Bucket List Living

GoBHppy... A Message From My Mom and An Assignment For My Life

Life is too short to wait
Life is too short to wait

Well this blog has been on my mind, my heart and my "to do" list for quite awhile now.  Which is quite ironic actually... you'll find out why in a few minutes.

A few months ago, I woke up abruptly in the middle of the night after having a bad dream about my mom.  We were standing in some sort of religious service or assembly and all of the sudden, I heard (and felt) the creepiest, most evil voice I've ever heard whisper something in my ear.  I don't know what it said but it was so close, I could literally feel the air on my ear.  It immediately gave me chills (the bad kind) down my whole body and my mom, who was standing next to me in the dream, fell to the floor simultaneously.  There was someone standing on the other side of her who made eye contact with me and looked very alarmed.  Thankfully, my mother was okay (in the dream) but I woke up with a VERY weird feeling.  I was totally creeped out and felt scared, sad and confused, all while still half asleep.

So, in a conscious effort to shift my mind and my mood, I immediately thought to myself, "I need to think good thoughts about mom."

Instantly, a picture (that I did not conjure up) filled my mind.  It was a beach scene... with the ocean to my right and the beach to my left and there was an old, green VW Beetle convertible in front of me.  It was facing the opposite direction so all I could see was the rear end of it.  Now for those of you that don't know, my mother (and very best friend) passed away this past September.  And among other things that she always wanted to do, she always wanted to own a green VW Beetle convertible and to live at the beach.  In fact, these were two things that my sister and I hoped to make happen for her when she got sick, but we ran out of time.  Back to the picture... the car is in the middle of the beach, facing away from me and there is a beach house up on a hill in the distance.  On the license plate of the car, it says "GOBHPPY."

Yea... WOW.  All in one instant, I have this complete picture that is obviously a message telling me to GO BE HAPPY.  To do it now, while I still have time and not to wait like she did.  I was so excited, I literally jumped out of bed and jotted down as many details as I could before I fell back asleep so I would remember in the morning.  The next day, I even pieced together a layman's version of the picture using the paint program on my computer and some graphics from the internet.  It is the wallpaper on my laptop now.  But more than that...

It is an assignment.  A journey for my life.  And hopefully, the subject (and cover) of my first book.

Yikes!  I actually typed the words.  I think that's why I've been putting off this blog.  It seems scary and intimidating but in a really cool way.  I've had lots of book ideas over the years and many of them are still ones that I want to do one day, but when this occurred to me (literally), it was like a light bulb or more like a firework... went off in my head.  I saw the whole thing, the cover, the name, even the process behind it.

Which brings me to this...  If you're a fan on my Facebook page, you probably saw that I was teasing a "launch" that I was going to make.  Well this is it.  I wanted to have as many likes as I could on there so the word would get out as far and wide as it could, but I know God will take care of that part.  Hopefully between Facebook, Twitter, this blog and just good ol' word of mouth, the journey will begin... AND I WANT YOU TO BE PART OF IT.

Here's the plan.  I have a bucket list that currently has 65 things on it.  I actually started it before bucket lists were cool, when I was like 22 and I called it my "life to do" list.  I've accomplished a handful of things off it since then, removed a couple and added a few but there is still A LOT to do.  And the time to do it is NOW.

Here's where you come in... I will share my bucket list at the bottom of this post.  These are the things that I want to start doing immediately so if you happen to know something about one of them or have a connection, contact me! Or if you have always wanted to do one of them too, let me know and we'll do it together!  I want to ride a horse... know someone who owns a horse and would be willing to give me a lesson?  Great!  I want to learn to salsa dance... you've always wanted to learn too?  Fantastic!  We'll go together!  The idea is that not only will I be doing what I truly feel my mother would want me to do... live my life to the fullest while I can... but the experiences and people involved will turn into the stories (mixed in with anecdotes/lessons from my mom) that will make up my first book. And when it turns into a best seller, I can mark #44 off the list!

If there was one big lesson to take away from my mom's untimely passing, it was that LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO WAIT.  We all hear it over and over in songs, on posters and in cliches, but we have to take it to heart.  My mom always thought there'd be more time... to live at the beach, to own that VW Beetle, to spend another Thanksgiving with us... and time ran out.  Quickly and without notice.

I read some of her journal entries after she passed away and was saddened by her words about how she had so many ideas in her head that she never acted out in real life.  That she had always let fear hold her back.  And of course, I knew how the ending turned out.  It makes me sad that that was the end of her story, but I know that a whole other story has started for her now and it's greater than anything I could ever imagine.  And my greatest tribute to her now is to make sure that I DO live my life to the fullest while I have the time and maybe even fulfill some of her dreams along the way.

So what do you say?  What to join me?

