The Bucket List

2

Like the rest of the world, when I saw the movie “The Bucket List” I was moved to tears and inspired into action.  I made my bucket list and surprisingly there were only a few things on it…

  1. Graduate college.
  2. Buy a house.
  3. Marry for true love.
  4. Raise my daughter to be confident, happy and full of love.

These were the truly important things to me that I had to accomplish.  I put my bucket list on the fridge, and there it sat…for years.

When I married my best friend, we had to relocate…the one bedroom, one bathroom my daughter (Punk) and I shared wasn’t going to cut it.  The bucket list came down on moving day and stuffed into a box like so many other things.  As we got settled in the new house and I was unpacking, I came across the list.

I stared at it.  After years of hanging on the fridge…I was finally able to cross something off of it!

  1. Graduate college.
  2. Buy a house.
  3. Marry for true love.
  4. Raise my daughter to be confident, happy and full of love.

WOW!!!!  I was impressed with myself…I had bought my first house!  Buying the house was a huge leap of faith for me, but I did it…and I had survived!

Finding my bucket list and being able to cross something off of it did something for me.  I liked how it felt to be able to cross something off!  I felt proud and accomplished!  Then it hit me…if I can buy a house, what else could I do?  I mean after all…a house is kind of a big deal!

I tucked that list inside a journal, and started adding to it when crazy things would pop into my head.  Pretty soon, my list started to grow…I realized it’s kind of a living breathing document.  As I grow and discover new things, it too will grow and change.

Six months after buying my house and moving in with my best friend, I married him.  Scuba is the second best thing that’s ever happened to me.  Marrying my best friend of 24 years allowed me to cross another thing off my list.  After all, we’d seen each other at our very best and at our lowest and we’d always stuck together and been there for each other.  If that’s not true love, nothing is!

Now, don’t get me wrong…I’ve done plenty of crazy stuff before, but it’s always been silly, teenager type of stuff.  I’m always the goofy, loud, crazy one…I just like to have fun too much.  I’ve always said “Life is not a spectator sport; it is meant to be lived!”  As I’ve “grown-up” and become a “responsible adult” my wild ways have calmed down…mostly because of Punk.  She has opened my eyes to an entirely new part of life I never understood.  I now know the true meaning of unconditional love…but…I digress.

I guess this is where once again, I throw caution to the wind and expose myself…NOT LIKE THAT!!!  Ewww!  Just kidding, just kidding!  It’s like this…if I put myself out there…maybe I’ll be a little more inspired or motivated to continue crossing stuff off my list.  Who knows…maybe someone else is in a situation similar to mine and this will inspire them to act instead of waiting and watching life pass them by.

So here you go…I’m sharing my bucket list with you…maybe you’ll be inspired a little to go play too!  I’ll try to write about some of these things, but as my name implies…I am a mom of four…life gets a little busy sometimes!

Things to do:

  • Write/Maintain a blog
  • Pull an airplane
  • Learn to knit
  • Learn to crochet
  • Learn Yoga
  • Meet DDP and have him help me (he’s made the offer, I just have to get off my ass!)
  • Ride on in a sled pulled by sled dogs
  • Pet a wolf
  • Feed a bear
  • Own a house
  • Graduate College
  • Get married
  • Buy a brand new car
  • The Polar Plunge
  • Run/Walk a 5K
  • Take up geocaching
  • Paint a picture

Places to see/visit:

  • Okunoin Cemetery—Mount Koya-san, Japan:  This UNESCO World Heritage site is a revered ninth-century cemetery created on the moss-covered valley floor of an eight-peaked mountain, so as to symbolize a lotus flower. The vast, forested burial ground is the spiritual home of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism, and is filled with over 200,000 stone stupas of all shapes and sizes (dome-shaped Buddhist shrines) and Jizo statues (protector of women, children, and travelers). The cemetery is centered around the mausoleum of the sect’s founder, Kobo Daishi, beautifully lit by some 21,000 lanterns (if you go, you can light one). Two of them are believed to have remained constantly ablaze for nearly 1,000 years. Adding to the otherworldly scene? It’s not uncommon to see devout Shingon Buddhists dressed all in white carrying a staff while wandering through the labyrinth-like cobblestone paths.
DCED52 Japan, Mount Koya, Koyasan graveyard, Okunoin, line of Bibbed Jizo statues in front of tombstones

