We see them all the time on blogs: “bucket lists” or “100 Things in 1,000 Days.” We are often so focused on what we want to accomplish in the future that we rarely look back at what we’ve accomplished already in our lives. It’s easy to feel disheartened when you look at that daunting list, wondering how you’re ever going to live in New York or make a million dollars someday. Today, I wanted to do something different. Here is my “reverse bucket list”, or five things I’ve already accomplished in my 30 years.
1. I Graduated from College
I am a first generation college student, which means that my parents and grandparents didn’t graduate from college. I got my degree in Political Science in 2009 from California Lutheran University. I absolutely LOVED college, and I grew SO much during my time there. I really didn’t just go with the flow; I made an intentional attempt to do everything that I could while there. I began college as a scared, socially awkward freshman. From there I became a resident assistant, sat on the executive cabinet for student government, led tours and mingled with VIPs as a student ambassador, completed a departmental honors senior project, studied abroad in Paris, toured Scandinavia with choir, competed against Ivy League Model United Nations teams in Boston, and eventually gave the student speech at my commencement ceremony, where I graduated Magna Cum Laude. I even got into law school (though I decided ultimately not to go).
2. I Launched a Successful Wedding Planning Business
I remember giving notice to my boss when it was time to quit my full time job as a technical writer so that I could focus on my wedding planning business full time. It was fall, 2012, and I had taken a week of paid-time-off to catch up on weddings. It wasn’t a vacation; I went back to work feeling even more stressed because it didn’t feel like I had even put a dent in the amount of work I had to do for my clients.
Quitting a stable job to work for yourself is probably one of the most daunting things you can do. But by taking that risk, I was able to take on some of my dream clients. For five years, I worked with some of the best wedding vendors and venues in Southern California. While I don’t do as much planning as I did before, I’m still so proud and thankful that I was able to build a business and reputation under my own name.
3. I Published a Novel
I’m not going to lie to you – I’m not as proud of this one as I probably should be. Only because I’m not entirely proud of the writing or story of my novel. That being said, I AM proud of the fact that I actually finished writing a book! I initially self published Breathe Again, but it was formally published under an Amazon publishing imprint in 2014. So that’s pretty cool.
4. I Became a Mom
Oh man, one of my biggest accomplishments for sure. Remi was born in February, 2016 and we’re now expecting his little brother, Leo, in January of 2018. Two under two, you say? I know, send lots of wine and positive thoughts.
Being a mother is absolutely the most rewarding and exhausting thing I have ever done in my life. I never realized how selfless you have to be in order to be a parent. Everything you do is for this little person who may or may not appreciate your sacrifices or energy on any given day. But you push through, determined to love them and give them the guidance that they don’t realize they need just yet. And at the end of it all, they leave you. Oh, how my heart breaks to think of that day, but isn’t that the point of parenthood? To raise contributing members of society? I just hope I do it right.
Remi is absolutely hilarious, SO smart, and already empathetic to those around him. He is my whole heart.
5. I Survived
I think it’s important for me to include this one of my list, because it really is an accomplishment of mine. Most people don’t have to actively choose to live, but I did. There were moments when I didn’t think I would survive another hour or day or week. There were times when I thought of how much easier it would be to just…not be. To leave it all behind, because sometimes life is just too hard. I didn’t know if I could handle it or not.
But I chose to live. I chose NOT to implement those plans. I chose live, not for my husband or family or friends, but because I knew that I deserved to live. That while it’s not always easy, I am meant to be here. To experience pure joy and excruciating pain and everything else in between. I’m glad I survived. I’m glad I’m here.
I love life, though I know that it won’t always be that way. But my outlook has changed. And just knowing that I survived once gives me the motivation to continue, to reach for my fullest potential. To be happy and productive and do something that might just change the world.
Photo by Marianne Wilson Photography