1. Fran Stekoll says

    I plan to give . I believe life was given to me as a gift. My Mother wasn’t supposed to conceive. Her tubes were closed. In 1934, the Doctor opened them and I got through. As soon as I did, they closed again. The reason I’m here is because I’m not all there!!!. Each time I give it comes back to me in so many other ways. I have made a bucket list and achieved some of those on it; but to me it is more precious to give to others. I have a friend who lost everything and gave me three things on her list. I have one more to complete for her. Life is too short to be short sighted. There’s so much to live for every day. I appreciate life before it’s taken away. A lifetime of laughing, loving, praying, living. Is mine for the taking, rewarded by giving!!! Happy Happy New Year!!!!

      • Hazel says

        In finishing someone else’s list, you are not living your own bucket list. You may see this as giving, but if the thing you are doing is not part of your own list, I see it as taking from you. You say you are a giving person, what are you giving to yourself? You are important to!

      • Fran Stekoll says

        A neighbor lost her car and her job and wanted a toaster oven, a TV and a bicycle. I was able to find these in yard sales at very low cost.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Fran, I love this story. I am also intrigued by what happened to make your friend lose everything. The items or bucket list goals are equally fascinating to me. I hope the rest of your life is all that you want it to be. I am heartened by the knowledge that there are giving, loving and dedicated people out there like you. Happy New Year you beautiful soul, you!

    • Ana says

      I too am intrigued by someone else passing on their bucket list and then adding those things to one’s own list. If the idea is to finish someone else’s bucket list without depriving your own, then and say go for it. I wonder how I would handle finishing someone else’s bucket list, and how doing so would enhance my life. Thank you for this Fran.

  2. Debbie says

    What an appropriate prompt for those of us still firmly embedded in the tradition of reflection and resolve as we start the new year!

    Bucket List Must Haves:
    1. Develop a flexible discipline that keeps me focused on those tasks and experiences that nurture and renew. Not an iron hand of rigid structure that makes the rebellious teen who still lives inside balk and procrastinate. Rather the soft glove of ritual that reinforces health on all levels; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
    2. Explore more substantial ways to “give back” to my loved ones, community and earth through volunteering time, engagement and resources. Find a cause, or causes, to which I can once again give without cynicism or doubt.
    3. Discover, develop and/or find an actual community, to augment the virtual villages to which I belong, where I can feel accepted and a sense of belonging. After more than half a century of proudly self-identifying as a “loner” , I have had the opportunity over the past year to explore a growing need for sense of community. While I recognize this drive is much weaker in me than some, just admitting the existence of this need has been quite a journey.
    4. Somehow collect and collate all of the disparate writing created over the years into some sort of cohesive whole. Over the past months I have deeply realized that there is no one person who holds my history – myself included. There are black holes of years void of light, memory or context. I have found it very grounding, and enlightening, to revisit some of the work from decades ago. As I look forward to distant (?) future, I anticipate wrapping up in the tapestry of my life finding warmth and comfort by bringing remembrances to my aging heart.

    Bucket List Nice to Haves:
    1. Learn to sail on the ocean!
    2. Go camping with friends, four-legged and two-legged in the western wildernesses
    3. Attend more writing retreats facilitated by Laura Davis!
    4. Travel to New Zealand on a walking tour and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
    5. Leisurely travel to the remaining US states where I have not been, with time to revisit some of my favorite and sacred places spread across the US
    6. Take a hot air balloon ride
    7. One more, at least once have a massage therapist as a lover…….

    • Terry Gibson says

      Amazing, Debbie! I sure relate to lots of that. If you want a Down Under travel companion, please ask. After all, we’ve been going over our basics in Aussie vernacular together, something I’ve enjoyed immensely, as you know. Maybe there will be a Kiwi who’ll fulfil the massage therapist/lover fantasy. Let me know, k? 🙂 I thought for sure that part was possible–given I easily fall in love with my massage therapists … and that Kiwi accent … Grr. Glad you’re going to gather your writings together. I always feel blessed to be a receiver of that. Wishing you love, lust, lots of massages, community, and that you can take every trip your heart whispers for.

    • Ilana says

      Debbie- What a beautiful list. I especially liked the idea of putting your writing into a cohesive whole. I am working on, well planning to, when I have time, print up and bind my responses to these posts. It represents quite a journey for me. Maybe you’re posting that will help push me to get going on it. Take care of yourself. IM

      • Debbie says

        Ilana – I so want to encourage you to collect your writing as well. Especially the posts on this blog over the last months. I have been so keenly aware of how your voice has shifted and grown stronger. Your creativity has flourished as you have taken “chances” – like the unbucket list – that you might not have done before. I have kept all of my posts -filed virtually – and enjoy reviewing my own journey of the past year. Remember the prompt about having a year to write….

