inspiration Wednesday Wishes

A Bucket List

November 6, 2014
In all honesty, I never cared for the term “Bucket List.” Maybe it’s the whole “hurry up and do this before you die”/morbidity feel to the actual term, but the meaning and idea behind it holds a lot of importance. (I’ve yet to come up with a different name for it, and “Life Goals” or “My Life’s To-Do List” both sound too proper and pretty boring, so the search continues.) I really do love the idea though, how it encourages the heart to dream, reminds you that you’re alive, and convinces the mind that anything is possible if you work really hard and just believe. (Insert Mariah & Whitney’s ‘When You Believe‘ here.) (I mean, right?! When I sing along to that song, I sound exactly like Whitney Houston, it’s the craziest thing.) 

When I was in middle school, I was gifted a book that was titled, “2001 Things to Do Before You Die.” Dude, talk about pressure, especially for an 8th grader whose daily goal was to just make it out alive from Mr. Hunter’s horrifying Health class (that’s a whole other post), but seriously- this book was really the first time I allowed myself to dream, write down those dreams, and start to believe that maybe, just maybe I could check them off one day. This book, this list, became so treasured and I kept it just for myself. It was my place to dream these “crazy” dreams and believe that just maybe they could one day come true.

But the older I got, the less I wrote down (or checked off) in the book. Maybe it’s because I got busy, but truly I think it’s because maybe I started to believe more in these supposed “rules” I’d been learning about and the adult instruction of “this is what grown ups do now,” and less in the dreams my heart still held onto. Why do we let ourselves do that? Why do we often times dream less the older we get? (We need to knock it off.) 
Fast forward, years later, when I sat on the front porch of my college house. It was senior year and I was getting ready to move to Chicago. As I packed away some of my things into boxes, I came across the book – the book that held all of my dreams and goals and hopes for my life… my adolescent “bucket list.” So I opened it… and couldn’t help but smile as I read through the list. There they were, one by one – the dreams I’d had as a young girl… many that had already come true
  • Go to college
  • Sing The National Anthem at a football game
  • Get a dog and name him Oooju Booju
  • Have a dance party on a weekday with as many people you can fit into your house
  • Remain best friends with “the crew”
  • Sign with Elite or Ford modeling agency
  • Be on a billboard
  • Be in a commercial
  • Walk in a runway show
  • Live in a big city

I sat there, shaking my head and smiling as I realized that these “crazy” dreams I’d once written down when I was only 14 – had actually come true. And you know what it did? Well, aside from it making me want to give praise (which I did, right there on the porch), it made me want to keep going. It made me want to keep dreaming, keep writing them down, keep working hard. And so, I did. Right then and there, I wrote down more dreams for my Bucket List. What’s funny is that the older I get, the more that list has way less to do with me and a lot more to do with others. And that makes me feel really happy 🙂
I don’t know why it’s so much easier to share some of the things written down only after they’ve happened… perhaps because they don’t seem as “crazy” since you can actually say, “That really happened!” but there is a part of me that likes to keep my list to myself. Are any of you guys that way? Sometimes I like to dream about the future and to just let it stay in my heart and privately written down in my journal. There is something to the written word, for sure, and so I will keep writing in this list. Maybe someday I’ll share what’s on my updated Bucket List (maybe when I come up with a better name for it), but the point of this post today wasn’t to say, HERE IS WHAT’S ON MY LIST (because you already know “eating chips and salsa with Michael Bolton” is on there – UM, IT IS.), but rather to remind myself and to encourage you to keep dreaming, keep writing it down, keep believing. 
I’m linking up today with one of my favorite bloggers, Anne from Love the Here and Now, for Wednesday Wishes (which I have renamed Thursday Wishes, since I’m late to the party). My wish today is that we don’t stop dreaming, that we don’t stop writing down our hearts desires. If you asked a 5 year old what things they wish to conquer in their life, they’re not going to give you some “realistic” or “real world” adult answer. They’re going to give you the answers that come straight from their heart. I want you to remember that as you start or add to your Bucket List today, okay? And I’ll do it too. Readyyyyy… GO.
*Also linking up w/ Momfessionals for the Bucket List linkup

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  • You know, I just recent came up with a list (a short list) of things for my son to do, but I never thought of doing one for me. Maybe I should!

