Recently my family and a handful of friends (19 of us to be exact) went on a cruise from Florida to the Eastern Caribbean in celebration of my parent’s fortieth wedding anniversary. We had an absolutely amazing time aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas.
Onboard the ship there was a 30 foot rock-climbing wall. It kept catching my attention, nevertheless I knew I had no business hooking a harness to my body and testing my ability, nor the ability of my newly installed ankle replacement. BUT, every time I walked by the wall it was if it was saying:
Psst, Adrienne, over here. Come here. Come climb me…
Much to my father’s dismay, I finally stepped up to the counter, signed the release form and put on the climbing gear.
My adrenaline was pumping and sweat was sliding down my temples (before I even started climbing). I questioned whether or not I could make it to the top. I also questioned whether or not this was another stupid idea that would put me back on a gurney. Casting my judgement aside, I committed to the task in front of me. I knew I could do it (the question was still whether or not I should).
I started my climb and the higher I got the more tense I became. “Honey, breathe!” I could hear my husband yelling as I let out a big exhale. I could feel the distance I was putting between me and the ground. The distance was becoming hair-raising, sweaty and rather exhilarating. I couldn’t bring myself to look down, so I kept my eyes in front of me and above me. “Use your legs,” I heard my husband encouraging. As I was closing in on the bell at the top I started to notice my arms and hands were fatiguing, but to my amazement my ankle didn’t hurt at all. I couldn’t even tell there was an artificial joint buried under the skin.
I kept pushing my body up the wall. I stretched my body as far as I could. Leaning all my weight out over my right ankle (aka: my ankle replacement), I reached for the string on the bell… ding ding ding. I made it! I paused to take in the feeling (and let my hubby take a picture) before I let go of the wall and repelled back to the ground.
So I climbed up a 30 foot wall with an ankle replacement… big deal. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized why it was extra special.
The Saturday following our trip I was prepping taxes and came across an old notebook dated 2009. In the notebook I found one of my infamous bucket lists and sure enough, there in the middle of a list I had written climb a rock wall. My eyes filled with tears. I knew what was going on in my life when I wrote that goal on a piece of paper. At the time I was fighting depression. I was fighting to gain my life back. I was fighting to forget my accident and move on. I was fighting constant pain. I was still fighting tears about my dance career that had vanished. I was fighting tears about the horrible desk job I felt trapped by. At the time I wrote the words climb a rock wall I was living in a dark place. I never thought rock climbing would be possible, which is probably why I wrote it down. At the time, I had no idea that I infact would dance again, that I would learn how to ride a mountain bike, and that I would be able to go for long walks. Nor did I have the vision that a doctor/scientist would invent a contraption that I would elect to have surgically implanted. A silly goal I had written down and forgotten about now serves as one of my motivational memories that proves I can overcome anything.
There is nothing sweeter than having a bucket list and one by one placing a check mark next to your bullet points. I started keeping a bucket list around the time I had my injury (2007 – age 24). Perhaps it is because I realized how quickly life can change, or in reality, how precious life is. Many elders in my circle find it humorous that I have bucket list considering I am only 32. I call it my bucket list because I like the ring to it, but in reality it is more of a “goals” list… better yet, I think of it as my favorite “to do” list. I may live to be 102, 62 or 42… who knows. What I do know is, I’m a day dreamer and achiever. If I can imagine it, then yes, I can achieve it!
Why a bucket list? It is proof that I dream about my future, live in the present and celebrate my goals from the past.
So… what’s on your bucket list?