Friday, July 31, 2015

The Bucket List. Of Sorts.

I’m 31. I remember when I was 15, thinking that 30 was so, so very far away. I have all the time in the world to do everything I’ve dreamed about, read about, seen on TV. I have all the time.

16 years later, I’m a married woman with two boys, an eight year old whirlwind and a 10 month old terror. I love them both, very much. I love my husband very much. 16 years later, and my mother is dead, my father is old, some very good friends have moved far away or died, my aunt is in declining health and I know what tragedy feels like. I know what grief, real grief, is.  

I know regret, intimately. It clings to my heart and it’s something I cannot sleep off, cannot shake away with the morning or drink away in the evening. I know. I’ve tried.

I am busy. We — my family — we are busy. And broke. We get by, but Chef/husband is constantly working for his low salary, I am battling a bored 8 year old and a demanding soon to be toddler while trying to keep my work at home job afloat and sneak in some freelance assignments here and there. I love my life, I do. I know to say I love you, I know not to hold back like I used to. I know time is fleeting.

With work, kids, bills, household upkeep and constant running, my to-do list never seems to shrink. Sometimes I stand in the shower while my elder son is at school and the baby is sleeping, close my eyes and dream of all those things I want to do, all those journeys I want to take, all the hopes and wishes I have for my sons. I want to find the chance to show them the world I never saw, I want them to know there aren’t barriers to anything, anything can be a grand adventure, the world is waiting for you, if you want it badly enough.

I want this badly enough.

1. Visit Peru.
See my family, my Peruvian half of my family I’ve never met, who send me pictures via my father of places that I want to be familiar with, people I want to know. I remember a picture from my childhood of my grandmother I’ve never seen, holding a doll she bought for me. My size, blue dress, brown hair, big eyes. It’s in her house still, waiting. I don’t know how much longer she will be there waiting with it. It’s not just about the beauty of this country, the food (delicious, delicious food!) and playing tourist for a week. This is about my family and me and discovering something that is a part of me I still do not know.

2. Go back to school — again.
I want my Bachelors, someday finally soon. I love to write, and didn’t deem it practical enough to really pursue it as a career.  Leaps of faith and being a persistent foolhardy pest allowed me to start and actually make some money doing it. It took me so, so long to even go to college (I didn’t think it was for me), and getting my Associates Degree was one of the proudest days of my life, one of the few times I felt accomplished, let my ego swell and cried a few tears because I did it. I want that again, I don’t want to stop here. I love learning, and I want to pursue my passion to the fullest. 

3. Visit the places of my husband’s childhood.
My husband is a military brat, and has lived all over the world. My mind is filled with his stories, his antics of getting drunk in Korea in a bar at 15, attending parochial school in England at 5, a gated community in Italy that had its very own pizzeria on site.  He’s been everywhere. I have not, and live vicariously through him. Now, I want to go with him, back to these places, England, Italy, Korea. Japan. Years later, with his perspective and voice and let him be my guide.

Escape to a Writer’s retreat, alone.
Here is my selfishness, but needed, for my sanity and emotional stability. Life and kids and work will not let me journey any distance for an extended period of time by myself. My beautiful artist friend is regularly aboard, spending weeks in Finland or North Carolina in a cabin in the woods just painting and creating and living her art. I want that. I want just two weeks to escape, two weeks at least, to find my voice, those things that are lost deep inside me I cannot write while the baby cries in the background and the dog wants out and I have dinner to make. 

5. Eat wonderfully.
Food is my family’s soul, our bread and butter, so to speak, as well. A chef husband, my food and beer writing, my little gourmands who eat pate and blue cheese without hesitation. I want to visit the amazing restaurants I hear about and just eat and drink to my heart’s content, without worrying about the bill and the time. This is not only a journey to eat, but a journey to reconnect to my husband of nine years over a mutual love. I need to leave the little heathens at home with grandparents, and escape with the Chef for this. We’ll bring them doggie bags.  

 6.Write FOR REAL. Read FOR REAL.
Like, for a living. I’ve done the freelance stuff, which I love and will continue to do, but I want to have writing just suffocate my life in all sorts of good ways. I’d love to be able to just read gobs of books and write reviews and write bookish things and just, somehow, get paid to read and write about books (and other fun stuff, when I feel like it) and not live in a van down by the river. I don’t even have a van!

7. Run A Restaurant With The Fam.
This started out as my husband's dream, and has gradually become mine. I want him to be able to cook what he wants to cook, and I want to be there alongside him when he does it. Owning our own place is not easy, will never be easy, and never end up making us rich. But it would allow us to spend time together and grow other. I deal with the frustrations of kitchen life as a Chef Wife and a Restaurant Widow. I want to deal with them at my husband's side. And eat better food that we have where our home is, of course. Because my husband is just the best cook, ever.

8.Learn to Brew

Beer gave me my start in writing, believe it or not. And I respect the folks in the vibrant craft beer industry here in Michigan. I want to be well versed, more eloquent, and know my shit when I'm talking about beer with these wonderful guys and gals. I want to drink something I created, look at that bottle in my hand and know that if the zombie apocalypse comes, we'll still have good beer to drink.

9. Write That Book (even if no one reads it).
My hope is to learn from school, from retreats, from my own sense of perseverance, how to get all my self down on paper and make it work. I want something concrete to hold in my hands. I want it to be something I am proud of. I want it to be honest and real. And I don't care if anyone reads it or not. But I hope someone does, someday.

10. Discover Appalachia- Discover My Mom.
My mother grew up a holler in southern Virgina, poor and uneducated. When I visited her ancestral home while young, I just noticed the poverty and heavy accents, ignored the beauty and dismissed the people. I want to remedy that. Maybe then I'll understand my mother better, and all those things I never got to say will be said, I will find solace in my acceptance of her past and how it shaped her life. And mine.

* (This blog post is a contest entry for Harlequin’s Come Away with Me Bucket List Contest located at ).

But I still really enjoyed writing it. :-) 

1 comment:

  1. Love this list! Good luck in the contest, Tiffany, and all the best :)