  3. Olaitan says

    “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

    –Mary Oliver

    I’m not the kid in the back of the classroom waving his hand violently , practically falling out of his desk chair in anticipation of giving the right answer for this question. In fact, the prompt to make a bucket list made me shiver. This may make sense with the recent passing of my 60th birthday, but isn’t 60 the new 40 and what does that mean anyway? I only have one day, one moment at a time. Yes, I’ve told myself this periodically over the years and still I have been reluctant to name just what is really important. Years ago I remember not being able to choose between movies that my husband and I were planning to see. Inevitably, once he tossed the coin – even as it was in the air—I knew which I wanted to see more. Was it the narrowing of choices and the impending removal of all but one that made me get clear on my true desires? Do I have to be at the brink of no return in order to appreciate what is meaningful to me?
    As I type these words I am listening the Peter Allen’s album, “Pilgrim On Earth.” This was the music a dying woman chose to hear in the days before she died. I asked her husband for the music to listen to as I made quilts from her clothing, which were given as gifts to her loved ones. I knew this woman, although not well, and as I worked I wondered about her life, what she would have done and didn’t get a chance to do. I wonder the same about my mother who died last year.
    Sometime in her lengthy confinement, my mother asked one of my sisters “what it was all for?” I was horrified when my sister told me, but realized that I have the same question pending. What is this life all for?? And back to the prompt for today, what is on my bucket list? And even more pressing – what is my plan for my one wild and precious life? The notion that there is only one life and that it is precious stands out for me here. If I believed that and acted from that what would I do; what would I do differently? Who would I be? Would I stop wasting time? Would I do more or less? Focus. I would have focus. I would hang my clothing up every time and not waste time on the Internet or reading books . The Internet is a current obsession, but books go a long way back in my life. I could escape with each of those and not focus on myself, but some others’ ideas. One of the reasons I liked college and grad school, after returning as an older student, was that I could take others’ ideas but apply my own thoughts and focus on something of my own expression. That’s what I want, to notice my own focus and lead with that? How the heck does that have any meaning in life – a life where there are floors to wash, a house to maintain, bills to pay and a job for heaven’s sake. When I was a kid my father would have us clean the entire house, doing whatever could be done before we were allowed to rest and enjoy any part of the weekend. That weekend really didn’t include much of Sunday since there was church and then fairly clear lines of what was appropriate Sunday behavior and play. Sometimes I think I remember and imagine him far too harshly, especially when I consider the loose way I raised my daughters at least in terms of household duties. Going out and enjoying play and friends was always more important to me than cleaning house. That probably would be all well and good if I didn’t judge myself for not having a house from a magazine picture. And oh, I have digressed again.
    How I would plan my wild life is so far from what I have lived that I am afraid to speak on it. My eyes well up with tears and it’s hard to type… I haven’t done all the right things and followed all the rules, but I have lived inside many of the lines. I work a job and have worked for 40 plus years. It is amazing to read that number, 40 years. I am an artist and although I thought that in my early 20’s, I didn’t trust that it was true because I was afraid. I am still afraid. And so I distract myself with too much to do and nothing that gets done or so it seems, because if I don’t stop to assess what is good, what I could do and have done, then it is nothing.
    The one thing I would but on my bucket list: Don’t be afraid: Make art because it matters to you.
    And from there the lists goes on to items that reflect living my authentic life. I am looking for them every day.

    • says

      Olaitan, Welcome to the Roadmap blog! I loved reading your piece and was touched by your struggle. I like how you meandered down to giving yourself the advice you needed to hear–Don’t be afraid and Make art because it matters to you. It’s not too late. You can still waver outside the lines.

    • Barbara Keller says

      Yes that’s the struggle. Figure out what we want, focus and allow ourselves to do it. You summed it up and I didn’t even get to the question. Thanks so much.

    • Debbie says

      Olaitan – you have opened many doors with all of your questions! However, this one line stands out for me:
      “The one thing I would put on my bucket list: Don’t be afraid: Make art because it matters to you.”
      I was really attracted to this sentiment. It is never too late to learn to live outside the lines. It is never to late to choose faith over fear. In fact, now is the perfect time….

    • Ana says

      Welcome and thank you for letting us in. Your struggles rings true for me as well. I loved particularly the last two lines of your piece – they can almost be an montra of sorts. Thank you for sharing your authentic thoughts. I wonder what those thoughts would look as a painting, or whatever other form of art you practice.

  4. Hazel says

    All my life all I have wanted to do is travel, and I have, a lot. Now with limited mobility it is way more difficult. But I have found a way to travel those roads again, I will write about them, as they were then. Is it possible that my computer has become my time machine? I find as I am growing rather old – 76 – my memory of the places and time I have traveled through are becoming sharper, or perhaps it is just that I am allowing myself to let my mind go back over events and places more slowly and glean the things that are there. I want to put these things down on paper in a coherent, and interesting manner so that I can get something published before I die. Not just self-published as I have done with the 4 other books I have written. To help do this I am planning to attend Laura’s Common Weal workshop this summer. Writing and creating a few art objects has become my way of life.

    The bucket list:

    1. Finish the book I am working on (create) and have it (share) published.

    2. Continue to create and share my artwork.

    3. Love and Be Loved.

    4. Attend the Common Weal workshop with Laura Davis this summer.

    • says

      Hazel, your post gave me a lot of hope–that my memory of past events may actually grow sharper with age instead of fading into the black hole of my failing memory….and I’m so glad you’ll be coming to Commonweal this summer!

    • Debbie says

      You are going to love Commonweal!! I attended for the first time last summer and am still resonating with the sense of community and learnings I gained. I share Laura’s hopeful comment that there may be more clarity about the past as I age. So many pieces are missing already. Thanks for sharing your list

    • Terry Gibson says

      Hazel, I find your list to be inspiring and I’m excited you will be at Commonweal. I look forward to meeting you and enjoying classes with you among that dynamic group of writers.

  5. Barbara Keller says

    The Things I’d Like To Do Before I Kick It

    Thanks for this prompt because I learned something important. I divided my list into 1. Something I would like to do that is in the realm of possibility. 2. Utterly ridiculous, but longings none the less. and 3. Stuff I’d like to do but isn’t important at all.

    What I found, on this good day, is that there isn’t much I’m wanting to squeeze in before I die. In list (1) are these few things. I’d like to get my gluten free cookbook out there somehow, in print-on-paper and in stores or digital on-line. It’s good, I’m proud of it, and I think it would help people. I’d like to finish another book, not just start another one. I’d like to make a little money from the newspaper. I like to spend more time with my grandchildren who are not very accessible to me for perfectly ordinary reasons. Nothing dramatic. I’d like to go to Washington DC and see my mom one more time. I’d like to be closer to my brother.

    On list two, and calling to me from “don’t be ridiculous land” are these things: I’d like to start over, get along with my parents, marry well, have several functional children and better health. And possibly a little glory from my various work – writing, art, music. Oh, and learn to play the violin.

