March 4, 2010

My Bucket List

This morning, I was watching The Rachael Ray Show while getting ready (as I usually do), and she did a segment about some new reality stars I had never heard of before. Their show, on MTV, is called The Buried Life, and unlike thoughtless shows portraying idiots running around drinking (ahem, Jersey Shore, I’m talking to you) it seems like a really neat concept.

Four guys travel around the world trying to do everything on their “bucket lists,” and along the way, they meet strangers whose bucket list wishes they grant. They showed a clip from the show where one of the guys made a toast at a stranger’s wedding, a la Wedding Crashers, and I thought it looked so fun and so neat. Later on the talk show, the guys granted the bucket list wish of one of The Rachael Ray Show viewers by giving her the chance to sign on Broadway. How cool!

Inspired, I decided I was going to make my own bucket list.

The travel items were easy: I want to visit 6 continents (really don’t have much desire to go to Antarctica), and I want to vacation in Paris (I studied French for 9 years and dreamed of going but somehow never made it there, though I’ve been to Europe plenty of times). I also want to go to Disney and actually explore the park and ride the rides. I know you all loved my Disney race report, and it was awesome to get to see all the characters, but I still have never been to Disney other than running through it (which isn’t quite the way to get the Disney experience). I feel like that’s something I absolutely have to do at some point in my life.

But when it came to something that wasn’t traveling/seeing the world, I was stumped. I wanted my list to be a true bucket list – meaning things I absolutely had to do before I die, not just things that I’d like to do. But really, there are very few things that I’ll feel unfulfilled if I don’t accomplish. For sure, I want to get married and have kids. I think that’s my biggest goal in life, but it’s not something I can really work toward or make happen. Am I allowed to have a bucket list with just that on it?

I kept thinking and thinking, and finally it hit me: finishing my 50 states of marathons is certainly something worthy of a bucket list, and particularly now that I’m getting close, it’s something that will make me feel really unfulfilled if I don’t finish. Surely that could go on my bucket list!

But what about when I finish? This is a question that keeps coming up more and more lately, and the truth is, I’m not sure how to answer the question of what I’ll do next. Marathons are definitely getting exhausting, and to be honest, I am really looking forward to taking a break from them after Minneapolis. But… now that I’ve gotten so used to marathoning, I can’t imagine not doing it anymore. What will I do when I don’t have states to collect? I don’t have a big desire to join the 7 Continents Marathon Club, and while there are certainly some cool marathons out there, I can’t think of any that are so different that I’ll be strongly incentivized to do them after I finish my states.

I’ve considered training for a triathlon, though we all know how well that went the last time. Besides, now that I’ve become known at work and in social circles as “marathon girl,” doing a triathlon wouldn’t be all that different or exciting. I like to surprise people with my Renaissance woman-like talents and prowess.

A fun story I often tell to illustrate this: my senior year of college, I signed up for any class that I thought sounded interesting and fun (this was how I came to take the airline management course that led to my current job). One of these was “Intro to Riflery and Marksmanship.” I walked in the first day dressed in head-to-toe pink (basically, an Elle Woods impersonation) and raring to go. Our drill sergeant (yes, an actual drill sergeant was the professor) walked in and asked us to introduce ourselves and also explain our shooting background and why we wanted to take the class. I was in the front row, and therefore had to go first. Undaunted, I said something along the lines of “Hi! My name is Laura, I’m a senior, and I’ve never even seen a gun in real life so I thought this would be a neat class that would teach me something I definitely don’t know. I’m really excited to be here!” As other students gave their intros, I realized how out of my league I was. Everyone else had been shooting for years, and some even detailed their history of favorite guns from the ones given to them on their 7th birthdays. Figuring it was a beginner class and that I didn’t have anything to lose by giving it a try, I got through the rest of the class that day (safety instructions) and returned the following week for class. We were learning to shoot M16 rifles, and more specifically, were learning the routine to load them. The guns were lying horizontally on the desks in front of us, and after talking through the load routine, the instructor told us to pick up the guns. Awkwardly, I picked up the gun in both hands, and kind of held it out in front of me, like some sort of ironic peace offering. However, from my front row vantage point it was very easy to see the instructor sadly shaking his head at me. I turned, and saw that the rest of the class had adroitly maneuvered the darn guns onto their shoulders, using just one hand for support and the other by the trigger awaiting instructions. Oops. I tried to correct my faux pas, but soon discovered that I was too weak and wimpy to shoulder the whole 45 pound gun in the proper stance. It was after that class that I decided to drop out and take figure skating instead, but I think it definitely proves my point that I like doing things other people tell me I can’t do. Heck, that’s the whole reason I started running and marathoning – to prove to myself that I could the impossible.

So maybe that’s the (only) other thing on my bucket list: always have an impossible dream and be striving to achieve it. I think if that’s what I work on and accomplish in life, I’ll be pretty darn happy.

What about you – what would you put on your bucket list? Any ideas for mine?


24 thoughts on “My Bucket List”

  1. I think you’re a really good writer, so maybe write a book?? πŸ™‚

    I want to travel, I want to write a book, I want to raise a family, I want to have two dogs, I want to bungee jump, I want to run an Ultra marathon.

    Speaking of Ultra’s have you considered starting to do them after you’re done all your marathons?

  2. Still tilting at windmills myself, at almost 50, I’d have to say you’re on the right track. I continue to be happy, even when I fail (which is surprisingly infrequently!)

