Everyone you know has a bucket list. My husband wants to play at Pebble Beach Golf Course in California. He has been dreaming about it for years. He is finally doing it this year! I want to live in the South of France. Guess what? That bucket item is probably not happening. A friend of mine has a list of ten amazing cities around the world that she absolutely wants to visit before she leaves this earth. She fastidiously peruses her list each month to see if anything is miraculously checked off. It isn't yet. Maybe some day. She hopes and she dreams. Actually, the first road block to this bucket item is that I don't think she's ever been out of Long Island. My advice to her: Start small. See New Jersey first. Check out Westchester. Swim at Jones Beach. Have brunch is Manhattan. Branch out of Long Island first.
Don't get me wrong. I applaud people with Bucket Lists. I have one. Everyone should always have dreams and goals and then have even more dreams. But why not begin with a tiny pail and shovel so you can gather up some memories along the way to your bucket list. Start small. Go to a museum if you haven’t done that lately. And by lately, I mean recently. I do not mean the last decade. Fly to a state you've never been… just for a weekend. Hike. Do yoga. Just once. Meditate. See a foreign film if you never have before. And, do not leave at the first sight of a sub-title because it is too much work. Eat a food that you've never tasted. Ice skate. Read a biography if you always read fiction. Join a club. Start taking photographs. Be one of those people walking around with headphones learning French. Go to a film festival. Start sharing what you know. For heaven’s sake, start filling up your pail.
A few years ago, I joined a rowing class that met in Norwalk, Connecticut on the river at 5:30 am. I still have river nightmares of an alarm going off at four a.m. I remember changing my clothes after the class in the train station bathroom, throwing sink water on myself to get the fish smell off before I commuted to work. I think my fellow commuters should thank me for that. You should know that I am not the best direction follower and never do the same body movement the same way twice in a row so I actually failed miserably at rowing if I can be really honest with myself. The fact that I couldn't catch on as well as the other morning rowers was mildly humiliating. But I did it. Every morning for three weeks, I did it. And strangely enough, in my past retelling of my rowing adventure, I was rowing on that river as if I was the star member of the best college crew team in America. That's how I prefer to remember it, but more importantly: I did it. It wasn't huge. It was a tiny accomplishment. I started small.
And yes, I still have my big bucket list, but I’m also slowly and steadily filling up my pail. So, get your shovel out, because I've just shared with you Step #6 of Getting Your “Self” Back: Pails, Shovels, and Buckets.
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