Bucket List Thinking

at the farm

When we were driving home from Kingston, post-Easter holidaying at the farm, I was filled with ideas. Future plans. Things I want to do someday. Big things. Let me get them down on the page. (And maybe you’d like to share your big plans in the comments below; I’d love to hear them.)

** Bike trip through Ireland (or another beautiful place). With the whole family, if possible.

** Own a horse. Actually, own two horses, so AppleApple and I can go riding together.

** Write and record an album of songs. (This would require devoting several hours a day to singing and playing.)

** Spend a year training five or six hours a day and run an ultramarathon (like the Canadian Death Race, even though that’s a terrible title for a race).

** Tear down our garage and build a small apartment that could house university-aged children.

** Share a getaway in the country with friends, for retreats, summer holidays, etc.

** Get a dog. (I don’t know why that seems like such a big thing, but it does!)

But upon reflection, this morning, I see that I’ve already accomplished some of the big things I once dreamed of doing, and I want to recognize that too. I wanted to be a mother, and I have children. From a very young age, I intended to be a writer, and I’ve published two books. As a child, I dreamed of being a runner, and now I’ve completed a marathon. As an adult, I was troubled by the fact that I’d never learned how to swim, and I’ve learned. Once upon a time, all of the above were just hopes and imaginings and dreams. I’ve been so fortunate.

Last night I went to a kundalini yoga class. It’s been about a year since I last took kundalini. The experience felt different this time around. In the interim, I’ve pushed my body further than it had ever gone before. But I also learned that my body could be pushed too far, and injured, and that’s changed how I think about effort and pain. I felt so attuned to my own body, last night. It was easy to listen to it, and hear what it was saying — to recognize the difference between the agony of effort and the pain of gone-too-far. I felt more cautious, and yet also more available, more open to the movements, like I could flip a switch and go there. I felt a deep trust — of myself. But here’s the thing. The sense of wonder and discovery is not the same. I’ve learned my body is capable of accomplishing very difficult tasks. I’ve learned that I am strong. When I first started kundalini, now a few years ago, I was utterly amazed, blown away by what my body could do. I had no idea.

Now I know.

That takes away some of the sheen of adventure and discovery. But it also means there is room for a richer, more layered experience. It’s like having the second child. You’re simultaneously more relaxed, more laid-back, and not as blown away by the newness of discovering what it means to be a parent. It’s familiar, it’s known territory.

I think life should have a balance of known and unknown experiences. I’m not sure we get to choose these experiences, at least not all of the time. But I like thinking about what I would choose, if I could. And what I’ve chosen. And how I’m working out that balance in my life right now.

Can I tell you something? I really really really want to write a book in this blog-voice. Not a book based on the blog. But a book that would capture the yearning, reflection, wondering, and experimenting that I feel this blog is really about. Put that on the first list. I have no idea how it would be shaped. But I’m opening my mind to the possibility.

The many stages of reading
Things I am not doing today


  1. Tricia Orchard

    Love your ideas! A few of mine?

    A family volunteering excursion in Africa.

    A family bike trip – just not sure where. Jeff and I did one pre-kids and loved it.

    Learn to fiddle.

    Learn to hip-hop dance.

    Qualify for Boston.

    I have many more. It is fun to dream and work towards accomplishing some of them, too!

    The Canadian Death Race? Yah, not for me! But go for it! 🙂

    Talk soon,

  2. Kerry Clare

    I would like to read that book…

  3. Jeremy

    There’s a nice website you can use to manage your bucketlist, it’s called wakeuplist.com – and the cool thing is that it will e-mail you every 90 days so you don’t forget about it.

  4. JK

    I would like to publish that book. Should it ever come together more fully, I’d be proud to bring it to the office to share. Just let me know! (Internet stalking is just for fun, my day job is as an editor.)

  5. JK

    I would like to publish that book! Should it come to be, be sure to let me know. I’d be proud to bring it into the office. (Internet stalking is just a hobby, my day job is being an editor.)

  6. cathy@1970kikiproject

    thanks for sharing your list, carrie – and i appreciate how you acknowledge already achieving lifetime milestones.
    there is nothing like suffering a running injury to give you new insight into the body, and new appreciation for what we can do!
    a couple from my list:
    ~run a 100 miler (an easy one, haha!)
    ~write a book (it doesn’t have to get published, i just want to write it)
    ~ride on a float in a parade
    ~dye my hair platinum

  7. Margo

    Carrie, you just made a light go on in my head!! Life needs a balance of known and unknowns. YES. I can see times where I got stale. I need to think about this some more.

    Some of my big dreams:

    -write a book

    -be a host family for international students

    -live somewhere else for a few months and then return home

    -grow mushrooms in my basement

  8. m

    -A year/six months abroad with my family–ideally in the south of France.

    -Take my family to New Zealand.

    -Do a Scotch walking tour in Scotland with my husband, and perhaps grown children? Not sure where they’ll fit in this one.

    -Finish and have my novel published.

    -Live in a home with fruit trees.

    -Own and live in our own home and never have to move again.

    -Run a half-marathon.

    (My run clinic instructor is an ultra-marathoner. 50 and 100K runs just blow my mind!)

  9. nancy

    Wow. I loved reading this blogpost (once again). Hmmm. I dream of
    – taking Loch to Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England – maybe doing it all by train the first time. Ireland by bike the second.
    – having something published of mine.
    – having trips inspired solely by the photography I could do there.
    – visiting base camp of Everest in Nepal
    – this one’s funny – being able to build a second floor on top of the garage that could be a master bedroom or somewhere separate from teen/university aged child LOL (his preference, I’m sure and mine)
    – also always dreamed of owning a horse, but I like the idea of having one to ride versus likely the cost of the upkeep and vet bills!
    – living in ireland or somewhere in the UK
    – VISITING Greenland, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland. No idea where my Nordic spirit is from but I am sooooo drawn to that part of the world.
    – Visit antarctica for the penguins
    – Visit the arctic for the northern lights

    I also loved that you highlighted dreams you have achieved:
    – motherhood is the biggest dream I have achieved (after years of infertility struggle). I am sooo thankful I know it joy.
    – dreamed of having some tattoos a long time ago and made that happen (and will again, no doubt).
    – I dreamed of living in a rural, idyllic setting and, though I felt it wisest to leave once I became a single mum, I at least had the realization of that dream come true for a decade – maybe that dream will come true again.
    -I dreamed of living in a good community with great friends within walking distance and the ability to walk to my own work and my child to daycare/school. That dream has come true. Yay for all of those.

    Thanks for the inspiring post! nance

  10. Carrie Snyder

    Thanks for all of your comments! And thank you for sharing your dreams. I loved reading them and I hope they come to fruition. I haven’t figured out how to change my comment settings so that I can reply directly to each one … so here goes.

    Tricia: Hip-hop dancing! Fiddling! I love it.

    Cathy: Riding on a float in a parade! (While your hair is dyed platinum blonde, maybe?) I love it.

    Margo, I’m so glad that this post sparked something for you. (And if you start growing mushrooms in your basement, I will definitely need to hear more about that!)

    Marita, I’m going to need to steal one of your ideas. Scotch tour with my husband! (This one will have to wait until the kids have left home, I think.)

    Nancy, I’m glad you’re my neighbour. And I hope you get to travel widely with your son. Imagine.

    And Kerry and Jen, thanks for your encouragement re my blog-voice book idea. Framing it will be the hard part, and I haven’t gotten any brilliant ideas yet. But my blog friends will be the first to know if I figure it out.


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