    List three includes things like: See some Greek islands, and Hong Kong before the British left and – yeah, mostly travel and taste food in famous restaurants. The reasons I don’t are valid, I get scared and lonely traveling alone. I can’t afford it. And I often get sick eating in restaurants because of the gluten issue. And I don’t really care much at all about actually doing these things.

    So I learned I’m more content than I realized and for that I’m grateful. I have an amazing life, full of adventure everyday, and challenge and satisfaction. It is in many ways exactly what I dreamed of all my life, so I think I’m good to go.

      • Barbara Keller says

        Thanks Laura. I love the way you find something positive in every piece of writing. Thanks so much. I felt pretty good until I read all the Christmas posts and cried for 2 hours. Not bad crying, but oh, my, a lot of feelings.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Barbara, I always love reading what you post! The “kick it” thing made me giggle. The breakdown rocks. Stuff from “Don’t Be Ridiculous Land.” I’ve got lots of those. Did I ever get to tell you how very much I appreciated your presence and loved laughing with you at Commonweal? In case you don’t know, I think of you often and send you good energy and warm wishes at all times. If your book becomes available, just send me the link, k? Happy New Year! 🙂

      • Barbara Keller says

        Terry, that was kind and I really liked it so I’m sorry to say I think you’re thinking of someone else. I was never at Commonweal. I don’t even know what it is. But thanks for confusing me with someone who’s been helpful to you. Anyway, you liked this post and that was me. Thanks, Happy New Year to you.

        • Terry Gibson says

          Barbara, I’m a little embarrassed. But, you know? All the writing on here under your name still fascinates me, holds me, and resonates with me. That’s all you, my new friend. And I often thought of you after you were healing from your surgery. Wrong face and person. But still the right person. Now how do we get you to Commonweal? 🙂

          • Barbara Keller says

            Thanks for the post surgery thoughts. Really. I guess we start by you telling me what it is. thanks. Barb

    • Ilana says

      Barbara- What a beautiful list and what a lovely closing. “So I learned I’m more content than I realized and for that I’m grateful. I have an amazing life, full of adventure everyday, and challenge and satisfaction. It is in many ways exactly what I dreamed of all my life, so I think I’m good to go.” I found it so heartening at a time when I’m struggling and needed just that. Thank you. I was also touched by the exchange between you and Terry. It was so positive and sweet. (Terry is a doll and a half. 😉 ) Thank you both for sharing it with the rest of us. IM

  6. Eve says

    Oh boy- a bucket list, huh? Though I have been with many people as they journey off into the unknown, I still have a hard time seeing my own ending…

  7. Dianne Brown says

    My Bucket List In Order of Importance at This Moment

    I would love to experience living in peace with all mankind—the kind of peace that allows free energy and open technology for everyone.

    The book I wrote: The Cowgirl Princess and Starwalker: My Mother’s Story has deeply affected my daughter. My daughter is a long-time anorexic. She is 47 years old and over half of her life has been dedicated to not eating more than 200 calories a day. She had, and raised, 3 sons who are doing very well in the pursuit of their careers. My daughter is in some sort of remission and is, like Sleeping Beauty, awakening to new emotions and feelings. She has fallen in love with the last chapter in my book and has agreed to co-write a story—probably an illustrated children’s story—from the epilogue. I want to rejoice in seeing her become self-reliant and healthy before I die.

    I want to feel the joy in seeing my husband realize his greatest dream come true.

    I want to finish at least five more books.

    I have my red dancing slippers to wear at the time of my death, but I haven’t found the dancing gown yet. I want to have all that in place before I die, so that when I am found dead, with a smile on my face and fully decked out in my gown and red shoes, it will be assumed that I purposefully danced my way to another dimension.

    I want to visit some of the areas in Germany where my great grandparents lived before coming to America in the early 1800s.

    I want to own a condo in Grand Haven, right on the beach of Lake Michigan.

    I want to visit some of the high-energy places in the world like the Stonehenge, Pyramids, Peru’s Nazsca Lines, Machu Picchu, Easter Island, and other places we cannot totally explain.

    I want to die with no regrets, and still have erasers on all my pencils.

    If I am going to “kick the bucket” unawares, I want to be wearing either ballet slippers or clogging shoes with huge taps on the toes and have a No. 2 pencil clasped in my left hand.

    I spent a lot of time thinking about my list. Each one is a sincere desire for me–even the gown and dancing shoes. (I really do have the red shoes waiting for its waltzing gown partner.)

    • Ilana says

      Great list Dianne- I love the image of the dancing shoes. I have to admit, though, my favorite entry, because it is one I relate to so well, is “I want to feel the joy in seeing my husband realize his greatest dream come true.” What a gift it would be to see my Zander succeed like that. I think this really reached out to me and pulled me in. Thanks for posting. IM

  8. Hazel says

    This isn’t a number on my bucket list as I posted before but I must share this with you all.

    Yesterday, New Year’s Day, I was calling relatives and friends as I usually do on that day and when I called my brother we talked. As I hung up the phone I realized that he had told me for the first time that his wife is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. I knew she was but his pride would not allow him to tell me himself. He sounded stressed and even though his daughter was there to help him (I could hear an argument going on in the background and he stopped several times to intervene.) things were not going smoothly. He is two years younger than I am and has been fiercely independent all his life. He is prideful and judgmental. But, in spite of these things we have always been good friends and I have enjoyed his warped sense of humor all these years.

    Every day now for nearly a year I have been sending him pictures that I have taken, jokes, and bits of information I find of interest or amusing. He has seldom acknowledged these daily e-mails which I call “The Daily Do Little”. Yesterday he told me how much it meant to have those e-mails to give him some “normal insanity”, some laughs in the midst of all the turmoil. I was amazed! I thought I was just sending out my silly stuff into the ether for my own amusement. He asked me to please keep sending them even if he doesn’t answer because it is just too hard to find time to sit down and write and it means so much to him. Before we hung up I told him “you know I am always here for you and if you just need to talk, call anytime.” “Even at 3 o’clock in the morning?” “Yes, I will talk to you any time you call.” “Thanks” I could tell by his voice that he meant it and that he really might call. Male pride of having everything under control and taking care of everyone’s needs is hard to break through.

