Lighter Thoughts

Because my last two entries were introductory, they were especially long and emotionally heavy (at least for myself). This time, I hope to briefly share with you a fun idea that I found personally motivates me and helps me to see fresh perspectives.

In my last post I mentioned how, through minimalism, I began to spend more time with experiences, rather than things. Focusing on my life as an exploratory journey rather than as an accumulative mission caused me to examine my goals, desires, and passions. Where I otherwise lacked motivation, I came across the idea of “bucketlisting.” I did not look at this list so much as “things I hope to do before I kick the bucket” (that was far too morbid for my taste), but rather a way to document a personal to-do list of things that excited me. I began to log easy and challenging goals alike here

With surprising ease, I found that things I had yet to accomplish flowed from my brain faster than my excited fingers could type them into the list. Some of them were silly and even had been done before, but all the same I had a true desire to accomplish it again, though this time with intention and a renewed significance. One of these possibly silly things was to make a gingerbread house, for example. Sure, I suppose I’ve made one at some point in the past, but where was that memory?  I knew it was time to make new memories, and to begin to find pleasure in simple undertakings. In 2013 I brought one to our family Thanksgiving to do with my nephews and niece. I’m happy to say that this became a yearly tradition of Aunt Katie’s to do with the kids, and for the first time began to focus on quality time spent, crafts, and fond memories I could truly treasure.

I learned to change a tire all by myself (simple to some yes, but it was something I was especially proud of). It took a few online instructional videos, a car manual, and a “Vehicle Maintenance for Dummies” book, but when I was finally able to properly replace that last lug nut myself, I tasted accomplishment.

I walked in a 5K for a cause, specifically for the Lymphoma Foundation in honor of my mother with Non-Hodgkins. We did this for two years with myself as the organizing captain, and it brought together all kinds of different people for one beautiful purpose. This was something that, due to my social anxieties, I never imagined I’d be doing. These now are such special memories of something I was able to share with my mother and loved ones, and I’m sure ones I will cherish even after she’s gone.

I wanted to bake Christmas cookies. Of course this wasn’t the first time, but had I ever really been intentional about it? Had I done it with someone I loved? Why didn’t I do that every year? I loved the holidays! So I called my aunt and spent time with her over dinner and frosting cookies. I have a feeling that it was just as meaningful for her as it was for myself.

I found myself spending genuine time doing only the things that brought me joy. Discovering what these things were, re-evaluating what routines no longer served me, and realizing new interests became new hobbies of mine. This list has altered and changed over the last nearly four years, but I find that this is an expected ebb and flow if we are continually growing as individuals. There were certain things that originally were on the list that, after a few years and much growth, no longer felt important to me. There were new interests I’ve added I hadn’t even heard of when I originally made the list.  There are many new things I’ve tried or undertaken that aren’t on the list at all, yet I feel as though it’s the inspiration the list brings that has driven me to seek out more fulfilling past times.

For the sake of expressing the importance of finding passions, I will share with you that I was not always in the best of emotional health from my early teen years to early twenties. While there were many factors to the rest of that part of my life, I do feel that (see last blog post) through my divorce and discovery of minimalism, the fog was somehow lifted from then on. I began to crave the inspiration these new (and repeat) experiences brought to me. I began to feel excited about life. I began to look to the future… maybe for the first time.

You can find my personal Bucketlist here, as well ideas on the main website of other goals for your own list – should you choose to make one. Of the items on my completed list, I can truly share that none of them were a waste. Some are in progress or only half done, some had to be added back in because I needed more time to stick with it, and some feel like it will be years before I can even attempt them. All that matters, all that truly counts, …is the journey. Life is made up of experiences and accomplishments, not of just careers and bank accounts. Fulfillment may appear different for everyone, but the search for what fulfills us is what will bring individual joy. May your fog be lifted, your path be winding, and your contentment unparalleled.

With an open heart,

K.

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