to stop waiting for a spare second to live my bucket list; instead I’m making time for those things that will get me more out of life. I found that instead of making sure my home was spotless for guests or friends, I followed my heart and spent those prized seconds joking around with my children; because, if I only had one more day I would wish to it spend laughing with my kids rather than worrying about the judgments of others. I soon realized that in order to get more out of life, we must Live Our Bucket List rather than wait for when following our dreams is convenient.
I hope as you read the book, you find it to be as transformative as I did. I hope that some of your excuses will fall away and you will live your bucket list, instead of waiting for the “right” time.
So, what’s on the top of your bucket list? Or, better yet, where are you going?
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