    You just never know how much some small thing you do is going to mean to someone else.

    Made my New Year start off right.

    • Beverly Boyd says

      Thank you for this very touching and inspiring share. I have tears and a big lump in my throat!
      By the way as far is this prompt is concerned… isn’t this about #3 on your bucket list: “Love and be loved?”

    • Ilana says

      What a beautiful lesson. Mind if I quote you on that one? “You just never know how much some small thing you do is going to mean to someone else.” Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of how you were able to be there for your brother. It meant a lot to me as I struggle so intensely with my relationship with my own brother. IM

    • Terry Gibson says

      I also love this story. Very much. It made me smile and feel happy. Thanks so much, Hazel! Small things do make a huge difference and they are often mutually beneficial, even if we don’t hear about it right away. I had one of these happen to me two days ago. I’d love to share it and will if I’m not hogging space. I’ve been too wordy in my comments of late, I think.

    • Debbie says

      Hazel – how lovely that your thoughtfulness and persistence brought your brother some laughter during this difficult time and reminded him of your caring. When men, or anyone, finally realize there is no controlling what is inevitable in declining health of a loved one – it can be a shattering experience. I am glad he has you for comfort!

  9. Dianne Brown says

    Hazel, thank you for sharing about your brother. It brought my relationship with my father to mind. Sometimes it is the little consistent things we do that brings words of gratitude from those lips that have always been stoic and in control. What a blessing to have heard him express to you his gratitude. It makes my heart sing!

    • Hazel says

      Yes, I think stoic is the right word. My brother has always been there for everyone else and it is so hard for him to accept that we are there just as much for him.

      Thank you all for your comments and it makes me happy to share. When we share we find that we are not alone and that many others are experiencing the same sorts of things.

      Thank you all again.

  10. Polly says

    This prompt presented more of a challenge, but I’m not one to shy away from those. Incidentally I have a feeling 2013 will have several challenges and I think I’m up for the task. I have to be.

    Some are slightly mundane but still important:

    Start using the gym membership I have been paying for for the past two years.

    Quit smoking – once I deal with a few demons. It’s not very pc I know but right now this is how I get my “me time” and moments of space to breathe.

    Play with my dogs, every day.

    Get to work on time consistently. I always make up the time, but still …

    On to more intense yet more elusive things:

    Breathe ….

    Be present, love myself more often so I can be there for those I love.

    Exercise boundaries.

    Stop trying to please so much. This one is not easy.

    Say hello to that little girl. She just needs to know that she’s going to be okay. That she’s safe now. No matter how much it pains you when you see her in the mirror. She needs your love.

    (This rant may have gotten away from me.) Laugh more. Trust myself. Write.

    Happy New Year to all of you.

    • Polly says

      Had to walk away and feel for a few minutes. Now I’ll finish up with this more coherent thought: become engaged politically again, and write pieces that matter in that context.

      • Terry Gibson says

        I relate to much of your list, Polly. This quote resonates with me, “No matter how much it pains you when you see her in the mirror. She needs your love.” I find that one especially hard to handle. What do you say we all whup 2013’s butt? Everyone game?

        • Polly says

          Terry – it’s a deal! I am game for ‘whupping’ some butt. ha. And thank you for relating to that. I’m learning that seeing the devastated little girl in oneself is actually fairly common among survivors, and not a sign that I am losing my mind. This whole experience is completely surreal. Seeing the strength of you and other posters in here is quite inspirational. Thank you.

    • says

      Polly, I loved this part of your response: “I have a feeling 2013 will have several challenges and I think I’m up for the task. I have to be.” I can fully relate to that! I just put my mom in assisted living this week (near me) and my youngest child, a daughter, will be applying to college in 2013. It’s going to be a big year with me in the sandwich generation in the middle. And yes, “Its my life and I have to show up for it!”

    • Debbie says

      Polly – I enjoyed your list and was especially touched by these lines:

      “Say hello to that little girl. She just needs to know that she’s going to be okay. That she’s safe now. No matter how much it pains you when you see her in the mirror. She needs your love”

      I felt I was peering at her over your shoulder. Or maybe that was my own mirror I was looking into. Thank you for sharing that with us – and me!

  11. Polly says

    Laura, thank you so much for finding something positive to say about that way-too-public meltdown! This week has been tricky in a lot of ways. I might try for a do-over where I follow the actual instructions (ie. real bucket list, not new years resolutions in the form of a meltdown), or just write something at least more disciplined if not actually polished after next week’s prompt.

    Your coming year does sound incredibly challenging, but I can see that you have the best possible perspective on it. It’s great that your mom will still be nice and close. You must be so proud of your daughter, as well!

    I will definitely show up for my life. Thanks for that.

    • Ilana says

      Polly- I applaud you for your honesty and willingness to share. I don’t see anything wrong with this piece. It was very thought provoking. However,as I found a few weeks ago in the “Two Wolves” prompt, this community is very welcoming of “do overs” so to speak. I look forward to reading what you come up with next. IM

      • Polly says

        Thank you, Ilana! I like the principle of “do-overs” on occasion, and will see what I can come up with. I truly appreciate how accepting this community is of raw honesty, in whatever form it takes. I hope to hone my craft over time; (there was a time when writing was as natural as breathing for me and I would love to return to that), and this is an incredible avenue in which to do just that.

    • Debbie says

      Polly – one of the first things I remember about Laura was her giving us permission to write “crap” sometimes. In fact, kinda challenging us that if we wrote frequently and with enough volume – it was really inevitable some of it would be crap. That was so freeing for me. I had always been so shy and afraid to share what I wrote because it felt unfinished, uneven, uninteresting….. fill in the negative adjective, you get the point. So with Laura’s permission to post something less than “perfect” or “wonderful” – I have found the courage to contribute to this community. It has been SO freeing and healing.

