Monday, December 31, 2012

My New Resolution: I Won't Allow My Mortality To Limit Myself

I’m in a very pensive mood. The reason is for the past few months I’ve been thinking of my own mortality.  I never used the worry about how old I was getting until I turned 35 last year. That hit me hard. And now at 36 ½ I wonder where I’ll be in the next few decades of my life. You’ll think this is funny but when the so-called end of the world was supposed to happen on 12/21/12, I worried. I counted down the days, and when that day arrived, I held my breath. The night before as I waited for the world did end (or the zombie apocalypse occurred), I thought back on what I’ve accomplished and what I still needed to accomplish.

I once had this college professor who had an amazing outlook on life. He was always the optimist and every single person in my major (Communications) wanted to take one of his classes because hearing him speak was so inspiring. He used to teach at Pepperdine University, the #1 Communication school in the United States located in Malibu, California. One day he had us do an exercise. He wanted us to write down everything we wanted to do in our life, big or small. He said people will do the things they set out for themselves if they write it down. It’s better known as a bucket list. There were four things I wrote down in particular I wanted to accomplish before I was 35. 

I wanted to go to Las Vegas. I’ve been to Las Vegas 3 times, with a goal to go a 4th time summer 2013.

I wanted to go to Hawaii and London, England. I’ve been to London twice and Hawaii (Maui) once.

I wanted to lose 50lbs. At the time I was 80lbs overweight. I ended up losing a total of 85lbs in 8 years.

The very last thing I wrote that I rolled my eyes over because I thought it would never happen was to write and publish a book.

One month before my 34th birthday I published my first book. As of today I have 24 distinct works out ranging from super short stories to full length books. In 2013 I’m scheduled to publish 4 more books.

As a new year starts, I think of what other things I want to do in my life. It may not happen this year, but sometime in the future I want it to happen. I want to break off this claustrophobic holding pen feeling and treat each day as if it was my last. I want to look back on my life and feel accomplished by what I’ve done. I now have a new bucket list for myself. I decided on this based on two posts I read recently from The Romance Man and PennyWatson and their goals they have set out for themselves. The Romance Man’s post is especially poignant because he questions about his own mortality and how it can be gone in a blink of an eye.

Some things I wish to accomplish in the next decade of my life:

I want to touch a dolphin. Better yet, I want to swim with one.

I want to go to the Grand Canyon and shout my name. I want to hear my voice echo.

I want to go jet skiing.

I want to fly a kite.

I want to go camping and fall to sleep to a night sky filled with stars and shooting stars.

I want to donate to a charity every year.

I want to buy a drink anonymously for someone at a bar and watch them try to figure out who did it.

I want to pay for another car’s toll on the highway or for their entry into a tunnel or on a bridge.

I want to make at least one person who waits on me at a restaurant, gas station, supermarket or at a café smile and laugh.

I want to travel Europe and view the Sistine Chapel and the statue of David up close. I want to go to mass in Vatican City.

I want to swim in the Dead Sea.

I want to walk in a field of tulips in Amsterdam and go to the Tulip Museum.

I want to visit the secret hiding place where Anne Frank and her family and friends hid and pray to my God that something so horrible like what happened to them and the millions who died doesn’t happen again.

I want to kneel at the grave of William Shakespeare, Jane Austin and Charlotte Bronte and thank them for their words they gave the world.

I want to write a book the entire world can’t stop talking about.  I want people to still talk about my books hundreds of years from now.

These are only a few things I wish for myself.

There have been a few days this past year where I just didn’t want to get out of bed because I was in a funk. But something extraordinary did make me throw off my covers and face another day. It’s all because of a cat.

I have 2 cats. My older one, Kiko is very friendly and not shy at all. My younger one, Sadie who we call Itty Bitty has a completely different personality from Kiko. When we got Sadie 2 years ago she was skittish and very scared. She would only come out to eat and use the littler box. There would be days I wouldn’t see her because she would hide under couches and in corners. We couldn’t figure out why she acted this way or if she had been abused even at only a few months old. We were at a loss but we hoped she would grow out of it.

The something miraculous occurred. A year later Sadie started to come out of her shell. Around this time I had received a blanket for Christmas. One day I left it on my bed and when I came home one night Sadie was lying on it. I also have a chair next to my bed that’s my writing chair. That’s where I do most of my writing. I sat in my chair and to my surprise Sadie didn’t run and hide. She sat there watching me, and this is where I took a chance. I rubbed her head and she let me. Time went on and every time I sat in my chair, Sadie would bounce up on my bed and lay on her blanket. There are times when I will pet her and then when I stop she taps my shoulder for me to keep petting her. She’ll even go as far as to lie on her back and let me pet her belly. 

Last night I was in my bed reading and to my surprise, Sadie snuggled up next to me. She put her head on my arm and fell asleep. In the 2 years she’s been with me she’s never done that. She now trusts me completely and no longer runs away when I touch her. I almost started crying because it was a beautiful thing.

Something so small as a former skittish cat who now will snuggle up to me gives me such joy. Having this experience makes me get up each day because I know when I return home from a long day and I sit in my chair or lie in my bed, Sadie will be there ready to tap me on my shoulder for me to pet her.

I wish you to find something so simple to enjoy that will make you face the day or for you to create your own bucket list. I truly believe it helps break down those walls of your own personal holding pen you’ve created.

 Sadie enjoying her belly rub



Tasha B. said...

Have you heard of the Day Zero Project? It's kind of like bucket list meets social media.

Blodeuedd said...

Awww, I am glad Sadie started to trust you

Jeanne M said...

Hi Katie!

I love your "bucket list" and believe me no matter your age it's never to late to set goals for the future!

In my 40's and 50's I survived two operations that I told I wouldn't survive and yet only missed several weeks of work both times. Never say never and always look forward to wonderful thinks that you never expected to come and greet you with a life you never expected!

Jane Lovering said...

Sometimes it's good to take stock, to realise how much you have and yet that there's so much more still to see and do in life. I truly hope you achieve all your goals for 2013, and, after that, you go looking for more - it's this curiosity about life that keeps people young at heart, and their writing from going stale. And I'm very happy that Sadie has decided to enjoy human company - she is a very beautiful cat!