On the last day of school my teacher had each student gather some momentos from our final year of elementary school to seal in a can for a decade. She said it would be fun someday to look back at what was important to us at this time of our lives. I stuffed my #10 can to the brim and sealed it tight.
Ten years later, my new hubby and I had a good laugh one night as we pilfered through the can contents dumped on the floor of our basement apartment.
Sixth grade ended with a big friend drama so I’d included several notes from my former best friend who’d recently ditched me for a new girl who moved in. I also included some journal entries with the play-by-play of the traumatic ordeal and my hopes that by the time I opened this time capsule we’d be back to BFFs. Regretfully, a decade later we still hadn’t reconciled, but I was okay about it.
There were goofy snapshots from my birthday slumber party, some poems I’d written, a notebook cover of graffiti about the boy I loved, including my hyphenated married name and several baby name options for us.
There was my first pair of pierced earrings and a list of favorites: Spaghetti O’s, Care Bears, Kevin Bacon, gymnastics and Jell-O.
I was twelve.
Of particular interest was a list of things I wanted to accomplish in life—my first “bucket list,” if you will.
I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast, graduate from BYU, be a school teacher, travel the world, get married and have a girl and a boy. By the time I opened the capsule I’d unfortunately missed my Olympic shot, but I was married and had a college degree from an upgraded school choice (Go Aggies!), and we had plans to start a family soon so I was pleased to be well on my way through the list.
Thirty years later, I’ve got my girl and boy plus a bonus girl, I’ve religiously watched Olympic gymnastics which I think totally counts, I didn’t become a school teacher, but as a mother isn’t teaching the bulk of my job? Perhaps not a world traveler, but I’ve been to 27 states and 3 foreign countries, which is respectable.
So, I did it!
I completed my 6th grade bucket list. I’m kinda proud of that.
There’s something powerful in writing things down. I think it internalizes them and channels your energy toward them.
Now I’m ready to make a new bucket list. Midlife does that. You’re on the downhill slope so you think about what you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” (That’s where the term “bucket list” comes from.)
My 6th grade list covered the big important life accomplishments, now perhaps I’ll go for more adventurous and capricious things, like sing the national anthem at a big event, pay for a stranger’s groceries, be a contestant on a game show, dye my hair platinum blonde, and drive a 5-ton army truck.
It’s fun to think about, isn’t it?
But don’t just think about it, write it down.