My Life "To Do" List (as of June 1, 2014)

  1. Skydive
  2. Learn to change a tire
  3. Learn to play guitar
  4. Go to the Louvre
  5. Sing with a punk rock band
  6. Ride a horse
  7. Go rock climbing
  8. Learn to change oil in a car
  9. See the Sistine Chapel
  10. Have my poems published
  11. Take a cooking class
  12. Learn to bartend
  13. Brew my own beer
  14. Run a marathon
  15. Learn to swim
  16. Learn to roller blade
  17. See the Eiffel Tower
  18. Learn karate/tai kwan do
  19. Learn to ice skate
  20. Donate a substantial amount to a charity that I believe in
  21. Work on an animal rescue
  22. Learn to paint
  23. Get one of my songs produced
  24. Drive a race car
  25. Learn to salsa dance
  26. Speak another language fluently
  27. Sing karaoke (in public)
  28. Have a professional makeover
  29. Live by the ocean
  30. Take up photography
  31. Spend an entire day in solitude outdoors
  32. Road trip in a motorhome
  33. Learn to shoot a gun
  34. Dance at a pro basketball or football game
  35. Trace my family tree
  36. Play blackjack in a Vegas casino
  37. Drive a BIG truck
  38. Learn to DJ
  39. Kiss at the top of the Empire State Building at night
  40. Spend a New Year's Eve in Times Square
  41. Go on a mission trip to Africa
  42. Live in another country
  43. Be part of a flash mob
  44. Write a bestselling book
  45. Learn to ski
  46. Swim with dolphins
  47. See the Northern Lights
  48. Go to all 50 states
  49. Ride the giant ferris wheel in London
  50. Model in a fashion show
  51. Make sushi from scratch
  52. Try out for the Topcats
  53. Go wine tasting in the Napa Valley
  54. Go on the NKOTB cruise
  55. Own as many breeds of dogs as possible
  56. Learn the dance from Thriller
  57. See a taping of the Ellen Show
  58. Ride in a gondola in Italy
  59. Earn a Guinness Book World Record
  60. Build and decorate a complete dollhouse
  61. Celebrate Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street
  62. Visit Wahlburger's in Boston and meet the family
  63. See the giant basket at the Longaberger's headquarters
  64. Visit the giant, glass head in Charlotte
  65. Be an extra in a movie or TV show

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot

new year2014
new year2014

So here it is December 31st yet again.  Almost time for another new year to begin.  Time for everyone to drink a lot of alcohol and eat a lot of food before they vow to start exercising and eating healthy the next day.

I usually make a big ta-do about making plans to do something big & fun on New Year's Eve (usually quite unsuccessfully) but this year, I didn't even try.  I don't know if it's because I'm out-of-whack this year since my mom's passing or if I just felt lazy (or both), but here I sit at 11:30 p.m. in my pj's, drinking an Angry Orchard, blogging while watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve and I'm perfectly content.

2013 was definitely an interesting year, to put it mildly.  Mainly of course, because my mom was diagnosed, went through grueling treatment and passed away all within the year.  But I also started and ended my career as a full time newspaper reporter, finally moved to my beloved town of Davidson, took a leap with my writing and made a lot of great memories.  I don't regret any of 2013 but I also won't miss it either.

The new year has always had a mystique about it... a chance for everyone to start over.  To have a "clean slate", to forget about the bad parts of the last year and start fresh.  In a way, I embrace this and look forward to a "fresh start" too but it's not necessarily about the date of January 1.  I've already been feeling like I have a whole new perspective since my mom's passing in September.  Not necessarily something completely new, but more of a magnification of how I already felt.  I already knew that I wanted to focus on the important things... friends, family and meaningful life experiences, not trivial things like social media or material things.  And I already had lots of ideas of things I wanted to do or experience in life.  But the loss of my mom (and reading her journal shortly after) put everything into crystal-clear perspective and gave me an almost invincible-feeling (ironically) of not worrying about the little things anymore.  To just take chances without fretting or worrying and to do things NOW, not later.

So this new year for me isn't necessarily about the end of another 365 days.  It's about living my life in the best way I can while I still have the time to do so.  I have had a bucket list before they were even called bucket lists.  In fact, I called mine a "Life To-Do List" and I wrote it when I was 22 years old.  There are some things on there that I don't even want to do anymore but I'm excited about doing the rest of them, along with some new ones.  Without sharing too much personal info, here are just a few of the to-do's:

*Skydive *Finish learning to swim *See the Sistine Chapel *Work on an animal rescue *Drive a race car *Kiss at the top of the Empire State Building at night

and ironically...

*Spend a New Year's Eve in Times Square

And of course... spend more time with friends and family.  Not in a Hallmark greeting card kind of way either.  REALLY.  Friends, be forewarned, I will hunt you down and make you commit to getting together.  ;)

The cool thing is, I feel like God has given me the feeling of anticipation for things I don't even know about yet.  Like literally covered me in it.  I have this giddy/excited/or as I like to say... yummy feeling for my successful writing career, my relationship with my future husband and for a million other things like traveling to Europe and none of them have even happened yet.  But how cool is that?

This has been a tough year, yes.  In a way that I will probably never be able to fully explain in words.  But like He always does, God is making something good come of it and I can literally feel Him moving me along.  I'm excited for 2014 and whatever it may hold.  And I know that no matter what comes my way, I will be okay.  Not just okay, I will be blessed.

I truly wish everyone a prosperous, happy and healthy New Year and urge you to savor every last moment of it.