Monday, May 19, 2014

Sharing Your Greatest Accomplishment and Bucket List: I'll Show You Mine and Hope You Show Me Yours

My post on Saturday was focused on my sister-in-law earning her Bachelor's Degree at the age of gettingprettyclosetoforty.  It got me thinking a lot about the concept of accomplishments ... and, strangely, of bucket lists (things you want to do before you die).

I asked that anyone reading the post share his or her greatest accomplishments and the top five bucket list items.

Only one person actually did this, and that was on Facebook.  I was kind of daunted for a moment until I went to do it myself and realized that it was a hard task I had set forward ... in fact, I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it myself.

Why?

Well, because there was the easy route on my greatest accomplishments ... and it would not have been a cop-out, because I truly believe that these three bright, beautiful ladies are my greatest accomplishment.
And the more I thought about it, the more discouraged I got since I didn't seem to have any tangible accomplishments other than my children.

I thought about focusing on how I survived being married to a man who changed into a violent and abusive alcoholic, but that doesn't seem like an accomplishment, per se.

Then I figured that surviving a rape (and the repercussions, which I sometimes think were worse than the rape itself) was kind of a big accomplishment.  However, I realized that I still have a lot of work left to do before I can say "I survived" because I am still reliving that event regularly, so that certainly makes it less of an accomplishment on my part and more sheer luck.

A common theme seemed to be developing, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my greatest accomplishment is surviving.  I don't really feel compelled to elaborate on that, and I definitely have to think more about it before I write, but I think that is probably my big accomplishment (other than my girls).

That really is kind of sad ...

I mean, I've written a book (not published yet, and I've accepted that it probably won't be), I've taught hundreds of students, I cook a mean meatloaf, I won some award for excellence my last semester at UNH, but none of those things feel like me ... which doesn't make much sense, does it?

So, yeah, I'm stating my ability to survive tragedies, travesties, and everyday life as my greatest (non-daughter) accomplishment.  And I'm not even sure how good I am at that ... Blaaaaaaaaah.

Onto the bucket list ...

Here are five things I'd like to do before I die:

1.  Write and have published a book about my experiences.  I'm still not sure if I should try to pass it off as fiction or if I should just state for the record that it's a memoir.

2.  Drive across the country, hitting every state along the way, by myself.  I think it would be an educational and esoteric experience, so I would want to be alone to soak it all up.

3. Meet Stephen King and explain to him (in a non-creepy way) the impact that his books, particularly the seven plus Dark Tower books, have had on my life.

4.  Complete a genealogy of all aspects of my family.  I think there might be some very interesting things there, and I'd be curious to see if patterns go back as far as I think they could.

5.    Swim with sharks.

So if you are more articulate than I am, please share your biggest accomplishment and your bucket list in the comments.  I'm very curious to see what everyone wants to do.

Looking forward to reading them!