The idea is simple. Instead of a bucket list- counting the things you want to do in the future-, it's reverse-counting the things you've already done. A bucket list says "I want". A reverse bucket list says, "Look at all I have!" A reverse bucket list is one of my favorite ways to ground myself in gratitude. It is not a list bragging, "Look at me! Look at where I've gone!". It's a list that says, "Look at how blessed I have been! I am content" Here's my reverse bucket list, and I challenge you to make one too!
Ocean kayaked + snorkeled with sea lions
If you know me at all, you know that I'm not very adventurous. I'm not a risk taker. Oh, and I hate exerting physical energy for fun. You know, like sports and working out and stuff? So this is honestly something I'm super proud of. At first, it sounded like a good idea. But I didn't realize it would be let's kayak into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and then swim around in the open ocean with angry sea lions and sharks. I am legit scared of the open ocean. (It freaks me out that I can't see the bottom!) But once I was out there, I hopped in the ocean and snorkeled, even though it terrified me the whole time. Even though I didn't wind up liking snorkeling in the ocean, I'm proud that I faced my fear and tried it anyways. But I'm so grateful to have had this chance that most people never will.
Drove across the country with my best friends
One time, I got a crazy idea to drive across the country. And luckily, I have two friends that were as crazy as I was, because they hopped on board. And we did it. We planned the entire trip ourselves, on a budget and with no hiccups along the way. We had a blast and saw parts of the country none of us had seen before. And it opened up a whole new world for me- it gave me a new love and respect for the beauty of our nation. It inspired me to see states I had never wanted to see before (like Idaho...what even are you?). I'm so proud that we were independent and responsible enough to save up money to drive across country. Now that we're adults and things have changed, I will cherish the memories from this road trip for the rest of my life, because it was truly one of the best experiences of my life.
Studied abroad in London
Ever since I was 10 years old, I wanted to go to London more than any place in the entire world. I dreamed of it and began saving money in a tin can to go. And an accomplishment I am SO proud of is that when I was 19...I DID. I studied abroad and I get teary-eyed to this day when I think about my trip to London. I can't believe I want. I am so grateful to have been able to go and truly fulfill a dream.
Became fluent in American Sign Language
I went to an elementary school that was the deaf and hard of hearing school for our county. So growing up, I had a ton of deaf classmates and friends. Sign Language was taught in the classroom and in the 4th grade, I became president of the American Sign Language club. It was a passion of mine long before I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. All through high school, I watched ASL YouTube videos to try to teach myself ASL, and when I transferred colleges, I became a Deaf Studies major. A year ago, I finished my Deaf Studies degree and became fluent in American Sign Language.
This perhaps may be the one accomplishment I am most proud of. Going from eating chicken wings at Buffalo Wild Wings all the dang time to going vegan is dang hard. I won't lie. It took so much dedication, self-control, discipline and selflessness to give up something I really wanted (i.e. wings and a gluten-free beer) because it caused unnecessary pain on another living creature and harms the environment my children will grow up in. I grew so much as a person as a result of going vegan and for that, I am so thankful.
Adopted a dog
I did nothing to deserve the joy and happiness this girl brings me, but honestly, adopting a dog and saving her from the pound is something that I feel so blessed to have in my life. I am so thankful for Bailey's influence on my life. Animal people don't understand, but she really is my best friend.
Went horseback riding in the mountains
Some of the students I work with have never even seen a real horse. Once I realized that, I realized how privileged I am to have had so many experiences like the time I horseback rode in the mountains of North Carolina with my friends.
Kissed the Blarney Stone
Maybe it was the overnight 12 hour journey it took to get from London to Ireland, but kissing the Blarney Stone felt like a dream. My family is very Irish and I couldn't help but wonder "Did my ancestors ever hang at out the Blarney Castle?" It was completely surreal. I feel so blessed that I was even able to go to Ireland.
Got on the jumbo-tron at a baseball game
This is kinda silly, but I ALWAYS wanted to be on the jumbo-tron. And I never was. Until this last summer. I personally was on the jumbo-tron at Camden Yards EIGHT times. I am grateful that silly childhood dreams do still come true.
Started a blog
This isn't easy. Putting your thoughts out there for anyone and everyone to see is scary and vulnerable and if you do it too, I admire you. I think it's one of the scariest things in the world. And that's why I did it. Because it scared me. And look what it's turned into. An amazing way to record my life, connect with others and express myself. I am thankful for the way blogging has changed my life for the better.
Learned to love my city
Growing up in Baltimore, I hated it. I thought it was dirty and dangerous and I basically had the same misconceptions that every person in the U.S. who doesn't live here has about this place. But when I moved home from college, I decided to make the best of what I had. So I went out and I explored. And I fell in love. And I truly feel so grateful to be from this beautiful city. I feel honored to live here, among so much history, beauty-both natural and man-made- and amazing people.