  • I love that the things you wrote down as a teenager have actually happened, and I know I've said it before but your dog has the best name! 😀 I really love that you're taking a different approach to the "bucket" list…like you're making small goals for yourself. Eating chips and salsa with Michael Bolton is definitely do-able though! 😉 <3

  • I think it's time I did this. Great thoughts, Emily.

  • I love bucket lists! I agree, the name of it is kind of morbid lol! I'm always adding things to the list, or taking away things as I've done them. And I can totes see how you would sound like Whitney Houston 😉

  • Don't stop dreaming is right! Instead of a "bucket list" (which I dislike as well), I make small attainable goals each year – like… "take E to the American Girl store" or "eat breakfast in bed with the whole fam". So I guess those are mini-bucket-list items? 🙂

  • I have a "bucket list" of sorts. And I totally forget about it all the time… excuse me while I find it again.

  • Firstly, I have that song in my head and it won't leave until the end of time. Thanks for that. Secondly, I've always held onto my hopes and dreams because I want to challenge myself. It's a great way to sit back and re-evaluate where I am and where I hope to be without worrying what others may think!

  • That's crazy…I sound exactly like Mariah in "Hero." I love writing things like this down. It shows the progression and growth of life. But it's good to be reminded of the things that we dreamed about that got us to where we are today. Don;t let go of your jr. high list…it may sometime be the thing that propels you to keep dreaming and wishing! Thanks for sharing such a big piece of your heart.

  • Taylor Yates

    Love it! I found a list my 10th grade teacher had us all write as an assignment with 100 goals for our lives. It was so fun to read and see how many I'd already done and how many of my goals had changed as I had changed. I'm planning on revisiting it and revising every few years, and making sure I cross off some items, of course! Thanks for reminding me to go back and look at my own.


  • Suheiry Feliciano

    I feel the same way about the phrase "bucket list." I love goal lists, though. I like the idea of calling it a "Life To-Do List." 🙂

  • Bucket lists are tough. They are so morbid sounding! I loved doing my reverse Bucket list and seeing all of the things that I have already done. It let me celebrate those "victories" and enjoy them. By the way…all of your accomplishments are wonderful…you should be so proud! Some day I hope your dream of you and Micheal dining together comes true….and damn it there better be pictures!

  • Is it wrong that I started reading this comment and then the Journey song instantly popped into my head? I know it's Don't Stop Believing but it has been a long day….

  • Not going to lie… I was singing it when I read the post earlier today!

  • Yeah but were you doing dance moves?

  • I just might have to do a post like this. It's always good to think about what you have accomplished and to take stock of your life!!

    P.S. – serious thumbs up on the modeling agency stuff. I MEAN WOW!

  • Elizabeth Spenner

    I love this! You are so right…we tend to write things down less and less as we get older. Time just passes by. It would be neat to start one of these back up! Fun post to read! 🙂

  • That's SO sweet that you made one for your son 🙂 I definitely think you should make one for yourself though too!

  • haha!! Oooju Booju 😉 He responds to 'Oooj' most days but he knows his full name too, it's the cutest thing. (And YES to my dream with MB, right?!) 😉

  • DO IT!!! 🙂

  • It's uncanny. 😉

  • cute!! Mini or family sized, I think it's all good 😉

  • hahaha!!! SAME!!!

  • I think she should do it #fortheblog …. Vlog.

  • Hope you found it and added to it!

  • haha! It's an oldie but such a goodie, right?! And I agree with you… there is something to your dreams being written down in ink… like they become real or something 🙂

  • I knew we were friends for a number of reasons… I can see it now: Karaoke night and clearly we know our song choice.

    xo 🙂

  • That's awesome, I love that you still have that list! I wish I'd kept some of that stuff from school writing assignments. (I probably would've gotten a good laugh over some of the things I'd written down if nothing else, haha) 😉 Thanks for stopping by, Taylor!

  • I may just keep Life To-Do List then! 😉

  • I LOVED your reverse Bucket List… had I been thinking I would have noted that in this post… that's such a better name for it! And Anne…. you KNOW there would be pictures. Lots of selfies with MB… you know, casual. Just a couple a friends hangin' out kinda thing 😉 ha!

  • 🙂 Your notes/comments always make me smile and warm my heart, thank you for that. Cheers to many more days of dreaming!

  • Oh I hope you do, Ash!! I would love to read it!! (And thank you- your note made me smile 🙂 It was a fun time in life for sure!)

  • Well, and the thing is- I write down to-do lists literally every day… I need to get into the habit of writing both the daily to-do's and life to-do's 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Elizabeth!