What’s Left On Your Bucket List? Are You Afraid To Finish It? Squelch Your Fear. Die With No Regrets
I Created Women Over Fifty Network Out Of Fear.
Let me ‘splain. I have a fear of not accomplishing or experiencing everything I want to before I die. If I dwell on it, it makes me anxious. I started wondering if other women my age felt anxious about it too – this shortening of time.
The more I thought about it, the more curious I became about how women my age felt about aging in general. Were they enjoying it or did they fear it? Did they accept it or fight it? What experiences have they had? What changes had aging made in their lives, if any? I wondered where all these women my age were. How could I find them? I was thinking how great it would be if we could all somehow gather together to talk about our fears, share our lives and laugh over a glass of wine.
We’re Getting Older With Things Still On Our Bucket List
As we begin to see more and more signs of aging, we start thinking more about our mortality. For some of us it’s gradual. We notice a grey hair here, some extra wrinkles there.
In my case there was no gradual. It was like a lightening bolt one day. HOLY SHIT! I’M OLD!! Then, as is typical of me, I was like, “oh nu-uh. I’m not ready. I’ve still got shit to do!”
Okay, I admit I tend to be defiant. I argue and kick and scream and endlessly explore solutions for situations I’m ultimately powerless over. I appear to be a hard-ass, but even I know that it’s my defense mechanism against fear.
But you know what? I’m not afraid of the physical aspect of aging, although it doesn’t thrill me. You know what scares the shit out of me though?
It Doesn’t Feel Comfortable To Feel Uncomfortable
We as humans avoid those things that make us uncomfortable. We ignore them. We dance around them. We justify why we don’t need to do them, even if they’re the direct path to getting us where we want to be in life.
Do you have a bucket list? Take a look at it. How many items are occupying a line that are truely things you’d love to do…if you were the ‘type of person‘ that would do ‘that thing‘.
Out of fear, you’ve already mentally ruled it out, yet it still remains important enough for you to keep it at item #22 and mention “that’s on my bucket list” if ‘that thing‘ comes up in conversation.
You obviously wish you could make yourself do ‘that thing‘. You can even see yourself doing it.
What Would It Feel Like To Conquer Your Fear?
What if you could rustle up the courage to actually do it. Can you imagine the freedom you’d feel once you were on the other side of that fear? How great would it feel to grab a big fat red Sharpie and finally get to check that sucker off your bucket list?
The next time ‘that thing‘ came up in conversation, you could jump in and say HEY, I DID THAT! Think of the power you’d feel over something that had controlled you, maybe for years. Power over something that had held you back from being the ‘type of person‘ you used to envy, to now becoming closer to the person you hoped to be. The woman you always wished you could be. A woman who lives life fearlessly and with intent. One who has opened her mind to adventures and is filled with curiosity and determination.
Do you remember a time when you were afraid to do something and did it anyway? How many of those times did you say afterward “that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be”. I know for me, it’s been pretty much every time.
Can you remember how you felt afterward? Kind of giddy, right? Relieved? Bullet-proof? How would you like to feel that way every. single. day?
Knuckle Down Buckle Down, Do It, Do It, Do It!
Do you think you could do something every day that scared you a little? Made you a bit uncomfortable? What if you could chip away at that bucket list until it was just an empty bucket.
Once you set your mind to something, whether it’s a lifelong fear, or just a small task that you’re dreading, nine times out of ten it surprises you by not being as big a deal as your mind had conjured up. How many hours…or years do you waste avoiding things out of fear of their outcome?
Can I tell you a story that might explain why I’m such a zealot for grabbing life by the nuts and running with it? I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible.
I Lived In Ward and June Cleaver’s House with The Beav
My parents were pretty conventional, by-the book people. My dad worked 8-5 at the same job for 30+ years. He golfed on weekends, spent hours at the dining room table helping us with homework, and saved all year to take us all to the ocean for our two week family vacation.
My mom was a stay-at-home mom who took in ironing for extra money. She had sensible, economical dinners on the table when my dad got home from work, she loved everyone and always made our friends feel like they were family. She loved to sew and did it beautifully.
We went to Mass on Sundays. We were taught good manners and were taught at an early age that “children were to be seen and not heard”. Mom and dad weathered our tumultuous teenage years and we kids looked forward to venturing out on our own to “do whatever you want when you move out” because “as long as you live under this roof, you’ll live by our rules”.
My parents lived their lives conservatively putting away money for retirement. They paid off the house we’d lived in our entire life and celebrated with a mortgage burning party. They continued to spend their money wisely and looked forward to retirement when they would travel and play golf.
My mom died of leukemia on my 28th birthday at the age of 53.
My dad died two years later at the age of 61. They never saw retirement.
Checking Out With No Regrets
My grieving seemed endless. In addition to the heartache I felt with the loss of my parents, my grief was extended by the regret I felt for them. They had lived their entire lives with their eyes on only one distant goal. One they never reached.
From the moment of their deaths I’ve felt an intense sense of urgency. There was so much I still wanted to do, but had experienced firsthand there was no guarantee I’d have the time to complete them.
My goal is to check out of this life with no regrets. I want my bucket list to be filled with checkmarks.
I want to be that 100-yr-old wrinkled woman being inteviewed on her deathbed, and when asked if she has any regrets, to be able to smile from ear to ear and answer without hesitation “not a one!”
Are you with me?
Until next time, peace out.