Japan, Mount Koya, Koyasan graveyard

  • Bonaventure Cemetery—Savannah, Georgia:  The Bonaventure Cemetery was made famous as the cemetery on the cover of the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and appeared in the film version directed by Clint Eastwood. But this place has been drop-dead gorgeous since it opened in the mid-19th century. Even naturalist John Muir slept a few nights in here and wrote a chapter about it in his book A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf. The twisted trunks of the chimerical, 250-year-old oak trees stretch their twiggy, Spanish moss-covered limbs over the myriad paths and give this place a mysterious beauty unparalleled almost anywhere else in the United States.

bonaventurecemetery2

  • Australia
  • Tibet
  • Alaska (Denali)
  • Redwood Forest
  • The 4 Corners
  • The Grand Canyon
  • Bachelors Grove Cemetery
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Montana
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Persevere

6

So today I decided to test the magical ring I bought from EndorphinWarrior.com by going on a bicycle ride with daughter #2.  Magical ring?  Let me explain. 

I am a morbidly obese mother of four.  In my mind, I am still 135 pounds and unstoppable.  In reality, by body is in ruins.  I have chronic pain and crepitation in many of my joints and more “Mom stripes” (aka; stretch marks) than a pack of zebra on the Serengeti. I have come to realize a lot of things recently.  One of which is that just because I buy something doesn’t mean it’s going to magically start working.  I have purchased many “weight loss” items over the last 20 years.  Diet pills, memberships to gyms and weight loss groups, books, DVD’s, exercise equipment, food, shoes, clothes, etc.  It took 20 years for my epiphany.  I actually have to USE  these items or they don’t work!  They are simply tools in my shop.  I actually have to pick them up and use them in order for them to do their job.

Like so many other people, I was moved to tears and inspired by the Arthur Boorman video that went viral ( http://youtu.be/qX9FSZJu448 ).  Here was someone who was ready to lay down and wait for death, but instead found a means to survive.  We had things in common.  Both of us are veterans.  Both of us were/are overweight.  Both of us were/are depressed. Both of us struggled with injuries. Both of us are every day people.  He struggled.  He faltered.  He fell…but he got back up.  He fought for himself.  If he could do it, so could I!.  I went to the DDPyoga.com website and bought the Max Pack.  I could not wait for it to arrive!  I was going to be the next miracle!  I would be skinny and lean and awesome again!

The DVD’s arrived…I ran into my bedroom and opened the box, because I was too embarrassed to let my family know that I had purchased a weight loss/workout DVD (This would mean there were people in my home who knew about it and would hold me accountable).  I looked at the DVD’s and poster like a kid on Christmas morning.  I would start my life changing metamorphosis tomorrow!  I hid the poster and DVD’s under some clothes on my dresser so no one would see them.

Here we are…almost nine months later, and the DVD’s are still in their package…on my dresser. They haven’t performed their miracle yet…but that’s my fault. So…how does this all tie into the magical ring? I’m glad you asked.

As I said before, I went on EndorphinWarrior.com and ordered a ring for myself. It says PERSEVERE. I bought it in the largest size they carry which is a 10.0 it fits on the middle finger of my right hand. I put this magical ring on this morning, and nothing happened…no miracle.

Daughter #2 has cheer camp this week and due to my DH’s possible work schedule, she will not have a ride to get there. I had to come up with an alternate solution to this problem because I’ve already paid for cheer camp and it is one of the things that daughter #2 has her heart set on doing this summer. This is because tryouts are just around the corner for our city’s competitive cheer team. So, since daughter #2 is almost 14 years old…I figure it’s probably time I let her spread her wings a little. We live in a decent enough city and I found a route she can take that will allow her to be on sidewalks the entire time. I know, I know…a 13 year old and I’m making her ride her bike on the sidewalk? I like her! I want to keep her safe!