  12. Ilana says

    Do I Need a Bucket List?

    I don’t have a bucket list, never did, actually. At first it was just not something that ever occurred to me. When my friends talked about theirs I didn’t even wonder why I didn’t want to make one up for myself. It just wasn’t for me.

    It’s a pretty popular idea though. Most of my friends have them. Once when I said I wanted to do something my friend asked me, “Oh are you going to put that on your bucket list?” I suddenly got very angry. Though I kept my voice calm my mind screamed. I don’t have a bucket list! And you can’t convince me I need one!

    Wow. That’s a pretty intense response, Ilana. Why does it matter so much? I began to really think about why I feel so strongly. Then it came to me. There is a very specific reason why I will never have a bucket list. And here it is.

    For the past year I have been working very hard to overcome the incest, psychological and physical abuse I suffered as a child. I have learned so much about myself, challenged so many negative beliefs… and disproven all of them. So many “I can’t”s have turned into “I did”s. My lovely Zander teases me proudly, “If you ever say ‘I can’t’ I’m going to laugh at you. My wife can do ANYTHING she sets her mind to.” With this new power I have done things I always wanted to do but was too afraid to try, and I didn’t stop there. New hobbies have come to me out of nowhere. I never had an interest in learning to mold chocolate. Yet that is my newest passion. I started with just plane chocolate and simple molds but soon moved on to using white chocolate; coloring it and learning how to swirl different colors together. Now I’m experimenting with adding flavors too. With no instructions, I figured out how to put peanut butter inside of the mold with the chocolate, creating fancy peanut butter cups in beautiful shapes. The creative juices are flowing and it feels glorious!
    Why would I want a bucket list? I love that my interest and passion is sparked by something that yesterday had no place in my world. It’s like getting on a rollercoaster that is so intricate and unpredictable that I’m soaring down the hill long before I’ve even realized it’s there. I feel alive. I feel excited. I feel free.

    “Except when I don’t because sometimes I won’t.” To loosely quote Dr. Suess. As exciting and exhilarating as all this sounds, I am still healing from something truly awful. I still have the flashbacks. I still have the self hatred. I still have the anxiety attacks and the moment of devastation so intense that suicide sometimes seems like a plausible means to end my pain.

    In reflecting upon these intense moments of pain, the most recent of which was less than 12 hours ago, I have come to the conclusion that I need an “anti-bucket list”; things I plan never to do again. So without further ado, here is my “anti-bucket list”.

    1. I will never again go against my better judgment and let someone scare me into actions I do not truly believe in.
    2. I will never again let someone else determine my self worth.
    3. I will never again deny myself the protection I deserve for the sake of not offending those I need protection from.
    4. I will never again let anyone tell me that I can’t do something. If I truly want to accomplish something I CAN and I WILL.
    5. I will never again submissively hold my breath and wait for an assault to be over. If someone tries to hurt me I will put a stop to it and make it clear this is not something that will be tolerated.
    6. I will never again, let someone else tell me how to feel.

    And one more; I will never again give up or punish myself if I fail to hold true to these goals. I will step back, regroup and try again.

    So I guess I did need a bucket list after all. My pleasures, my joys; they will come freely, without a predetermined list. I will mold chocolate when I feel the need to mold chocolate. I will sketch, cross stitch, cook, bake, dance and do anything else that tickles my fancy, when the time is right for me. I will get my PhD, submit my book for publication, drive cross country by myself; if and when the time feels right. BUT I will start working on my anti-bucket list right away because the time is always right to take ownership of my self-concept. The time is always right to take control and honor my rights as a human being. The time is always right to learn how to love myself.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Ilana, in between spurts of health issues for me, I’ve been worrying about you, so I’m thrilled to see this post today. Your anti-bucket list idea could catch on and ‘go viral’. It works for me and I’ll probably work on one too. I have no doubt that you’ll do every single thing you set your mind to; I saw that in your eyes the moment we met. I like this quote “I will never again give up or punish myself if I fail to hold true to these goals. I will step back, regroup and try again.” That is my strategy every day. Sit still. Cool off. Rethink. Start anew. I know you’ll continue to blossom, grow, and evolve into the person you are meant to be. Happy New Year to you.

      • Ilana says

        Happy new year to you too, Terry. I hope this year is filled with delightful surprises and successes for both of us. What I noticed about you the moment we met is your sweet calming voice. I still hear it sometimes when I think of you. Take care of yourself. IM

        • Terry Gibson says

          Thanks Ilana. I hope my calming voice sticks with you in tough times. The day, event, or place may be different but the message I’d give you would always be the same. “Ilana, you are a strong, resilient, beautiful person and dedicated, loving mother. Please love and nurture yourself because you deserve nothing less.”

    • says

      Simply, bravo! What a compelling, honest and wonderful response to this prompt. I hope others take your lead and write their anti-bucket lists, too. “I will never again….”

      • Ilana says

        That’s high praise, Laura. Thank you. I will continue to work on my ‘anti-bucket list’. You’ve really started something with this prompt! Thank you, IM

    • Polly says

      Ilana, this is powerful and brave. I am continually inspired by your work. You have a wonderful gift. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Eve says

      That was utterly awesome!!! I love your anti-bucket list & will put some of your ideas to action in my life too. Thanks for that…

    • Debbie says

      Oh my goodness – Ilana – this is totally terrific!! Okay there are lots of great lines in your work but I have to focus on the last one:
      “The time is always right to learn how to love myself” Hear! Hear! And there is no time like the present! I really liked your original take on the anti-bucket list. PLUS I can hear your voice grower stronger, more self-assured, and feel you stepping into your creative, loving power. Moments of despair do not cancel out what you have achieved! Wow – great post!

