60 Before 60

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Have you ever really sat back and thought about the things you want to do and accomplish in your life? Really take stock of all the adventures and goals you have and made them into a tangible list?

The bucket list. There are all kinds of them. Summer bucket lists. Fall bucket lists. Before I die bucket lists.

Mine is the sixty things I would like to do before I turn 60 list. So here we go.

  1. Go skydiving (super cliche, but it’s true)
  2. Zipline through the jungle
  3. Find the person I want to grow old with and/or have an epic romance
  4. Eat a deep-fried Twinkie
  5. Visit Bali
  6. Eat pasta in Italy
  7. Take a photography class
  8. Write a best-selling novel
  9. Visit a hot spring  with the love of my life and sit in it unabashedly naked together
  10. Take a cooking class
  11. Have a picnic in Central Park
  12. See the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York
  13. Listen to jazz in the French Quarter
  14. Vacation alone
  15. Live on the beach
  16. Befriend a complete stranger
  17. Visit a castle
  18. Go clam digging
  19. Eat Boston Baked Beans in Boston
  20. Eat pizza in Chicago
  21. Kiss a beautiful man on top of The Empire State Building
  22. Spend an entire week in a cabin unplugged from the internet and cell service
  23. Learn how to make soap
  24. Be on someone’s bucket list and help them make it happen
  25. Build a Habitat For Humanity House
  26. Go vegan for a year
  27. Go to a silent retreat
  28. Attend a book signing, as an author
  29. Order one of everything off a menu
  30. Have a super fancy dinner party
  31. Watch a play on Broadway
  32. Learn to homestead
  33. Perform at a slam poetry reading
  34. Be a bridesmaid
  35. Learn to sew
  36. Kiss in the rain
  37. Hold an otter
  38. Learn how to make candles
  39. Eat something bizarre in a foreign country
  40. See Manchester Orchestra perform live
  41. Visit Greece
  42. Visit Ireland
  43. Visit Germany
  44. Get my palm read
  45. Try fire cupping
  46. Stay in a 5-star resort
  47. Eat a meal cooked by a celebrity chef
  48. Enter a food challenge at a restaurant
  49. Learn how to make a killer cocktail
  50. Cuddle a koala bear
  51. Hold a monkey
  52. Watch my boys turn into men
  53. Plant a thriving garden
  54. Press my own apple cider
  55. Make a completely home-grown meal
  56. Go to a floating lantern festival
  57. Name a star
  58. Go ghost hunting
  59. Pay for a stranger’s groceries
  60. Own a home

So that’s it. That’s my 60 before 60 list. What’s on yours?

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It’s a small world, survivors and sisters…

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I have not done half as much writing as I had anticipated this trip. I saw myself staying up late at night, pecking away at the keyboard of my laptop until my eyes couldn’t keep themselves open a second longer. I saw myself hammering out a few chapters by the end of the week.

That didn’t happen.

What did happen was I bonded with my mother in a way we never have before. For anyone who has never experienced a trauma – the concept of triggers might seem foreign or silly. People will sometimes tell you to move on, let it go, forget about it. But triggers are tricky, and not something you can just move on from and forget about. Sometimes you think you’ve cleared all the demons, all the things that haunt you. I’ve had things trigger me that surprised me.

I triggered my mom, on accident, or unwittingly I should say. She shut herself in her room and cried for awhile before coming out to talk to me.

What happened was a conversation that brought us closer. I won’t share her story. It’s not mine to share. But she had a rough, rough, rough upbringing. There were things I knew, but not the depth to which she shared with me. Things she’s never told anyone, not even therapists she’s seen to work on other things from her childhood. In turn, I shared things with her that  I’d never told her – mostly to protect her from being upset or feeling like she failed to protect me somehow.

We cried, we hugged and we talked openly. I shared poetry about these things with her and we talked about how she could work on “letting go” a bit.

Survivors is what we are. And I know there are other sisters and brothers in the survivor family with us. I met one today.

I’ve always hated the phrase “it’s a small world”. I don’t know why. It just bothers me. It’s a huge world! Yet time and time again, I am reminded that it is indeed a small world – and the connectors are sometimes awe-inspiring.

I live in Walla Walla, Washington and I am currently visiting a tiny town called Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Last year when I came here I had forgotten to get my co-workers some salt water taffy. Today we headed out into town, visiting some local shops for knick-knacks, t-shirts, coffee and ice cream. At the last minute I spotted a little candy shop and sure enough, they had local salt water taffy. I bought quite a bit and explained to the woman that the last trip here I had forgotten to bring some back. She said that was nice of me and asked where I was from. “Walla Walla,” I told her. Her eyes lit up and she said, “Oh, I love Walla Walla. I grew up in Yakima.” I’m pretty sure my eyes lit up and I smiled and told her I had grown up in Yakima.

We got to talking about our age, and schools we had attended and for some reason, I brought up my mom and her name and where she worked. She knew my mom from her work.

I won’t share this woman’s story. It’s not mine to tell. What I can tell you is that I felt blessed that she shared it with me. The hairs on my arms stood up. I cried. We were bonded you see. Survivor sisters.

I believe in fate. I believe in connections and paths. I don’t know why I went into that shop. There was taffy at the ice cream store. I don’t know why I shared my age and city and mother’s name with her. I don’t know why she decided to share such intimate and personal information with me. I know that I was supposed to cross her path. And I know that it was fate that it happened after that intense night with my mom. I know that fate has made me cross paths with other sisters and brothers.

It’s a small world, and perhaps I should embrace it.

On vacation, relaxing and writing!

My vacation so far has proved to be relaxing! My mother and I rented a gorgeous house right on the beach in Rockaway, Oregon. In our downtime, I’ve been writing and she’s been reading The Island! It’s been all too entertaining watching her reading it, her reactions to certain things and begging me to tell her about stuff before it happens. It’s cute. And she is a hardcore Michael fan, which surprised me, I thought she’d be totally Gabe! But she’s loving it.

I’ve hit about 2,000 words in my next book. I have a LONG way to go!

Vacation!

Hitting the road for a much-needed vacation! I am off to Rockaway Beach, Oregon for 5 days. I plan on doing a ton of relaxing, reading, walking and …. writing. I’m bringing my laptop with me, I’ve been writing Michael’s story in my head for pretty much the last week and I’m thinking that the ocean air and sand will inspire me 😀