Six years ago I wrote out a bucket list. Yeah, one of those cliché “things I need to do/see before I die” lists. Inspired by a piece of notebook paper on my parents refrigerator, I figured my own bucket list would be fun to write. I titled the list “40 by 40”. I was 31 and a half years old at the time, and set myself a deadline of 40 list items by 40 years old (though, I ended up adding 10 more). At the time, forty still felt like a lifetime away, I figured I’d have no problem completing the list.
And then I forgot about it.
This weekend, while chauffeuring my kids to and from birthday parties, the bucket list randomly popped into my head. I think it was spurred on by hearing one of my favorite Seals & Crofts songs, “We May Never Pass this Way Again”. I absolutely adore the title of that song and it’s sentiment, so much so that I want to get it tattooed on my forearm. A reminder that every adventure and experience is potentially the last, so you should truly LIVE in that moment. My husband thinks its a sad and morbid thought, but I think his opinion is jaded by the fact that he really hates the bridge of that song.
I mean, he REALLY hates it.
Now, I’ll have you know I am not one intimidated by age. I’ll never be the woman who lies about her age, or declares that this is her 8th time celebrating her 30th birthday. No ma’am, I’m proud of every single second I’ve spent on this earth, good, bad, or indifferent.
Which is why I still celebrate my own half birthday, like I’m a toddler.
Yet, as I started thinking about the bucket list, it dawned on me that I’m only 2.5 years away from turning 40, and I’ve barely made a dent in the list. In fact, six years later, I’ve only managed to check off 9 out of 50 items on my original list. As a whole, it doesn’t really bother me that I’ve “only” checked off 9 items from the list. I haven’t been sitting at home, watching my life pass before me. Nope, I’ve been experiencing new things, visiting new places, and having endless adventures.
It just so happens that not many of them are on the original list.
Last October, when I headed home after Dad died, his bucket list still hung on the refrigerator. I honestly don’t know how many, if any, items he was able to check off on that list. I don’t know that I could adequately find the right words to describe thinking about an unfinished “bucket list” of someone who has kicked the proverbial “bucket” (Dad would laugh at me referring to him that way, so I’m going to.) Harrowing? Heartbreaking? Definitely bittersweet.
And in a way, I suppose…inspiring.
Inspiration to not wait until the time is right, because the time may never be right.
And so, I was inspired to revisit the list, and actually start taking steps to check off some of these experiences. Because while I absolutely love the spontaneity of the adventures I’ve had, it’s also fun to have goals. So here we go, Heather’s bucket list 2.0. Let me know if you want to tag along for any of these.
The Things I’ve Done:
5. Climb a really big mountain. Not only did I climb a big mountain, I got engaged at the top of one. So, memories made and bucket list item checked.
7. Pet a manatee. In 2017 I was able to attend a “swim with the manatees” field trip with my son and his 5th grade class. Sure enough, I got to pet a manatee in the wild. It was pretty surreal. The manatee could not have cared less about my presence (he was busy chewing on a rope), and it felt like petting a kitchen broom. It was everything I hoped it would be. (Edit to add: all rules for interacting with manatees were followed in this situation. Department of Natural Resources was actually right near me in a kayak when this took place. No illegal manatee petting or harassment occurred.)
#12 & #15 Run a 50 miler and run a 100 miler respectively. Check and check, more than once over.
16. Stand up Paddleboard. I must have made this list before SUP was as popular as it is now. Anyway, I’ve SUP’d a number of times in the last 6 years, more times than I can count this summer alone. I love it.
22. White water raft. This past year we jumped into a white water rafting race while attending Tuckfest at the U.S National White Water Center. What an amazing and terrifying introduction to white water rafting. Did I mention terrifying? I probably need to do it again, to get over the fear that white water experience implanted in my brain.
26. Zip line between the trees. For my son’s 11th birthday party we headed to a local zipline and tree-top adventure ropes course place called “Go Ape”. It was fun, and I did not have a mom heart attack watching my baby tip toe between the trees, hundreds of feet in the air.
40. Switch my blog over to wordpress. You guys have no idea how much stress coding and website design places on me. So much that I had to add it to a bucket list. Anyway, Relentless Forward Commotion has been moved on over to wordpress from blogger since probably 2014. This new blog started on wordpress. I’m learning. Slowly, but I’m learning.
41. Run the TransRockies run. Geoff and I were fortunate enough to participate in the 2016 Transrockies 6 day run. It was an incredible, life changing experience. Got some time on your hands? I wrote about 7 blog posts about the experience. You can read them by starting HERE.
The Things I Gave a Valiant Effort – but Fell Short:
48. See a wild mountain goat…in the wild. I spent 120 mile running through the Colorado Rockies, and didn’t see one single goat. On the drive from Beaver Creek to the airport in Denver, my sister in law stopped off at a rest area that advertised being a location where you could see mountain goat. Yet still, this creature eludes me. Kind of like bigfoot.
