You know that awkward feeling when you're at your birthday party and you see people huddled over some note cards in a corner? Some are giggling. You try not to look directly at them, but you have a sinking suspicion something is up?
As I would learn later that evening -- after I worked up the courage to peek in the corner -- my family and friends were creating a bucket list for me. Thirty challenges to complete (and photograph) in my thirtieth year.
I am not sure they realize just how seriously I take these kinds of things. (As evidenced by one card which said simply, "spacewalk." And I do plan to do that, by the way. This year.) Basically, I had been handed what would become thirty dares to complete over the course of a year. And the thing about a dare is you have to do it. It's a dare. So you have to. No matter what.
It was with a nervous stomach that I reached my hand in the bucket to pull out the first card. "Dangle your toes in the ocean." Forget dare... excuse to go to the beach! Because now I have to. This year.
And I have to say my friends were mostly very nice (digging 1,000 pounds of sweet potatoes aside). I got a lot of vacation, evenings out and expensive gift challenges. In retrospect, they were almost too nice. I felt like if I completed every challenge they issued, I'd arrive at 31 a lazy, sunburned glutton.
But still, it is a challenge. A dare. It cannot be ignored. So if I must go on multiple vacations, I will. (I hope.)
And even though spacewalk wasn't the only one that seemed impossible to tackle in 365 days, I have decided to go for it. And for humanity's sake, to fill in the blank spaces remaining in the bucket list with things that might be a bit more impactful than spending thousands of dollars on treats for myself.
Honestly, I don't know if I'll be able to complete the bucket list. But I do hope I have fun (which accomplishes one challenge all by itself!) and make some kind of positive difference trying.