  13. Terry Gibson says

    My Bucket List

    From the almost-scorching-my-fingers-its-so-tangible department –

    Writing Goals –
    Finish a solid first draft of my memoir.
    Keep working on a cohesive work of poetry for publication before release of memoir.
    Work on something funny like A Day of Musings with @Bookmark_Terry.

    Very Important Non-Writing-Related but Equally Attainable Zone –

    Get my health back! This I MUST do. I’m in serious trouble if I don’t make this top priority. Without that, lots of the other life goals aren’t possible.

    In the Not-Too-Wingnut-ish Realm of Possibility –

    Make money so I can keep travelling, studying, and immersing myself in healing, nurturing and intellectually stimulating environments.

    Take a hot air balloon ride, something my partner has made clear I will do Alone.

    Take a long flight overseas — Bali perhaps — and ride in one of those podlike seats. That’d be awesome to try out!

    For fun only — nothing intentionally activist- or abuse-related –start writing a purely fictional novel where I can fashion out on the page some of the imaginary places and people who live in my head.

    Have some time all Alone in a remote place to just live. Simply. Actively. Surrounded by love I give and receive. It’s top priority that I feel completely SAFE there. No worries about my well-being or those I care for in any way.

    Play baseball with my Commonweal friends, get a grand slam, steal two bases and slide into home faster than a bolt of electricity–all in two plays.

    Take a scuba-diving lesson and engage my lifelong fascination with life below the surface of the ocean.

    Do a stand-up comedy gig . . . just until my inevitable fainting spell.

    Learn to love myself better. Accept my frailties, flaws, and the inevitability of making mistakes (without assuming that automatically means I’m everything negative I was once proclaimed to be). Keeping these ‘muscles’ taut so I don’t inadvertently slip backwards and lose more precious time.

    Find some way to get my teeth fixed so I’m not hyper-conscious of speaking in public or holding back big smiles.

    Practice video-taping myself speaking, and somehow finding tolerance with the ‘product’ so I can embrace v-logging and actually talking to people more fully.

    Figure out what religion fits for me. Or, let that part go and just continue practice of the spirituality I now observe daily and with passion.

    Love and cherish people and let ’em know it.

    Gain self-acceptance in some sustaining way and truly forgive myself.

    Not Too Likely Department –

    Find time and money to finish my degree. To do this for the sake of learning, and filling in gaps in my understanding, not to say I got that paper.

    To stop feeling ‘less than’ others, instead of ‘equal to.’

    Go to the DRC and other parts of Africa. I’d like to meet to visit some FB friends of many years. Also, I’d like to spend time with organizations that take care of children and women rescued from human trafficking. This would also include visiting women in hospital and healing from physical and emotional trauma.

    Travel to Nepal, India, Greece. Must go to Jamaica to experience what it’s like to be in a women-positive atmosphere.)

    I would like to have enough money to anonymously open a beautiful facility where women who just need a few weeks or month of generalized healing time get just that. Of utter importance, if women can’t pay, they don’t.

    With this imaginary loot, I would also donate to organizations I believe in, especially ones for women that continually face funding cuts; I did this with my criminal injuries compensation money years ago and would give anything to do so again. There are just so many run by incredible people who get overlooked!

    I’d buy another pair of shoes and a hybrid car.

    To thought-stop when I tell myself I’m damaged and ugly.

      • Terry Gibson says

        Thanks Laura. I appreciate it. It is positive and real too. I’m happy. One correction though: Those last two points should not be in the realm of impossibility. They belong in the Not-Too-Wingnut-ish list. 🙂

    • Ilana says

      Terry- What a great list. I love how it is divided up into how likely they are to happen. I hope that your ‘not possible’ will move into the ‘possible’ range. By the way, you aren’t damaged and ugly. You are a beautiful person who clearly wants to give to this world. Thanks for everything! IM

    • Missy says

      Africa is the first place on my list, hopefully this summer.

      Well, ok, after Disney World. Went there a long time ago. I’m not too young!

    • Debbie says

      Terry – my first reaction when I read this post is that it was so authentically “you”. The humor, the desire to make the world a better place, caring for those less fortunate, making sure those you care about know it. IT is at once both straightfoward and intricate. I had to laugh at the image of the Commonweal gang playing baseball! Let me know when you book the first stand up gig – I want to be in the first row!

      • Terry Gibson says

        Thanks Debbie! I’m ready to crawl into bed and your post gave me the smile I need before a deep sleep whisks me away (crossing my fingers). The baseball sounds great to me; I’m already getting our tee shirts done. What position do you want to play? Stand up gig? I think my email program will falter on that day so nobody gets invites. But I’ll work on that one. Promise.

  14. Missy says

    I want to travel and see the places I have dreamed of. I want to expand my mind. I am going to see them in person with my own eyes, experience it myself, not through a picture. I am going to do things for me without wondering what others will think of me or what I am doing. I am free.

    • Hazel says

      The best part of that is being able to remember all the places that you have been and see them as real as they were when you were there as you age. Then you can write about them with accuracy from those pictures you have snapped in your head.

  15. Polly says

    Take 2:

    Heal …

    I will finish that degree once and for all, (I have gotten distracted by life and stopped – oh – a few times), and go on from there to pursue post-graduate studies in journalism. Then work as a journalist in a capacity that will allow me to further equality and human rights in some way.

    Find my voice again, and I won’t let it waiver.

    I will spend a tremendous amount of time in New York, because you can never quite spend enough time in New York. I might even live there for a few years.

    Go to Ireland. Go to Scotland and visit the land of my ancestors.

    Write, write, write.

    I will dip my toes in every ocean.

    I will climb a mountain. Go hiking more. Stop and notice the beauty around me. Be present in my body to make that more possible.

    Move back to Vancouver and ultimately settle down there with my wife. I love and miss the west coast.

    Become completely fluent en français encore – and one day learn a third language.

    Travel overseas.

    Reclaim poetry.

    Live with abandon.

    Meet Barack Obama (or at least one day hear him speak in person). (Slight platonic ‘man-crush’.)

    Learn every day.