38. Scuba dive. Two winters ago my good friend, who is a scuba instructor, offered a group of friends an “intro to scuba” lesson. Well, my kids and husband got to participate, but without a doctors note regarding my pesky hernia…I wasn’t able to play. This was prior to my second hernia surgery, so there was definitely a risk that my guts would protrude EVEN FURTHER out of my abdominal wall with the added pressure under water.
The Things I’m “Meh” About:
The following are things that I once wanted to do, but I don’t think I’d go out of my way to try and check off my bucket list any longer. So they’re being removed:
4. Run the Big Sur Marathon. I wouldn’t say no if someone sent me there, but big, crowded, road races are no longer at the top of my “must do” list.
21. Complete a full iron distance triathlon (140.6). Sorry triathlon friends, it’s not you, it’s me. And the whole biking on road and swimming laps thing.
24. Enter and compete in some sort of fitness competition (bikini? body building?) Noooo thank you. I absolutely admire what these athletes do. And I LOVE strength training. But, I do not have the discipline – nor desire – to eat the way one needs to eat in order to compete in these shows. It really boils down to that. I love food
27. Run the Dipsea Race. Another one that I’d absolutely do if given the opportunity, but I also don’t think I’ll go out of my way to pursue. It’s a long way to travel for a 7 miler, even if it is the oldest trail race in America.
30. Make homemade donuts. I don’t know why I included this one. I love donuts. I love them more when they just appear, because someone else made them. I don’t love being in the kitchen.
36. Master the clean & jerk (it alludes me) Ehh. I’m currently quite happy with my gym routine, and none of it involves super technical Olympic lifts. Maybe one day…but if not, that’s OK too.
Things I’m Going to Go Out of My Way to Get Done:
3 – Rock climb outdoors. I mean, why not? I’ve got to know people who do this regularly. I’ve climbed in gyms, and while terrifying, it was fun. Do I have a fear of heights? Don’t I have a fear of heights? I’m still not really sure. It’s part of the adventure
8 – Log roll (like in the lumberjack competitions) This one is so ridiculous, I need to make it happen. In fact, this may be my new priority. I don’t know anyone else who has lumberjack log rolled. Not even in my extensive Facebook feed of people I don’t know that well. So, challenge accepted: I’m going to make this one happen.
11 – Ten unassisted pull ups in a row. Real pull ups…no kipping. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a classic case of specificity in training. My arms aren’t nearly as “tiny” as they were when I first wrote this list. In fact, I think I’m pretty damn strong. But I don’t practice pull ups, so clearly I can’t do ten. I’ll start adding it into my back/biceps day, we’ll see if we can get there by the end of the year.
13. “Hunt” for Bigfoot (with a camera, not a gun). I’m kind of joking…and also kind of not. I mean, I made this entire new blog about it, did I not?
14. Watch sea turtles hatch and run to the ocean. So, this in theory shouldn’t be terribly difficult. Here in Myrtle Beach we have dozens and dozens of nesting sea turtles that visit our local beaches. The trick, however, will be figuring out how to be “in the know” of when some are hatching. I should probably look into volunteering as a turtle nest babysitter.
23. Donate blood. Honestly? I always have an excuse. Recent tattoos (turns out that is mostly a myth). Big races coming up. It’s pretty lame that I haven’t done this one yet. So I just messaged a friend who donates frequently to schedule an appointment for myself.
25. Read “Born to Run” (still haven’t). Yeah. I still haven’t. It’s sitting right here at my desk (still).
28. Participate in a multiple day adventure race. I’m starting with a 3 hour adventure race in November. The husband is hoping I catch the AR bug, and then we’ll take it from there.
32. Overnight backpacking trip. Maybe two overnights. Have backpack: will travel.
33. Volunteer at an animal shelter, take dogs for walks. Honestly, I should take them for runs.
34. Visit one of those caves full of stalagmites and stalactites. Google says the closest stalagmite and stalactite location is in Asheville, NC, but I’m also thinking DeSoto Caverns in Alabama might better coincide with a visit to see my sister and brother in law, also in Alabama. OR MAYBE Luray Caverns in Virginia on our way back from Vermont next month…
35. Run a sub 4 hour marathon (since my half pr is a 1:40, I should be able to do this!!). Actually working on this right now.
39. Stomp on grapes at a vineyard, I Love Lucy style. Tell me that doesn’t look fun.
42. Horseback ride Horses kind of scare me. I know, that’s crazy. Especially considering burros, mentioned in the next section, do not.
