Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Bullet List

Over the weekend we had a chance to hang out with some family that we haven't seen in a while. One of Cornbread's cousins told us that she had gone skydiving for her birthday. She mentioned that it was an item on her bullet list and talked about how she and her husband feel like they need to live now - not wait.

That conversation prompted conversation between me and Cornbread.

Cornbread: What would be on YOUR bullet list?
Jana: Hmmm. I don't know. I don't really have a bullet list.
J: What would be on YOURS?
C: I don't know. I guess, maybe going to the olympics. But I can't think of anything else right off hand. Besides, even though I'd like to go to the olympics someday, I wouldn't feel incomplete or have regrets if I died and never went. So I don't know if that really makes it an item on my bullet list.


Should I have a bullet list? Hearing Jennifer talk about it made me somewhat jealous of her. Was I jealous about the skydiving? Or jealous that she had a bullet list? Or jealous that she had a bullet list and was able to cross something off of it? Or a mixture of all of the above?

Ultimately, I've decided that while I think it is cool for people to have their own bullet list, I, personally don't want or need one. There really is nothing in this world that I really, really want to do before I die. There is no place that I'm yearning to visit. Not only that, but after seeing 3 years of incentive trip options that Cornbread can earn, I know that there are very, very few places in this world that I won't have a chance to visit (I'm not trying to brag about that, just stating reality... Assuming Cornbread stays with EJ for the rest of his career, we will have the option to visit just about any place we want... Russia, Asia, Africa, New Zeeland, Australia, Europe, etc.)

But beyond the traveling possibilities, I don't want to live my life with a list in front of me always hoping that I can do this or that someday. Two years ago, surfing would not have been something that I would have wanted to do. In fact, when Cornbread suggested it, I kind of did one of those "eh, I guess, if thats what you want to do... I don't have much desire to do it, but I'll do it with you if you want" reactions. And as it turned out, it was one of the most incredible experiences.

THAT is how I want to live my life. Not with a list up in front of me with a goal of crossing items and places off, but living in the moment and welcoming experiences and adventures that are not part of my everyday life. I don't want to say no to something because I'm scared (bungee jumping), I want to experience life and its opportunities. I want to create memories.

I didn't think this way before Cornbread and I started dating. I was very practical and not willing to do things that maybe were inappropriate or questionable or possibly illegal :) I'm not saying we did a bunch of those things, however, there was one date that changed me...

He took me to Holland (MI) and before we left, we passed a private beach that he and his friends had camped on one night. They were tresspassing (and they knew it). They built a fire, they skinny dipped in the lake, they drank some beer and they slept under the stars. I was appropriately impressed (or acted like it because we were newly dating), but it was not something I would have ever done. What would have happened if someone found them?

I think he briefly suggested we go swimming, even though we didn't have our suits. I don't think he was suggesting skinny dipping as a form of foreplay lol, but an experience. And I immediately turned him down. I would NEVER do that - not in my pool, but certainly, most definitely not in a lake in a place where someone could walk up and catch me.

We started to leave. And then something occurred to me: I wanted experiences and memories. I wanted to have children someday and have stories to tell them. What fun is life if I never experienced it?

We turned around and went to the beach and went skinny dipping. I know its not a big, huge, naughty thing to do, but for me at that time, it was. And it was life changing.

So I don't want to brainstorm a list of things that I want to do someday and hang it on my refrigerator as a reminder of the goals that I've set and the parameters upon which I will judge whether or not I lived a complete life. I would likely miss out on things because right now, I'm not compelled to skydive or bungee jump or climb Mt. Everest. However, if I live fully and presently and keep my mind open to opportunities and focus on having a life of experiences, memories and stories then quite likely, when I die I may have done those things anyway.

this post is in no way intended to be a criticism of bullet lists or people who have bullet lists. I think they are cool and I love to hear about them. While thinking about it, I, personally came to the conclusions - for myself - that I wrote about above.

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