    Be inspired and/or fascinated, by something every day.

    Perhaps one of the more self-indulgent items on this list – which I am certain I will never do although it’s interesting to imagine: Walk up to my brother (who was 20 when I was 6) and kick him in the balls, and then without a word, walk away. He would know exactly why, even if no one else clued in.


    • says

      I love the diversity of your list, including the last item. Just want you to know I’m putting together a writing retreat in Scotland next August from the 10th to the 20th. I’ll be posting it soon. Maybe I can witness your joy in setting foot on that land next summer.

      • Polly says

        Laura, that would be amazing! I’m not sure if I’ll be able to afford it this year, though. Once you get the details up, I will have a look. The video of it looks so great. I might even start out smaller with one of your weekend retreats in CA – also a place I’ve never visited.

        Thanks again for your wonderful encouragement.

    • Ilana says

      Great list, Polly. My favorite is dipping your toes in every ocean. I’m pretty much a homebody but it still sounds enticing. I also like the idea of going hiking, stopping to notice the beauty around you and staying present in your body to make that all the more possible. Might steal that one from you. 😉 IM

      • Polly says

        Ilana, you should steal it! Thank you. I tend to be a homebody myself – I spend as much time in pj’s as I can on weekends. I like to dream about traveling though. I’ve covered a lot of Canada, the US, and a small part of Mexico. Time to expand 🙂

    • Debbie says

      Wahoo! What an ending! Polly – I started with one of Laura’s 8 hour writing retreats that was a feast of food and words! I was totally hooked. I have had the blessing of lots of travel in my professional and personal life – mostly within the US. There is so much to see and experience in this country with an amazing amount of diversity. And California is like three destinations in one. I hope you get to come to a CA retreat with Laura!

      • Polly says

        PS Debbie I keep coming back to this prompt to try to respond to each of your comments to me individually but can’t come up with words that do them justice. So I’ll just say thank you. I can tell you are someone who truly listens and who has so many valuable things to say. I really appreciate that. Take care,


  16. Eve says

    As I started on a huge list of all the stuff I would like to accomplish, I realized that I only have one thing left to do. I must trust God, believe and allow Him to heal me. I have been destroying this beautiful temple that He has given my soul to reside in. The good times are killing me. Now in this leg of my journey, I want to surrender to Him and see what He has in mind for my bucket list.
    As I continue to learn more about the de-population agenda that is taking place in the world, I know that I have to do something about it—but what? What can I do?? This is something that has had decades to transpire and is now in the final stages of its evolution. When I became a critical care nurse nearly 20 years ago, I could feel that something was dreadfully wrong. It has become very concrete in the last 10 years as to what it taking place. We, the general population, have been targeted by the global elite. We are being tortured & killed by the medical system.
    I have had enough time to consider both sides of the dilemma. I can see that indeed we do have a population crisis on our planet. My heart goes out to those who have had to make these decisions. The biggest problem that I am having with it is the overly heroic actions we take once the poisons have taken their effect on our bodies. We paralyze people with a quick injection. Now they cannot move their body at all. They cannot scream or cry while they feel surgery take place on them while they are awake. This is one of the scariest medical practices that I have ever witnessed. I am a huge advocate for my patients and will demand that sedation & pain killers be administered, but many of us just don’t get the gravity of what is taking place to our patients.
    There is no informed consent during these emergent life saving heroics that we do. Most of the time the patient dies anyway, but only after being tortured. At the same time, I am learning that this is all by design. There had to be a more humane way to solve the population crisis! We are not just killing people off, we are torturing innocent people and calling it medicine.
    This is more of a life mission than a bucket list, but I will stand up for global society & our right to thrive. I will start with me by putting my health in God’s hands. I have learned the health plan that God provides for my healing, but have not acted on it myself yet. It is time!!! I will surrender to His will. I will take what He has taught me so far and put it into action in my life right now.

    • Eve says

      In the 10 years that I have learned about holistic health care, the two most profound healing teachers that I have found are Dr. Loraine Day & Dr. Max Gerson.
      Dr. Loraine Day has a website that tells her story. Dr. Max Gerson healed himself of severe migraines with his nutrition plan. He then found out that it healed cancer & everything in between. He wrote a book called A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 cases. This was a testimony that he brought to the senate in 1958. He healed 50 patients that had been deemed in-curable by allopathic doctors (our medical system), and sent home to die. He was able to cure them with his migraine diet. The next year he was poisoned & his information suppressed. His daughter Charlotte Gerson is now 90 years old & is still teaching people how tho heal themselves. Check out for more information about him.
      Happy New Year

    • Ilana says

      Eve- I love how you realized what one thing was most important to you. This is so passionate. I’m sure you will accomplish your goals.

  17. Ana says

    When I first saw this prompt I thought, ugh. My level of hopelessness is coloring most things these days. I’ve thought of bucket lists in the past (and probably even wrote one somewhere), but never really believed in its potential (which means I didn’t believe in mine). What a cocktail, huh: hopelessness + not believing = hopelessness + not believing. But traveling on the train one way 1 ½ hours from my miserable job to home, I took out a piece of paper. I wrote the below list, now in order. Every want requires work…at least for me, things don’t just land on my lap. I have to work and meet them, at the very least, half way. This is probably not a complete list, but there are many things here which have been true since I’ve been alive.
    1) To die and be buried (or cremated) in India;
    2) Travel to Dharamsala
    3) Travel to Egypt
    4) Travel to Israel
    5) Have women friends
    6) Play music on the radio for a living
    7) Work as an Art/Music Therapist
    8) Be ordained as an Interfaith Minister
    9) Go on a pilgrimage: A) C.S. Lewis House, Oxford, The Eagle and The Child; B) Kyoto, Japan; C) Virginia Woolf’s Monk House; D) Henry David Thoreau/Walden
    10) Finish my memoir
    11) Live outside of the U.S. for at least 2 years in a cottage w/an art studio
    12) Earn a living as an Artist
    13) Put together a band with people who don’t know how to play instruments very well, and play badly together until we get better
    14) Swim in the ocean
    15) See Aurora Borealis Northern Lights

    • says

      Just find one on your list…one that speaks most strongly to you and take the first baby step in that direction. Bucket lists don’t happen to us; we make them happen.

