Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Bucket List, Part One

So, I have a confession: I never saw the movie The Bucket ListI know, I know-gasp! Look, I meant to, but it just didn't happen. Did you see it? Would you recommend it? Perhaps I will add seeing it to my own bucket list; it could be # 31. 

In all seriousness, I'm afraid I've spent the last 30 years taking all that I was able to accomplish for granted. So I've made it my mission to spend the next thirty years treating each day like a gift (sorry for the cliché-but it's true). I sat down and made a list of 30 things that I want to accomplish by the time I'm 60-"Thirty in 30", if you will. I figure blogging about it will help hold me accountable. Here, in no particular order, are the first 10:

1. Go back to Ireland-It's been 10 years since I first visited the beloved country of Ireland. I fell deeply in love with the people, tradition, and landscape in the 14 days I was there. If it were the only other place I visited in the next 30 years, that would be okay with me.
Here I am hugging St. Kevin's Cross in Glendalough, Ireland in 2001. Legend has it if you can wrap your arms all the way around it, you will have true love in your life. Let's hope that's true 'cause it sure would help me out with # 7!

2. Hawaii-I know I just said that Ireland could be the only place I ever visit in the future, but let's just say if I get two places, then Hawaii is next! I was supposed to visit these beautiful islands in 2004, but sadly my plans fell through, and I have been wishing to go ever since! I don't care when, I don't care with whom I go (alright I care a little), but I will make it.

3. Publish a series of children's books-The plan is to loosely base the series on my childhood, and for copyright reasons, I'm going to leave it at that.

4. Zip line-I'm not one to usually be adventurous, but zip-lining is definitely something I want to try. Of course sometimes I have visions that the harness will break as I'm sliding down the line and I'll plummet to my death, but hey, I'm sure the thrill & the view will be totally worth it, right?!

5. Publish my dating memoir-After every horrible and/or hilarious date I've had over the years, I've always said, "It's going in the book." I have undertaken the task of documenting these horrific dating experiences along with my dear friend Courtney for the amusement of others (and ourselves). With each heartbreak I have, I take comfort in knowing that I can retire early after I write about it! But since I want to also write the children's books, I'll be using a pen name for this project. Coming soon (I hope) to a store near you...

6. Canada/Niagra Falls-Okay, okay so there are several places I want to visit in the future. I love waterfalls! I hear Niagra is better from the Canada side, and after all, visiting our neighbor to the north would be the neighborly thing to do.

7. Get married-Let me be clear: I don't want to just "get married" so that I can plan a wedding. I will never settle just for the sake of not being alone. I've spent the first half of my life single, and I've been very happy. But I am open to love, and should I be lucky enough to find it, I will apply everything I learned from the best parents a girl could have.

8. Be a mother-I grew up romanticizing motherhood: "I'm going to have 4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls, and their names will be..." But recently I've witnessed many friends have the privilege to become mothers, and I know that it's the most important job any woman can have. Motherhood is something that I will feel blessed to experience, and it is something that I will do because I truly want to have children-not because it's what I'm "supposed" to do. 

9. Get my PhD-Yikes! Did I just write that? After I earned my National Board Certification in 2010, I swore I was done. But the truth is, I'm just a big school nerd and I love to learn. And doesn't "Dr. Jackie" have a nice ring to it?

10. Teach at the college level-This really goes hand-in-hand with # 9. I admired so many of my college professors, and am inspired to follow in their footsteps. That is, after I've put in many more years in the "trenches"! 

"It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis." ~Margaret Bonnano 
Here's to taking the next 30 years one day at a time! 

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Dirty Thirty?

What do birthdays mean to you? For me, a birthday means many things-all of which are positive. Simply, and most importantly, it means family, friends, and fun. Of course for a ham like me it is a time to be the center of attention, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy that.  

But a birthday also means a chance for a fresh start, a new year of life to celebrate and explore. My 30th birthday marks not only a new year, but a new decade. While I've had an amazing life thus far, I am looking forward to what my thirties have in store. I've got big plans for myself, people! But more on that later...
I love birthdays, period. Not just my own, but others' birthdays too. I love getting just the right card, and seeing my friends and family members' faces when they open their gifts. I love singing and watching people blow out the candles-always have.

Now, perhaps your view of birthdays goes something like this: "There is still no cure for the common birthday." -John Glenn
Or maybe you feel more like this: "Admit it, when you hear the song “Happy birthday” all you’re thinking is, ‘Hey I’m getting some free cake!’” –Jim Gaffigan

I've seen plenty of people around me dread turning "the dirty thirty". Maybe you are one of them. But the way I feel about my 30th can best be summed up by the card I received in the mail from a dear friend that reads, "You've been making the world a better place for 30 years now. And just think-you're only getting started."

So while I won't be calling this birthday "the dirty thirty", I might call it "the flirty thirty." And even though it doesn't rhyme, it does have alliteration, and I am so grateful for the life I have to lead, so I will definitely call it "the thankful thirty".
Here's to the next 30 years (and beyond)!