To kick this post off, I want to throw it back to 2010. Remember that year? It feels like a lifetime ago.
Let’s see. I started off 2010 living in Regina slugging out the second semester of my first year of University. I hated it. I hated the rigidity of the course structure, I hated the fact that I was seemingly surrounded by preppies with too much school spirit (something I cringe to see I actually wrote in my journal at the time), and I hated that despite signing up for classes, I always felt like I was in the wrong room.
However, it was only mere weeks into my angst of that year that I found out I got into a rock n’ rolla business school and would consequentially be moving to Toronto that August. I vividly remember dancing around my room after receiving this news, talk about a weight being lifted off my chest. At eighteen years old I was moving out of Saskatchewan, and my new path felt so right.
As a result of my reinvigorated lust for life, I concocted a Facebook note (remember those?) detailing my very own bucket list; you know the kind, everything to do in life “before you kick the bucket.” Granted, my list wasn’t everything I wanted for my life, and looking at it now it’s shudderingly materialistic and self-centred, but I actually spent a good chunk of time dreaming this baby up.
So here it is, that exact Facebook note (with my current notes in bold).
February 13, 2010 ·
My Bucket List
(In no particular order)
1. Meet Billie Joe Armstrong (I have now almost done this THRICE, despite no longer being the Green Day mega-fan I once was.)
2. Make a raft and float along the Mississippi river. Hide from anyone who wants to make money or who has the intention of taking me back to civilization. (I bet you can guess what book I was reading when I wrote this.)
3. Go to a nascar race.
4. Climb the Great pyramid
5. Visit the Holy Land ( Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm near Bethel, New York.— the site of Woodstock) (It didn’t take me long to tick this off the list, you can read the story here.)
6. Become a serious Peace activist (I love peace, but my cookie-cutter idealism has waned.)
7. Go to San Francisco with a flower in my hair. (I actually bought flower crowns for the event.)
8. Ride and become friends with an elephant. (DON’T RIDE ELEPHANTS.)
9. Skydive in a wingsuit so it feels like I am flying. (Hell no.)
10. Spend a night in a haunted Scottish castle. (Went to Scotland, stayed in an Airbnb potentially owned by a mafia man. It was decidedly not haunted.)
11.Go to Vlodrop, Netherlands and learn Transcendental meditation. (I’ve looked up Canadian Transcendental groups since writing this, and they’re super culty. Does a mantra really cost thousands of dollars? Come on.)
12. Go to Iceland and on October 9, watch the Imagine Peace tower be illuminated.
13. Visit the Strawberry Fields memorial for John Lennon in New York. (Was there in 2011, 2014, and again in 2015. You can read my ode to John Lennon here.)
14. Go to Mardi Gras– and don’t tell anybody that i’m going. (What did I think I would be doing at Mardi Gras that I would want to keep it entirely under wraps?)
15. Visit Easter Island
16. Explore Petra, Jordan
17. Have a pet pig (I now know people who have pet pigs. Hard pass.)
18. Approach a stranger on the street, invite them to lunch, and then befriend them. (Said the introvert.)
19. Live in New York City
20. Live in an exotic place where I don’t speak the language for at least a month (Does Spain count as an exotic place?)
21. Go on a vacation without knowing where I’m going, and then get lost in the world. (I actually know of companies who organize a trip to an undisclosed place for you, and then tell you where it is only once you get to the airport.)
22. Watch a space shuttle take off
23. Go street luging
24. Sleep under the stars, in a hamoc, whilst alone in a field. (I used the word whilst.)
25. Try a hallucinogen (Hi.)
26. Go to a show on Broadway (So far: Chicago, The Lion King, and Hedwig and The Angry Inch.)
27. Go tornado/storm chasing
28. Ride the subway with no pants on. (One of my friends actually spearheads the No Pants Society in Toronto, actively participates in the No Pants Subway Ride and I still haven’t done this. Although the urge is definitely disappearing with age).
29. Bleach my hair bright blonde, rent or buy a pink convertible, and road trip to California. (Why? So I can be Barbie?)
to be continued…
Gems like this note are exactly why I check my Facebook memories almost daily. Not only can you see what you were doing on this day in history, but you can see just how much you’ve changed.
And despite the fact that many of these bucket list items turned out to less than priorities for me, or have since fallen off my map altogether, I think each one exemplifies something bigger. Because even before I moved out of Saskatchewan for the first time, I knew that I wanted a life full of adventure. I knew I wanted to meet people, hear their stories, explore places I didn’t even know existed, and push myself out of my comfort zone.
Which is why creating this bucket list at such a transitional time in my life was an excellent starting point. It got my brain juices flowing for the kind of lifestyle I knew I wanted to live. “Meet Billie Joe Armstrong” turned out to be “work in the music industry and get closer to the people who make the music I love”, while so many others can be lumped into “travel the world and experience different cultures”. And while I have since learned that I don’t need to limit myself to a list in order to live out loud, I give 2010 Taylor a pat on the back. The point was stories; the point is dreaming.
I have always been a dreamer, and not just in the figurative sense. In high school, I would space out so often that my friends made a past-time out of “Taylor Watching”. When we hung out, say during lunch or math class or what have you, they would keep an eye out for the inevitable – my eyes would glaze over and become unfocused on some arbitrary point in the distance, while my mind would float off to somewhere far away.
Even today, I daydream a lot. About what? All kinds of things. Running through the logistics of errands, what I would say to old friends if I ever get to see them again, how a specific situation ten years ago made me feel and why. But I think the biggest thing I get out of logging hours upon hours of daydreaming is visualization.
Because it’s hard to take big steps in life without picturing them in your mind’s eye first.
Before I moved to Toronto, I dreamed about what my apartment was going to look like. When I thought about my goal of working in the music industry, I dreamed of all the fascinating people I was going to meet. When I decided to leave Toronto and start travelling around Europe, I dreamed of all the new things I was going to learn. I visualized what I wanted, and then I made those things happen.
And yeah, it is a privilege to be able to dream this way.
My dreams have never had to include leaving an abusive situation, or having enough money to afford medical expenses, or fleeing a dangerous country. Hell, even the act of making a bucket list can be seen as a luxury.
And honestly, having privilege in mind while looking at my 2010 bucket list shows me exactly how much I have changed. No longer do I want to check off items on a list to quell the angst in my soul and prove an adventure to myself. I want to learn as much as possible from other people, have experiences that will change me at a cellular level, and use what I’ve learned to make the world a happier, more thoughtful place. Everything I do, I want it to have a purpose, even if I spend time working on myself so I can better help someone else down the road.
And who needs a bucket list for that? The sky’s the limit.
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