On March 18th, 2010, I created a “bucket list.” This list never occurred to serve a purpose of attempting to do things before I die, because to be honest, some stuff on my list is, in fact, unachievable. This list was created for the sole purpose of focusing on things that would make me happy to do them. What makes you happy? Have you ever really answered that question? I would LOVE to have the experience of seeing the Titanic via submarine. To be able to see that would create a wonderful story for my life, however at $35,000+ to do this, it’s probably going to be stuck on my list forever; and that’s ok. I’m about creating life stories. Life is one gigantic story, but you choose if you want to fill it with love, adventure, hope, action, crime, thrills and whatever else makes up your drama. Just little stories of experiences, that’s all. You, yourself choose your outcome. We all have choices, you can choose to live your life in safety with the hopes and dreams of doing things that your heart desires but never really putting forth the effort to do them, or you can choose to live your life by DOING.
I met a guy whose life was all about adventure. He managed to get himself into some very stupid stuff, but had great life stories from it. He then married, had a child and then divorced by the time I crossed his path. At this point, he had forgotten who he once was because he let the marriage and child factor hold him back from pursuing his own happiness. However, once he was inspired to find the time, he was soon able to get back into his favorite things. I created my list when I met him. I created my list because I wanted to set goals for myself knowing that perhaps one day I might also be in his shoes of normal life “hold backs.” Maybe this is one of the reasons so many marriages fail; we lose sight of what created our own happiness.
Create a list and let it inspire you for more. Never let anything hold you back from greatness. If a single mother can take care of 4 children, have a job and still put herself through college and a paraplegic can manage to go skiing in one of those monoskiers, then I think anyone, in any situation, can still find the time to do something they love, something they want to try, or something crazy to experience just for the hell of it. Life shouldn’t stop because you have responsibilities, you should be living even more. You don’t have to live vicariously through others, you just need to create and motivate the opportunity to do it yourself.
Opportunity creates your future, but so many people wait for opportunities to come to them. Instead, you need to reach out and create your own opportunity. In fact, don’t just reach out for the opportunity, seize it, research it and just grab it for everything its worth. What’s holding you back from accomplishing something you would generally like to do? Money? Then save up! Couldn’t you start bringing your lunch to work instead of going out if it means you get to see Italy at the end of the year? Fear? Fear is normal; everyone has fear of the unknown. It wouldn’t be an experience if you didn’t conquer something to get there. When was life supposed to be easy? It shouldn’t. You actually LIVE when you push yourself towards greatness. I’m terrified of heights and I pushed myself to go skydiving. Was it scary at first? Sure, of course it was, your body is programmed to NOT jump out of a perfectly good plane. To not be nervous, at least, just a little would not be human. I’m also terrified of swimming in the ocean, yet, I go scuba diving every year. My heart pounds so hard and fast before jumping into the water, but that exact moment when I cut through the surface and see the pristine and undisturbed world of the water, all those worries are washed away. So many times I’ve let opportunities slip by me because I was scared to go through with it, this is in reference to anything; new thrills, meeting new people, accepting a new job, basically anything I was “unsure” about. What I’ve learned since then is to just do it. You have gut reactions to everything and the mission is to listen to your gut in these types of situations and just completely ignore them. Sure, you can still be cautious about it, but put yourself out there and expose yourself outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes it’s only an hour of your time; no harm is created in one hour. In doing this, I’ve never regretted my choice and have seen and experienced amazing things through this mentality. Trust me; it’s worth every butterfly you feel.
Creating a life goal list for happiness isn’t about listing things that are scary or exciting such as skydiving. I have everything imaginable on this list that would create happiness in my life. I want to eat a lobster! Not a lobster tail, or stir-fry, I want a whole; crack the claws off, scene from the movie SPLASH, lobster. I have listed walking on hot coals, diving in the Great Barrier Reef and swimming in a great white shark cage on my list. However, I also have writing a book, donating blood and being a mother on my list. Whatever you choose to make yourself happy, it goes on that list. Why a concrete list? Goals are better served when they are written down for you to stare at. It’s just like a grocery list. You are GOING to buy the food on that list, but if you didn’t list eggs then the process of going down all the aisles might cause you to lose track of what you went to the store to get in the first place. Write everything down, look at it constantly and soon you’ll realize that you’re able to make yourself happy more than ever before. As soon as I created my list the opportunities for experiences have poured in. Without my concrete list I may have overlooked the opportunity when it presented itself.
I LIVE for my list; you should live for your goals as well. The difference between CAN and CAN NOT are only three little letters. THREE letters! These three letters can determine your life’s direction. What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? If you died tomorrow, would you be satisfied with your life stories or would you wish to accomplish so much more? For me personally, I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death.
I started living on March 18th, 2010.
“It seems to me that people have vast potential. Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don’t. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever.” – Philip Adams “The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity.” – Winston Churchill