When you were a kid, did you ever make lists in class or with your parents or friends about things you wanted to do when you were big and strong and just more…. grown up? Sometimes it’s things like “swim in a sea filled with whipped cream” but there are also those hints of goals and accomplishments thrown into the mix such as “perform at Madison Square Garden” or “graduate from university” – things of a more “realistic” nature (although I still wouldn’t mind swimming in a sea of whipped cream).
It’s funny for me to think about those lists now because, as it turns out, I’m actually checking things off. Which is crazy to think about- that all those things a poofy blonde-haired 8-year-old me dreamed about. It never really occurred to me how much I’ve checked off until recently when I returned from a trip around Italy.
It felt like I had been gone 2 months in the 10 days where I saw Bologna, San Marino, Rimini and Rome with Kylea, one of my flat mates. It’s funny because one of my dreams was exactly that- travel around on trains with a best friend. Trains are few and far between in Texas and the thought of being able to hop around with only a backpack in Europe with a gal pal was almost as imaginary and unattainable as Peter Pan or a sea of whipped cream to swim in. But i did it! And I even have some great pictures to prove it 🙂
After thinking about this particular trip, I realized just exactly how much I’ve checked off my list. And it’s a pretty good amount of things!
Sometimes it’s difficult to see that you’ve achieved goals because life just gets complicated and filled with other stuff- we get caught in a riptide of tasks and forget to celebrate our dreams and victories and the fact that we worked so hard to get to this place. For me, I can get so focused on the future, the next goal to achieve, the next ladder to climb, that I forget to take time in the present to pat myself on the back and say “Look at everything you’ve done in the past twenty-one years! You’ve ran races, you’ve been a featured artist on the radio, you’ve swam in oceans, you’ve lived 5,210 miles away from home, you’ve worked at a travel magazine, you’ve earned enough funds to buy an awesome camera, you’ve performed in a nightclub in Barbados and the oldest bar in Belfast, you’ve overcome destructive friendships and venomous relationships, you’ve hiked mountains, you’ve traveled, you’ve loved deeply…. and there’s still so much more.”
They say that “you are your own worst enemy” but I think along with that there’s a hidden meaning- that you can also be your own best friend. While it’s easy to get caught up in a destructive downward spiral imagining all of ways that people are better or have accomplished more that we have, it’s important to realize that the list we made years ago wasn’t for those people and it wasn’t the same as theirs either.
That list is ours!