I’m 43 years old, and 2 weeks ago I finished my bucket list. I know what you’re thinking: In the words of my very smart boss, “Your bucket list must have sucked!” But, I swear it didn’t suck - at least not to me.
Here are a few things I’ve accomplished from my bucket list:
Own a financially successful company with a stellar culture
I’m apparently a money-making genius... It only took me 6 tries with my own company to figure it out.
Become a Mom
I have a quirky, talented, healthy 11 year old daughter. What more could I want?
Walk 60 miles with friends for Breast Cancer
I suspected I was the slowest walker in the world, and the lady on the bike at the end of thousands of people confirmed this by begging me to get into the sweeper van at the end. And yes, maybe I did sleep in a cheap hotel room with my friends enjoying pizza and beer instead of roughing it in the tent. Even a woman on crutches, bald from recent chemo treatments passed me. But I finished the damn walk!
Help many people see and grow into their full potential
Hiring people who have less experience than me but are more intelligent is my specialty. Growing them personally and professionally is one of my greatest joys.
Lose 100 pounds
Some would argue (and I would agree) that never gaining enough weight to need to lose 100 pounds would be a better goal. That was not my life story. Overcoming a binge-eating addiction and having a body I am proud of was the greatest mental gift I gave to myself.
Get invited to the White House
When I met President Barack Obama, I told him he was the swaggiest President ever and he agreed. True story!
Write and publish a book
I’ve published 3 books. Yes, I’m an overachiever.
I’ve done this twice - see above about overachievement.
Earn enough money to give gifts that truly made a life-changing difference to someone
Throw the best party I would ever go to
My 24 hour office Christmas party of 2016 will live forever in infamy.
Do a Ted Talk
I got rejected the first time I tried and was accepted finally on my topic of The Fearless Alter Ego.
Year after year, I ticked away at my bucket list. I set up goals every year, and I usually achieved 90% of them. However, there was one item I couldn’t achieve on my bucket list. It remained there like the last stuck marshmallow in the bottom of the gooey remnants of a cup of hot chocolate. It mocked me. For 26 years, I tried to achieve this goal, and I was powerless.
The last item on my list was to see my favorite tv show live in person, to be in the audience of Saturday Night Live. I’ve watched the show since my parents first allowed me to and I’ve never missed an episode. One of my best friends (Melisse) and I once waited outside in the snow to get standby seats, only to get to two people in front of us, which was devastating. The only way to get tickets to SNL is to enter the ticket lottery which is held each August. You email your name, info, and why you want to go - and then you hope and pray. Every year for 26 years my hopes went unanswered. Even my parents got selected in the lottery about 20 years ago and got to see SNL with Jennifer Aniston and The Black Eyed Peas. This is the only moment I questioned my parents love for me, when they went to SNL and left me behind. According to them, SNL only allowed the names on the lottery entry, so my parents couldn’t bring me. It’s ok. They are great parents. Really. (My mom is going to be so mad when she reads this - love you Mom).
I researched other ways to buy SNL tickets and could find none. I couldn’t buy them. For years, I asked friends and connections for help. After 26 years, I decided to get serious about it in 2017. I emailed everyone I knew, and amazingly one of my friends had a brother who had a connection to NBC and poof- I magically had two tickets to SNL on December 2, 2017.
I couldn’t believe it! I was so grateful and so nervous. I felt like something would go wrong and it wouldn’t happen. But it did happen. My husband, Levi and I went to New York. We did all of the wondrous, Christmas activities and ate all the delicious food. Then Saturday night came, and we went to the NBC Studios and got admitted inside the building. Somehow we were the first two people let into the theater, and for about five minutes we sat there alone as the staff buzzed around prepping the show. I’m so glad we were alone because I started crying. Not bawling but softly allowing a giant waterfall to pour from my eyes. It was happening. I was at my favorite show, and I had reached the end of my bucket list. I was overjoyed. I was relieved. I was ecstatic with a giant smile stretching across my face while I cried. I must have been a terrifying sight to behold.
The warm up started and then the pre-show, and suddenly it was live. Saturday Night Live did not disappoint. The actors I had watched for so many years were just as brilliant in person, and the way the staff moved between scenes was mystifying to me. The mood was electric. I’m so thankful to my husband for watching me carefully when I started to jump out of my seat when Leslie Jones appeared on stage. She is a brilliant actress I admire who betrays her age of 50 years with youthful exuberance and self confidence.
The show was incredible, and then it was over. My bucket list was complete and I was still only 43 years old.
On Sunday, I felt accomplished elation. And then I felt scared, confused and perplexed. What if this is it? What if I have achieved all the things I wanted to do in life? If I died tomorrow, I truly believe that everyone I love knows it, and that I’ve been the best version of myself I could be. But, I’m so not done. I want to see my child become an adult and the best version of herself. I want to love my husband for at least 50 more years. I want to have a seat on a Board of Directors. I want to go to New Zealand. I want to change the lives of 100 more people for the better. . . .
Then, I sat down and I wrote an entirely new bucket list.
The moment you achieve a goal is so deeply sweet. Maybe you need a bucket list and maybe you don’t. But there is nothing like the pure, bitter-sweet, exciting, monotonous, twisting, rising and falling of the little everyday moments of life. I am alive. You are alive. Sometimes that miracle is enough. The freedom of choice for how we live our lives is dizzying and delicious.
Go choose the life you want - every moment, every day and even on boring Tuesdays