“Your past is important, but it is not nearly as important to your present as the way you see your future”
– Tony Campolo
I’m a planner – guilty, party-of-one. I make lists, I check things off the lists, add more things to said lists, and so continue the vicious, virtuous cycles. Life often becomes a “to-do.” I’m envious of European countries, which take time to enjoy, abating daily demands, or letting strive toward achievements dictate the manner in which one runs the hours in their day. Italians call this “dolce fa niente” – the sweetness in doing nothing.
There is a healthy tension between living in each moment and setting sights on experiences to achieve. Being a Libra, my daily struggle is maintaining balance around what makes me feel complete. The irony of juxtaposition in my desire to live in each moment contrasted with my planning nature is not lost upon me. As such, when my cousin gifted me a simple Kate Spade bracelet before my latest surgery I found a way to maintain balance. Inscribed on the inside of the bracelet a phrase, “This year I will…” Written on the outside are a handful of commitments. Perfection – a tiny bucket list that will help me live moments with purpose for a defined amount of time.
Her gift began turning the cogs in my mind. What would I want to write on the outside of my bracelet if I could? I created a short list of what makes me happy or something I’ve always wanted to achieve. This year I will…
- Run a marathon (Nike Women’s Marathon in SF, October 16th)
- Travel somewhere requiring a passport (Costa Rica)
- Visit two places in the US I’ve never been to (The Hamptons and Chicago)
- Fall asleep staring at the stars
- Set aside time for photographic excursions
- Sing in the shower
- Continue to share my story and discoveries with whoever wants to listen
- Contemplate the heavens
- Make people feel special
- Contribute time toward a cause that moves me
- Say “I love you” everyday
Bucket lists are often created in a last ditched effort to squeeze the joy and magic out of life when running on borrowed time. When faced with our own morality priorities become lucid– you hear stories of people making amends with estranged loved ones, quitting jobs to spend time with family, or taking audacious worldly excursions. We no longer live cautiously, plan for a retirement that may never come, or give a damn about how people perceive our actions. We throw caution to the wind and sprint toward the end of life’s finish line in an attempt to make those last few days, months, or years feel like we’ve truly lived the life we were intended to live. My favorite organization, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, has built a nonprofit around this very concept – giving terminal children one final wish before their short lives are stripped from them.
Yet, I challenge, why don’t we live everyday like we don’t give a damn? As if every day is truly a gift? We all have our bucket list – places we hope to travel, accomplishments we aspire to achieve, memories to experience, milestones to meet – with the hope we will get to check these things off “someday.” But what happens when someday never comes?
Life is a never-ending to-do list. If we don’t take the time to do what makes us happy, we’ll end up never truly living. Perche la vita e bella. Because life is beautiful. So live it.