    • Ilana says

      Ana- I love your list. You’ve clearly got so much left to do so #1 will have to wait a little while 🙂 It was an exciting list to read. I hope that you are able to experience all of it. I, too, find that anything worth doing takes work. Nothing falls into our laps but if we let it inspire us then sometimes it feels that way. Good luck and hope to read about your adventures in your future posts! IM

    • Debbie says

      Hi Ana – when you are ready to work on #13
      ” Put together a band with people who don’t know how to play instruments very well, and play badly together until we get better.” I don’t play any instrument but the djembe drum and I also sing very poorly as well. I laughed out loud when I read this item on your list.
      There is a VERY old movie called “The Music Man” about a con artist who sells parents instruments so their child can be in the band. He never had anyone practice calling his technique the “Think Method” of learning to play music.
      Seriously, you have some truly beautiful experiences waiting for you on this list. I second Laura’s advice – pick just one and go for it. The realization of the goal will be delicious!

    • Eve says

      I am ready to join your band & be your girlfriend because you already seem like a rock star to me!!! I pray that you accomplish this whole list ASAP. I play the guitar very badly & love to sing songs that I make up. My kids seem to think that I am awesome. Maybe you will love the way that rock it too…

    • Terry Gibson says

      Ana, you certainly have rich and diverse experiences ahead of you. I would love to take some of those trips. Kyoto is lovely. Let me toss my name into your band’s all-star cast. I’m sure I am notoriously bad at playing any number of instruments. And I’d love to do that and slowly create the smooth stylings of Ana’s hometown band.

  18. Andrea says

    As Barbara so eloquently coined, “before I kick it” is usually the time frame applied to a bucket list. I can’t wrap my head around an entire bucket on this Sunday evening so am going to fill up my teacup with only 2013.

    I want to learn to tell people to “fuck off”. Nicely of course, but with conviction. I want to kick the people out of my life that constantly take and give nothing back to me; those people that leave me in an emotional deficit. On the flip side this will give me more time and energy for the lovely people in my life who fill me up, encourage me, and make me happy.

    Once the people are gone, I want to tackle the things. I am sentimental to a degree that I believe is weighing me down. Do I really need all these love letters from old boyfriends in high school, my wedding dress from my defunct marriage and my borrowed last name? I’ve gotten rid of so much without regret this past year, why not these things?

    I want to make more effort at expanding my children’s experiences. I am running out of time and only have them for a few more years. Can I help them find their passion before they go?

    I want to learn to be happy by myself; to not require company for adventure; and to know with unwavering conviction that I am capable on my own.

    If I can accomplish all these things in 2013, I might be ready to start 2014 with an eye towards a much larger receptacle; perhaps not a bucket, but maybe a coffee can at least.

    • Debbie says

      Andrea – I like how you have honed your focus on a less intimidating list – or coffee cup – and found some items that you can accomplish. I enjoyed these lines:
      “I am sentimental to a degree that I believe is weighing me down. Do I really need all these love letters from old boyfriends in high school, my wedding dress from my defunct marriage and my borrowed last name? I’ve gotten rid of so much without regret this past year, why not these things?”
      When I moved across country this year – I let go of some of the “history” I had been toting around for sentimental reasons or because it had once been important to someone else. What I found was a feeling of lightness and lots more room in my life and heart for the new! Good luck on moving up to a coffee can for 2014!

    • Ana says

      Andrea – Thank you for sharing you list. I particularly loved “Do I really need all these love letters from old boyfriends in high school…” It reminds me of items I too have held onto; items that belong to an Ana long ago. You have inspired me to gather all my items into a pile and use them in an art project; make beauty out of these items that are partly full of sad memories. My hope is you find your way through your list.

  19. Beverly Boyd says

    I struggled with this prompt. I no longer make bucket lists. Basically, what I need on it now are those things that I literally lose sleep over fearing they won’t get done before I kick it: (the bucket that is).

    This week I moved my print inventory back into storage after a year working on it in a friend’s carpeted garage after the city declared it illegal and required her to have the bathroom removed. I worked together with another friend, who needed income when she lost the use of the pool she used for her Watsu practice. We worked for over 200 hours (each) organizing and researching. I spent several thousand dollars paying her and a certified appraiser. It was worth every penny and now my family will know the value of that asset. My friend wants the use of her garage, my helper has found a place to work her practice and though, there is still some work I would like to do on it but I won’t lose sleep over that not happening. It’s clearly time to move on.

    There other things: a few years back taxes; unnecessary papers; organize or at least identify those old family pictures and memorabilia (that is actually fun),
    Fortunately my physical issues are mechanical, but just in case, I need to get a doctor closer to where I live and get the physical. Get new dentures
    Get a hearing aid. Have my eyes checked: I’ve had seven surgeries and they seem to be doing all right…but just in case.

    Yes, I know this sounds like a major “todo” list! Even before I finish it, I plan to get back to the family cookbook (doing my sister’s part that she did not finish before her unexpected death a year ago) and the book on racism that spirit led me to write and opened amazing avenues to give the project momentum. Very likely this will involve traveling.

    I’ve had a rich and full life and expect there’s more. Maybe I’ll even get to one of my old bucket list items: the air balloon show in Albequerque where a best friend from high school lives

    In the meantime I will try to follow the reminder on my bedroom bulleting board:
    (from “Letters from the Infinite: Your Deepest Intent”

    “Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t.” – Richard Bach

      • Beverly Boyd says

        The work on the inventory literally took all of my available physical, emotional, and mental energy. Writing on the prompts has helped me stay in spiritual alignment.
        Thank you, Laura

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