At the start of this year, I began a quest to do ONE NEW THING EVERY MONTH–something I’ve never done before. This was my version of a bucket list; starting empty, I filled my bucket with new experiences during the year.
Early in the year I posted a Bucket List progress report.
As this year slips quietly into 2012, here is my year-end report.
MAY: Helped feed homeless families
How many of us have taken time to do something for the homeless?
How many of us have set foot in a homeless shelter?
Like many of you, I’ve donated money and in-kind gifts or bought someone a sandwich.
Nancy, a former long-distance caregiver, her husband, Mark, caregiver Kathy, and two ladies from their church prepared meals for fifty people at the Lancaster Community Shelter in the High Desert of California.
I asked if I could join them.
They welcomed me knowing many hands make light(er) work.
I was humbled by their graciousness to prepare Shepherd’s pie, fresh salad, and dessert. But most impressive was looking deep into the eyes of men, women, and children I was serving.
JUNE: Dismounted off a horse voluntarily
Few know this, but I’ve been a rodeo rider from age ten until my mid-twenties. Never mind that my performances have all been involuntary! I’ve been thrown, scraped off, and even clung onto the underside of an aging mare galloping through a snow-filled meadow! If it weren’t so scary and painful; especially after being bucked off then stepped on, I might consider a career with the Texas Rodeo!
A quarter century later as I approach elderhood, my neighbor made an offer that might help me erase these early memories.
With Karin’s encouragement, I stayed on top of a horse while riding safely. Okay, so what if she was holding the lead as the horse walked around in circles? And after she led me to a block of elevated wood, I was able to safely and voluntarily dismount.
Karin gave me the gift of erasing a half-a-lifetime of negative experiences with horses.
JULY: One Unscheduled Day
Wow, July went right by.
What did I do?
I worked hard…that’s not new.
What is new is choosing ONE DAY to schedule NOTHING in my calendar. That’s right.
WOW, and that felt really good!
AUGUST: Climbed 19 miles in the mountains from 10,000′ elevation to 12,300′
This is the FIRST TIME I’ve hiked 19 miles above 10,000 feet where the air is thinner and drier.
Training for the marathon on paved roads at 4,000- to 5,000-foot elevation is one thing. Nineteen miles of hiking and climbing in thinner air with wind requires more mental fortitude. Click on and read Together in Caregiving to Climb a Mountain.
Also, thanks to my cousins Kevork and Rolanda, my husband and I were treated to dinner and a movie at iPic in Barrington, Illinois, one of a small chain of theaters that serves a meal and drinks. I enjoyed a fried calamari appetizer and a club sandwich with a bottle of Pinot Noir. Admittedly, this was a contrast of experiences given the cushy seating and delectable food while watching The Help. I recommend both!
SEPTEMBER: Almost to the Top of Mt. Whitney
This is my husband’s and my third attempt at climbing to the top of Mt. Whitney. The first time we got lost and ended up on the mountaineer’s route. The second time we stopped at Mirror Lake. This time, we opted for the main route after learning how scary the mountaineer’s route really was with a sheer vertical climb near the top!
We made good time getting up 75% of the way and just beyond the 51st of 97 switchbacks at 12,550-foot elevation. But to make it all the way to the top, we’d need to climb another 1,950 feet to reach the 14,494-foot summit.
OCTOBER: Peace of Mind
I did something small for a little peace of mind.
At the end of October, I stopped tracking how I spend my time each day. Now, instead of scheduling time several times throughout each week to write for The Caregiver’s Voice, I simply move one scheduled item to the next day after accomplishing the task.
I was feeling stressed when reviewing how I spend my time working 12-14 hour days.
Besides, when I looked back at that one unscheduled day in July I couldn’t help but smile.
NOVEMBER: Florida, here I come!
It’s been thirty-five years since she and I went to school in Wisconsin. She moved to Florida and I to California. Anyway, we wanted to do something that neither of us had done before–something that would give us a charge out of life. We went kayaking. I will only admit that we will remember the experience; especially, since it involved a rescue. Click on this sentence to read about our Kayaking Adventure and Rescue on the Weeki Wachie River north of Tampa, Florida. (You’ll need Facebook access.)
Despite my aversion to politics gone wrong, I put my entire foot onto the ground floor. After two years of serving on our rural town council I agreed to serve as Vice President. Fortunately, our town council members are more interested in preserving what makes our community special. Unlike most politicians, we are unpaid volunteers.
I plan to continue filling my bucket each year. In 2012, I may try at least six new experiences. I found this to be an exciting way to get a charge out of an otherwise busy life and to look forward to something new.
These are my experiences. What about yours?