Episode Fifty Four – On Bucket Lists (Part A)

You know, a strange thing happened to me a little while back: I became interesting.

‘How does one go about doing that?’, you may ask. And I’ll tell you: not how you should do it, but how it ended up happening to me. Of course, I would never say that this is the only way of doing it: that’s the whole point of ‘interesting’, that there’s no formula for it. But for me, this is how it happened.

1. I travelled.

Now, let me reiterate: I’m not saying for one minute that people who don’t travel aren’t interesting. I’m not one of those travelers who ‘just lives to travel, y’know?’; I couldn’t even really call myself particularly well-traveled, in the grand scheme of things. But you know what? When you go abroad, people often think you’re interesting just because you’re foreign*. For example, in the U.S.A. I get ‘interesting points’ just for having been born in Scotland. Cool, right? I didn’t even mean to do that. Plus, there’s the added bonus that, when you get back, you get more points for having been abroad in the first place. Especially if you took badass pictures like this one.

This picture is a lesson: always have your camera ready.

* Sometimes, this requires research. For example, if you’re English and don’t speak French, don’t expect to go to France and be showered in love for the Anglo-Saxon race. Choose wisely, my friends.

2. I surrounded myself with people I found interesting.

I used to see people I thought were interesting, and assume they wouldn’t want to speak to me because I wasn’t as interesting as them. Well, then I realised, To hell with that, they’re just interesting in different ways. Perfect example: Grant studied neuroscience, in Los Angeles, took a sailing class for extra credit, founded the university racquetball society in his freshman year, and spent two semesters abroad: one in Brisbane, Australia (during which he went scuba-diving at the Great Barrier Reef), and one in Edinburgh, Scotland. Which, in his opinion, is the coolest city he’s ever been to. In fact, apparently, it kicks L.A.’s ass. In fact, to him, being from Edinburgh was one of my own points of interest, along with my juggling, my languages, and how I’m a generally kind and gentle person with something of a wild side. Believe me when I say that none of this stuff about me even occurred to me as interesting until I met others who convinced me that it was. Trust me: you’re a lot more ‘interesting’ than you might think*, and spending time with someone different enough from you that they can see that… It’ll make you see it, too.

*I say ‘you might think’, because I don’t know, you might be one of those people with naturally high self esteems and you already know exactly how interesting you are. Go you!

That's Grant, in case you don't recognize him with the helmet there.

So this is where this is all going. I was doing research for a post on Raxa Collective recently, and I had to Google ‘bucket list’. Do it, and you’ll see that people go crazy thinking up all the amazing things they could do with their lives if only they had the time/money/freedom/guts. It’s nice to dream, and I’ll show you this week in my Saturday Spotlight what it is that I dream of achieving this semester, while I’m in France. But this blog, for me, is mainly about documenting what has happened in my life, creating something to look back on and be proud of – so I decided to make a ‘Bucket List’ with a difference. The difference is, I’m giving myself a head start: these are all things I’ve already done. You should try it! Think of all the things in your life that someone out there is bound to find interesting, and write ’em down. Be proud of what you’ve done thus far before you start making dreamy lists of all the outlandish things you could do. You never know: maybe your past achievements will inspire you if and when you decide to compose your ‘Bucket List’.

I never would have put 'smell a sloth' on my Bucket List, but I'm so glad it happened!

So here it is: my list of things in my life that I’m proud of. I’m sure number 2 will seem small to some of you (those who have done it). I’m sure number 7 will be no big deal for others (again, those who have done it). The same is true of 5*, 9, 10, 11, 14, 18… Depending on whom I talk to, everyone will pick different things that they think are cool. I’m saying this to reinforce my point above – the one about meeting people you find interesting yourself. Because being able to play the violin is a lot cooler to someone who doesn’t have a musical bone in their body than it is to a concert pianist; it’s nice to have things in common with your friends, but you’ll notice things about yourself that you never gave yourself credit for if you meet a mixture of people who have different ideas of what’s ‘interesting’.

*Or I don’t know, maybe those of you who have done No. 5 will be the most intrigued to know that I have too. That’s a strange one.

Right, seriously, here’s my list.

20 Things I Did By The Age Of 20

  1. Learned a foreign language
  2. Learned to juggle
  3. Flew a (small) plane
  4. Graffiti’d (sp?) a bridge, real street-art style
  5. Kissed a girl
  6. Ate Chicago pizza in Chicago
  7. Learned to play a musical instrument
  8. Went backpacking around Costa Rica
  9. Learned to shoot a rifle
  10. Fell in love
  11. Attended a show at the Edinburgh International Festival (or the Fringe, if you will)
  12. Operated a digger (or ‘backhoe’, if you prefer)
  13. Went snorkelling
  14. Celebrated an anniversary
  15. Attended a music festival (as in, Glastonbury)
  16. Attended a protest march
  17. Lived and worked abroad for five months
  18. Attended a live pro-basketball match
  19. Sandboarded down a volcano
  20. Saw green turtles nesting.

My first ever anniversary dinner!!!

There you have it. What does your list look like? And more importantly, are you proud of it? What elements of your life have you really enjoyed, and maybe even want to do more of? Does this exercise dredge up any forgotten memories you feel pride in? Tell me, in the comments section, what you came up with that made you feel nostalgic, inspired, humbled, proud, or above all, interesting!

Goodnight, my little bundles of potential!


Kiss kiss,





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7 responses to “Episode Fifty Four – On Bucket Lists (Part A)

  1. How about adding a trip to India to the list? 8)

    • I would absolutely love to go to India! I think it might have to go on the ’30 things I did by the age of 30′ list, though – when I do it, I want to have the time and money to do it right! :P

  2. You are truly an amazing person. :-)

    I’m inspired to make a similar list! My 20s were filled with far more than I ever thought could fit in a decade!

    • Well that’s just about the nicest compliment a girl can get! Thank you – it means a lot to me that you think so : )

      I’m no more amazing than anyone else: I just get on with it, really. Prioritise what matters, and let the rest wash over me! I’m not trying to play down your kind words, I just think everyone is amazing, in their own way. I would just love to see your list, C.B. – something tells me I’d learn a lot from yours too :P

      As always, thanks for commenting!

  3. Pingback: The Anti-Bucket List « Baking and Life

  4. Pingback: Saturday Spotlight Seven – On Bucket Lists (Part B) | A Trail of Breadcrumbs

  5. Gerard Madill

    Really like the ‘reverse bucket list’ idea. It could catch on. I’ll think about that and get back to you with mine. You might (or might not!) be surprised to know that I could tick a lot (but definitely not all) of your 20 boxes too!
    Sitting at Heathrow just now waiting to fly to Zagreb and then Sarajevo (loooong day). I’ll try to catch up with you on Skype once I have reasonable internet access again.
    Love, Dad
    P.S. I had lunch with Siobhan and her lovely wee boy, Ted. Siobhan was asking after you and was impressed to hear about your travels and achievements!

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