Anyway, in order for me not to have a panic attack, I figured it’d be a good idea to make the trip with her today. This way she could practice getting there and back and also practice locking up her bike for the first time. So, my DH got our bicycles down and off we went.

Now…I know I’m out of shape, but this is bicycling! I’m not having to run or walk, so my back won’t hurt. This is a good thing! Um, yeah. What I failed to remember is that my body would still have to do the actual work of moving the bike! I was good for the first five minutes…then the burning started in my Sartorius and Vastus Medialis (sorry had to put my college education to use! LOL! Ok, the muscles on the inside of my knee that run from the inside of my knee to the outside of my hip and along the inside of my thighs). OMG!!!! How could this be happening I asked myself. “DUH! LACTIC ACID IS BUILDING UP IN YOUR MUSCLES BECAUSE YOU NEVER USE THEM!” screamed my brain.

We made it to the park district building…with my thighs screaming in protest. As fast as I could, I hopped off my bicycle, put down the kick stand and collapsed onto the retaining wall bricks next to the bicycle rack. I started vigorously rubbing my thighs and flexing my feet in the hopes of deterring the charley horse cramps that were sure to follow. Daughter #2 asked if I was okay and after panting out a “Yep, just fine!” a little too overenthusiastically she gave me a weird look and put her bicycle in the rack.

I taught her how to lock it up from the retaining wall, and after she did, she was ready to go back home. I, on the other hand…was not. I was still panting…and hurting and conjuring up my inevitable failure of completing my ride home. I convinced daughter #2 to “practice” locking and unlocking her bike for about five minutes to buy myself some time. Finally she said “Quit stalling mom! I want to see if I can find my way home!”. I conceded defeat, and dragged myself up and realized I had sat on gum. My daughter started laughing, and I proceeded to try and reach around my body to remove the offensive blob of white gum on my brand new, black shorts.

After pulling off as much as possible and my daughter catching her breath from laughing so hard that she was doubled over, I begrudgingly climbed onto my bicycle. Ten minutes later, we were halfway home I was done. My mind was fraught with excuses on why I could and should stop. I was in pain. It was HARD! My legs were burning. My breathing was labored. I was sweating! My hands and arms hurt from the weight I was putting on them (did I mention I have tendonitis in my right elbow and a ganglion cyst on in inside of my left wrist?).

As I looked down at my hands…I saw the ring. The magical ring. It made me do something I didn’t think I could or didn’t want to do. It reminded me to PERSEVERE! With every pedal turn of the bicycle, I realized I was that much closer to home. I couldn’t give up…I’d been doing that to myself for years. If I could just make it the last few blocks. When I made it up the last hill, it was just a matter of not stopping. No more hills I reminded myself…almost there. We turned the corner and I could see our house. “Pedal” I told myself. “Just keep pedaling”. It’s not a race I reminded myself. I knew if I stopped I wouldn’t have the will power to start again, so I PERSEVERED! I didn’t stop pedaling until I was a block from home. I coasted the rest of the way with my legs on fire as they rested.

I pulled into my driveway with daughter #2 waiting for me. “Nice job Mom! You did it!” she said then held her hands up for a high five. In that moment I realized I had done it. I actually had made it! I didn’t quit on myself or let myself give up! She was proud of me, but more importantly I was proud of me!

Now…here I sit…painfully I might add…and realize that I just rode my bicycle for 1.57 miles…each way. Holy shit! I just rode my bike for 3.14 miles! The best part is I didn’t die! I did it!

I looked down at that ring again and realized that a simple piece of metal, gave me the strength I needed to do what I though was impossible. That ring is magic…it reminded me not to give up…not to quit…to persevere.