water under the bridge
Every once in a while we like to look back at the bucket list we threw together at the beginning of our first Foreign Service tour, a few months into our marriage – to check if we can cross off any items and add a few new ones, but also to reflect on the time that has transpired and how it has changed both us and our goals.
As a historical document of our relationship, the list is quite a treasure. We wrote the first draft while seeking shelter in a rain-beaten tent on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Adventure and exploration were evidently on our minds, and the many travel-related items clearly reflect that mindset. We had been together for about two years at that point, but married for only a few months, so the list is also an interesting amalgamation of items one or both of us had either done or wanted to do.
Motherhood was already on S’s mind at that point, but for D parenthood still seemed far enough away that its impending responsibilities could reasonably be ignored. That too can be seen between the lines. Only someone without children could believe there would be enough time for even half of the escapades we dreamed up for ourselves. Now that we have two small kids, simply getting out of bed and making it through the day without a breakdown of some sort seems like a noteworthy accomplishment. There were no child-related items on the list then, and there still are none now, though we suspect that at some point we will come to define some of life’s greatest joys through our children’s adventures.
We did not make any dents in the list last year, but – as S pointed out defensively when D brought this to her attention – we had a baby. Instead, we’ve come up with a few new items that are more suitable to our currently sedentary lifestyle. Motivated by his summer reading, D has decided to try to read all the Pulitzer-winning novels – a quest that has gotten somewhat derailed because the last book he read (Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son) was so captivating that D has since struggled to get into a new novel. S, meanwhile, has resolved to learn how to solve crossword puzzles – if not the Friday and Saturday NYT ones that D enjoys, then at least the Mondays for a start.
We’re sure to keep adding to the list. A full life is marked not necessarily by all the things we accomplish, but rather by how big we dream and how much we strive to achieve. We’ve had a great time over the last half a dozen years dreaming up goals and adventures for ourselves. Let’s see what the next half a dozen years bring!