    You’ve already done something almost no one else would ever even attempt, so I can’t WAIT to see what you think of as a “challenge,” now.

  3. My immediate bucket list is run (and walk) 100 miles. After that, who knows. Maybe learn to cook after 50 years? (I’ve turned on my oven exactly twice in the last 3 years)

  4. I really like the bucket list idea, and mine would include a lot of travel related items too!

    I’d love a running buddy too; I am just getting back to it after a month off from a knee injury and plan to start running outdoors again towards the end of the month. I need to be on a train from Grand Central at 8AM every weekday so I could do really early weekday mornings (I usually get up for the gym at 5:45 anyways) or anytime on the weekends!

    PS I totally got that dress from Express on sale too!

  5. well, i think you will finish the 50 states thing in no time and be quite happy! perhaps not just a triathlon, but an Ironman might be something to strive for. If you got good at those (which based on your track record you will) you could attempt 50 Ironmans in 50 states. im pretty sure no one has done that EVER!

  6. I’ve got skydiving on mine, but then I never end up doing it. I had it on my list to do for my 30th birthday, and then I chickened out. Maybe for 40.

  7. I love your “Intro to Riflery and Marksmanship” story! (That does NOT sound like it was an intro class!)

    Like you, I don’t really have a list of things I MUST do before I die. There are many things I’d LIKE to do…and maybe those are good enough to go on a list anyway? Try doing that, and see what comes of it. It’ll change over time anyway. (The latest addition to my list is to go zip-lining!! I don’t care where! lol)

  8. I think once you reach six continents, you’ll want all seven. You should consider mountains. What’s the highest peak you’ve ever climbed?

  9. I actually saw a preview for that show while watching a “thoughtless show portraying idiots running around drinking…” hehe. I thought it seemed pretty interesting.

    My bucket list definitely includes running a marathon. As for you, I think the 50 states is a great thing to add to it, as you’ve almost accomplished it! And for after, what about running a new PR?

  10. I agree with Amber!

    As for a fitness goal, a really fun one that would include traveling could be climbing mount Kilimanjaro? Or something similar πŸ™‚ It would give you training and something to look forward to πŸ˜‰

    I’m sort of like you though… I have a lot of travel/fitness inspired goals but as for the rest I just don’t know how to put those goals into words….

  11. I love that you want to go back to Disneyworld after your race. I have a goal to do the marathon next year (my very FIRST marathon!) and plan to add a coulpe extra days to see the park (also, I must go to the Universal park and see the new Harry Potter park… because I am obsessed and must get a butterbeer!).
    I haven’t ever really thought about a bucket list… other than I want to make it to Australia. My husband lived there for 2 years and I’ve always wanted to go. Travel is a big thing for us.

  12. Ah, the bucket list. You would LOVE living in Paris. I’d rather live in Paris than anywhere else in Europe (even though I took 7 years of Spanish, 3 of Italian, and lived with an Italian family in Florence during college for 4 months). Paris totally stole my heart. πŸ™‚

    ALSO! Thanks for the encouraging words! By Wednesday I wasn’t sore at all, but I cannot picture attempting to run another marathon this weekend like you do… (hah–maybe that has something to do with getting a stomach flu and puking nonstop since Sunday?)

    I bet having raced so many marathons, you’d be the perfect road race consultant. I think that should be added to your bucket list–being a consultant for a big road race! (Wouldn’t it be fun to have a marathon open only for Maniacs?)

    Hope to meet you NEXT MONTH! You still running Boston?

  13. I think travels is an awesome part of the bucket list.

    It definitely makes mine, along with the get married and have kids thing.

    Some of my others include, start my own business (I think), write a book (I think), run the Disney Princess half, visit California again, spend more time in the Caribbean/Bahamas, etc.

  14. I loved your marksmanship class story. I want to speak another language fluently, learn to play the sax, and write a darn good book! Good luck developing yours!

  15. Well, you have quite the start to your list with the marathons in 50 states! You should go back and visit Disney as opposed to the run through it. I think everyone should have that little piece of America on their list! My list involves travel too. I am fascinated with english history so a trip to England would be tops. Hawaii too, but that is more of a wish for an awesome beach vacation πŸ™‚

  16. Ugg, no sooner are you back than the asian porn commenter gets you too.. BLAH

    bucket list….bucket list… Dean K sort of has all of the crazy stunts market cornered – unless you can run 300+ miles on a treadmill or something.

    Pacing a bunch of marathons would be fun. But, I hear you on wanting to give that a break. I’d focus on travel – you never know how long you’ll have the flight benefits.

  17. Another runner who is bored with the state chase. πŸ™‚ Sad isn’t it? Glad to see someone is still reading MY blog. Yours still strong and awesome as usual.
    Honestly, I have achieved everything on my bucket list, which is not a bad thing, I think. Allows you freedom to enjoy every day for what it is!
    Take care, and run strong.

  18. Good luck on your life list! My favorite that I have accomplished was to add myself on the bone marrow registry. Less than 2 years later I actually got the call to donate, and donated last August to a woman with leukemia. She is now cancer free and living life as she did before being diagnosed. Again, best of luck.

  19. I’m bad at bucket lists. I’ve tried them in the past and I guess I’m too boring and can’t amass more than five items. But then again, is it really that important to have a bucket list? As long as you do what you want to do you could live bucket list free.

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