It’s a question I have asked myself often over the past 10 months, since I first opened the MNBucketList to the public. What has the Bucket List taught me? This year, this month, today. About the people in my life, the people who read everyday, or even once an a while. Since you’ll always find me writing lists, it only seems fitting to follow suit with what I’ve learned through this fluid expedition and also, what I hope you’ve taken and will continue to take away.
- Start believing things are possible. Big, extraordinary, creative, magnificent, scary, wild opportunistic things are possible, every single day. As long as you are positive, shine with optimism, and are willing to work tooth and nail to find what makes you a whole human.
- Your own health, safety and general well-being are important. And it should be for those around you. If it isn’t for someone else, tread lightly. I promise you, without those things, you can’t be happy or fulfilled. Know your worth and let people love you that know it, too.
- When you need help, ask. Whether it’s a reservation, a recommendation, a helping hand, a partner, a navigator, a slight of hand, a confidant, a friend, it never hurts to reach out and ask.
- Loveliness and worthiness have nothing to do with numbers on a scale, the softness of your voice, the weight on your shoulders, the list of emergency contacts in your phone, the balance of your account, your address, your list of food likes and dislikes or the freckle on the tip of your nose.
- Grow as a person by asking for other peoples (whose opinions you value) constructive criticism. Don’t be afraid of it. You need to hear it in order to become better.
- Everyone loves getting cards, and thank you’s, food, hugs, phone calls, invitations and moments of undivided attention, remember that. Whether it be your friend, your coworker, the mailman or your grandma.
- There is more to see than you could ever get to in a hundred lifetimes. Remember that, every time you have a bad day, or things get hard. You have limitless avenues for escape, and chaos and wonder, if you are willing to find light and beauty in the mundane and hidden.
- If you don’t have family, have support, people who are there, people you are there for – you have to find it. Look, please look for it. I promise that you belong somewhere, there is a community you will thrive in. And when you get there, learn to recognize someone’s struggles and be part of their solution.
- When you find good people, anyone who fits into your life for the better, take a vested interest in them. If you do, you will find the most important, quality relationships you’ll ever have. You don’t need the masses to love you and what you bring to the table, but your life will be better because these specific people do.
- Read a map. The whole thing, from cover to cover. And all those travel pamphlets people like to throw away. Someone took the time to make those, be respectful of that time.
- You cannot control anyone’s loyalty or how much they value you, any more than you can control the weather. Make peace with that, quickly. Your life will be much better as soon as you stop competing with perceptions.
- The world doesn’t owe you a thing – it was here first. The only way you can get anything in this life is if you start staying ‘yes’ to the universe. Show up for every chance. Take big chances and calculated risks. Grab life and shake it until your bones ache.
- Understand that wherewithal and good intentions don’t take you to deadlines. Openness, consistency, dedication, solidity, and grit does. If life isn’t giving you opportunities, create them. If there isn’t a door for you, build one, with your bare hands.
- When you are in doubt, keep going. Let it ground you, then over-prepare, organize and be ready. Let go and see what happens. Life is better when you’ve taken care of the details anyway.
- Make reservations as often as you can and always be nice to servers. Be painfully hospitable and leave graciously. Oh, and it never hurts to simply look at the dessert menu.
As this year comes to a close, I should also tell you that I had help. I have been lucky enough to share my life with two of my best friends, Rebecca and Dani, both of whom I met because of the MN Bucket List. Since they have come on a significant number of my adventures and each played a part, I asked them both the same question.
What has being part of the MN bucket list taught me this year?
DANI: Probably my biggest thing is being able to say yes to things. I’ve done things this year that I never dreamed of doing, and nothing that’s ever even crossed my mind. Other things would be:
- Be kind NO MATTER WHAT
- Friends are capable of being closer than family
- Don’t half ass anything
- Pay attention to people you let in and give them your undivided attention. Don’t be distracted. Read more.
- You can learn something from everyone you meet
- Toxic people and situations are not worth your time and effort
- Build stronger relationships. COMMUNICATE even if it’s hard.
- Hug often and tell people you love them always, spend time with people you love
- Be an adventurer even if it’s local and go to places that gets so overlooked. People always think a vacation means far away. It doesn’t have to. Be in the moment.
What has being part of the MN bucket list taught me this year?
REBECCA: I’ve spent almost my whole life in the Twin Cities. It’s usual to graduate college – move into a job, make friends with co-workers or join up with their partners friends and make friends with those couples…even if you don’t care for them. Well, I graduated, was in a relationship, but most of my friends moved home. I didn’t move into a traditional office, I started my own business. The relationship I was in ended. I had to start over. I was in my home town and I had to start over. I was this odd person out. How do you meet people? How do you make friends. Real friends?
I had to get out and meet people. I had to make the first move. Well, actually. I had to accept the invitation to go to Girl.Creative. Through the happy hour I talked with a few people. Eventually, I sat by Jessica. We followed each other on Instagram, but we actually exchanged phone numbers to connect outside this social media world.
This story goes on, but a thing to be reminded of is this:
Be an odd person out. Make a move. Invite. Accept an invite. Go by yourself. Go out even when you don’t feel like it. Go talk to someone new. They’ll be plenty of awkward moments. But they can turn into some pretty cool moments. You might even make a good friend or two+ out of it all.