…a reverse bucket list…..
…..a list of all the things already accomplished/experienced…
(in no particular order…)
1. Giving birth to two incredible human beings, who never fail to amaze me and make me fall in love with them even more every single day (I don’t know how it’s possible to love them even more every single day, I just know I do).
2. Sitting, with friends, on the lions in Trafalgar Square at 3 in the morning – most mornings some weeks – pondering London, life and more…..good times. Good times.
3. Watching the sun rise at the Giza Pyramids. Cycling in Cairo. Madness.
4. Walking the Great Wall of China (not all of it, you understand!)
5. Seeing The Stone Roses at Spike Island.
6. Dancing my socks off at Northern Soul nights in Sheffield City Hall.
7. Living through a hurricane (Isis, 1998).
8. Living to tell the tale of a scorpion bite
9. Enjoying (almost) every minute of getting my PhD and being surrounded by the most amazingly inspiring people in one of the most beautiful places on Earth
10. Sledging on the hills up in Derbyshire
11. Working at the National Portrait Gallery and getting to see, up close, all the works that aren’t displayed. [‘Night at the Museum’ child-like excitement multiplied by about a million!]
12. Visiting Teotihuacan. Visiting Mexico in general (love it!). Frida Kahlo’s house (the colours! the little ceramic pots in the kitchen!). Churros and hot chocolate so thick you can pull it out the cup with your finger. Yum!
13. La Sagrada Familia. Architecture imitates nature, written grand.
14. Eating in Italy. Pizza. Spaghetti a la vongole. Gelato. Night-time walks around, trying anything and everything at ‘hole in the wall’ places. Double, no – triple – yum!
15. The afternoon spent on the rooftop at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Incomparable. [I often think my last memory may well be of me walking out the lift and seeing the Rodin sculpture to my right and the whole of Manhattan laid out before me].
Loved this exercise. I’m guilty, especially now because of my circumstances, of looking forwards to “that time when I’ll be able to…” and I forget to look backwards, to the amazing things I’ve already experienced and the joy they gave me (and still give me when I daydream about them). A friend, Joy, wrote an amazing post about this just yesterday: how our memories just sometimes pop up, when we least expect it, seemingly out of nowhere, and how we can be comforted, at such a deep level, when this happens.
It’s truly a gift to be able to reflect on our lives so far and realise how blessed we’ve been.
As I was looking back, I saw several ‘Helens’ in this list: all of them hopeful. Student Helen, living in London, totally and utterly broke in monetary terms but so fulfilled spiritually and intellectually (an afternoon at the British Museum? Oh, yes please!). Slightly older, slightly more jaded student Helen studying for her PhD, in awe for most of the day every day, surrounded by seriously brilliant people at every turn. [It was a powerful period of my life]. Married Helen (when things started to take a bit of a nosedive): hopeful, as always, but losing little bits of herself here and there….
I could be really sad, having done this exercise, my “Why me’s?” and “Oh, woe is me” threatening to overtake me…but, instead, I’m uplifted….
I did all these things in my life. Through my own sheer force of will. I have the power within me to make my life look more like the version of my life I’d always imagined….to show my littles the good things in life, to show them not only the small every day beauty of life but also the big beautiful things in the world, to take them on adventures and to show them things that’ll take their breath away.
Reflection: it’s a powerful, powerful motivator!
And hope, I’m learning, is so much more powerful than fear…
Blessings to you all,