Inevitably, January is filled with well-intentioned resolutions to improve ourselves, get back on track, or generally elevate the quality of our lives. (This is a big part of why I curated a complete Whole30 meal plan, for all those healthy-eating resolutioners out there)

As I reflected on 2017, which by all measures of meaning was a totally kick-ass year for me (even amidst the global and political shit-show), there was one pervasive theme across the valleys to my peaks: I am my own biggest stressor. I perpetually overcommit, because I want to help and be involved in so many ways. But rather than exponentially increasing my impact, the nature of being stretched so thin diluted it.

So for 2018, I am undergoing an intentional clearing of the plate to focus on what matters most: relationships, music, health & fitness, my job, and one minimally-involved volunteer activity. In that order. To ensure I stay on track, my husband and I underwent a values planning exercise between the two of us. This generated a set of 5 core beliefs that we hold dearest. These serve as filters for decisions we make, activities we give ourselves to, and the future we are paving the way for together. (I’d share, but those 5 values are private)

Speaking of that future, what of 2018? We have no idea what it holds in store for us, and we do enjoy the element of surprise. So I’m fighting my inner planner to not orchestrate the entire year. Instead, we came up with a bucket list of 12 things we want to do this year. We figured, one per month seems reasonable and will keep shit interesting all year long.

Plus, I’ve never liked resolutions. They imply that all we’re doing is bad shit that we need to avoid. Which may be true in some cases – I’m all for course-correcting bad habits. But when your entire year’s plan is grounded in negative energy, you’re setting yourself up for failure. For example, I could make a resolution to blog more. Sure, I do want to write more posts, but when I inevitably fail because it doesn’t align to the values Michael and I made this year, I’m just gonna feel shitty about myself for not following through. I want to set myself up to succeed, and do things to build myself up. So instead, I’ve built a list of proactive, new things to try. If you’re doing traditional resolutions, a bucket list will bring some balance to those.

My 2018 Bucket List

  1. Attend a dog show. Like, a legit affair of the “Best in Show” variety.
  2. Get a colonic. I know, it sounds ghastly, but if you know me IRL then you understand how obsessed with my bowels I am. Yet I have never done this and there are tremendous health benefits to reap. Hence, I want a poop cleanse.
  3. Start a vegetable garden. My grandfather had the most exquisite operation I’ve ever laid eyes on. It was second only to the impressive pickling and canning operation in his basement. There’s a piece of him that I’d be paying homage to with this.
    Grandpa Pete
  4. Go whale watching. I mean, how can you hear this and not say, “FUCK YES!” I imagine it being equal parts awe-inspiring and terrifying. Although I was a varsity swimmer for four years, I’m generally afraid of the ocean and all the critters contained therein. But the majesty of a pod* of whales is a sight I must behold firsthand.
    *Had to Google “what is a group of whales called”
  5. Get another tattoo. Alright so I already have three tats. But this is not a cop-out. I’ve been wanting a specific one that incorporates me and Michael’s initials for awhile but just haven’t made it a priority. So this is more about prioritizing this and what it means to me.
  6. Go a week without makeup. I’m not a “typical” feminist. I’m not out to constantly emphasis and highlight my sex and what makes us different – I just think that further spreads the divide. But, I am all about empowering women. And one often-overlooked way of doing this is making each other feel comfortable in our own skin.
  7. Give a TED Talk. These are fucking cool and I generally have a staunch POV on any given topic. Plus, I’m a grade-A attention whore, so there ya go.
  8. Go paddle boarding. Wait. How the hell did I end up with two ocean things on my list?! Eh, fuck it.
  9. Attend a unique, small-town festival. I’m talking obscure af. Like, the Armpit Hair Showcase or something equally weird but less disgusting. Give me some freaky shit!
  10. Travel only by public transportation for a week. Reducing my environmental impact, practicing planning and resourcefulness, taking advantage of my city’s resources, making new acquaintances on the bus (or not, IDK how social these things are but I have a very fun yet improbable fantasy in my mind about it).
  11. Attend the Buckeye Summit. This is an event put on by Ohio State to bring a fuckload of smart people together to discuss issues of food security in Central Ohio and figure out solutions to them. This seems like a good way to activate my passion for food and healthy eating beyond just Instagram #foodporn.
  12. Touch my toes, do a headstand, and do a back bend. I’m 36 years old and have NEVER been able to touch my toes. The other two would just be fun benefits of gettin’ more bendy.

What about you? Can you come up with a 2018 bucket list? Challenge yourself to do it. As you can see, these can be big things or totally easy-to-do social experiments (like the week sans makeup).

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