43. Overnight hike a section of the Appalachian Trail. Ties right in to #32. Two birds, one stone.
45. Read 100 books in 1 year. I guess I could start with “Born to Run”, ha.
46. Have an article published in a popular magazine. Or, as the times may dictate, have an article published on a popular magazine’s website. Though print would be the ultimate goal.
The Things I’d Still Love to Do, but Probably Won’t in the Next 2.5 Years:
1. Run the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon. It’s definitely my dream race, but between self employment, parenting two pre-teens, and a house full of pets, I just don’t have the finances or time – but mostly finances – it would take to head to Everest.
2. Meet, and more importantly, take a fitness class led by Richard Simmons. Last I heard he’s missing in action. I hope he’s OK, he really is my favorite fitness celebrity.
6. Publish a book. My mom is always telling me I should write a book. I would love to do it, but right now, my brain works in short stories. Or, blog posts as it may be.
9. Surf in Hawaii (and see Pipeline with my own eyes, though I will paddle out somewhere much calmer). Again, finances. But one day, no doubt.
10. Go to the Olympics (as a spectator…possibly even press. Certainly not as an athlete.) Google says the next few Olympics are back in China. But it looks like 2024 is coming to Los Angeles…
17. Drive cross country, stop for ridiculous photo ops such as the world’s largest ball of twine, and the Cabazon dinosaurs. The “live full time in an RV” is a huge bucket list item for both Geoff and I. So this will happen…but the kids need to be a bit older before we go.
18. Attempt the Barkley Marathons. I mean, there’s got to be a few ridiculous “reach for the stars” type of items on the list, right?
19. Ride a burro in/on/around the Grand Canyon. Edit to simply be: visit the Grand Canyon. This one is specifically for Dad. When I was younger, he always talked about wanting to vacation there. I was a spoiled brat who preferred the beach, and always said I wouldn’t go (because: teenager.)
29.Go to Burning Man… (and run the Ultra while I’m there) Seriously, why did I pick so many expensive adventures? Clearly, 31 year old me thought 37 year old me was going to be earning 6 figures by now…
31. See an orca whale in the wild (Pacific Northwest?) I won’t try to pet it, like the manatee.
37. Go to Alaska, visit a town where it is still bright out at 11 pm. I bet I could see an orca here…
44. Hike a section of the Pacific Coast Trail.
47. See a giant cactus in person. You know, the ones that are like 6+ feet tall.
49. Ride on and help sail one of those HUGE sailboats. I have a captivation and fear of the open ocean. So amazing…so powerful.
50. Travel out of the country. Crazy how I’ve never done that…
Things I’m Adding to the List:
51. Visit all 61 National Parks. Go big or go home, right? Currently I’ve technically only visited on: Acadia National Park. But I was probably 10, and I don’t remember much. So I’m going to say all 61 need to be visited. This honestly demands a blog post of it’s own.
52. Live on the road. RV or perhaps van life. I know it’s so “trendy” right now, but this has been a dream for Geoff and I since we met over seven years ago. We’ve already managed to create our own businesses making it possible to work from the road. Now we’ve just got to acquire the RV / Van. This one won’t be rushed though, because I’ve got two pre-teens that need to finish growing up before I go, and we have about 6 mammals that probably won’t enjoy RV life. Not rushing either of those things.
53. Fell Run, preferably in Scotland. “Fell running” is an English term for “hill running” and we all know how much I love to do that. Plus Scotland simply looks breathtaking, I’d love to see it with my own eyes.
54. See that damn mountain goat Seriously.
55. Sleep overnight in a hammock. Is it funny that a tent gives me a false sense of security? Because it does. Sleeping in a hammock seems so vulnerable, but I bet it’s really awesome.
56. Downhill mountain bike on a ski mountain. And, not fall of the chairlift while being shuttled to the top. My sister and brother in law used to race downhill, and she would text me pictures of her torn pants and scraped butt after crashing. Which leaves you probably wondering “then why would you want to do this?” Because it scares me. Speaking of things that scare me:
57. Learn to roll a white water kayak. Because the thought of being trapped upside down, underwater, in a boat immediately raises my heart rate. But I hear it’s a ton of fun.
58. Sub 24 hour 100 miler. Going back to the basics (see sub 4 hour marathon) to try and make this one happen.
59. Complete a 200 mile ultramarathon. Oh come on, like you didn’t see that one coming.
60. Mine for gold in a river. And it can seriously be at one of those cheesy tourist traps in a stream off of the side of the road. I’ve just always thought that looked like fun, ever since I was a little kid. Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure my littlest kid would be more than happy to tag along…
61. Complete this bucket list with plenty of time left to write out another one.
Things That Will Never Happen:
20. Get my Dad to run (or shuffle, or walk) in some sort of race with me.
Unfortunately, he’ll only ever be there in spirit now.
Point being: don’t wait for tomorrow. Chase your dreams today.