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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

the s'mores in 50 states, surfing, meet a panda bucket list

Her name was Talia Joy Castellano and she was a 13 year-old CoverGirl.

She was also a little girl who recently lost her battle with cancer.

But that's not all she was.

this is from Talia's website. This is how she defined herself? 100% awesomeness.

In the wisdom that can come only from innocent hope and belief in her own power, Talia inspired millions. When she lost her hair due to chemotherapy treatments Talia refused wigs. They didn't fit with her 'realness.' Instead she turned to makeup to define her style and shared her tips with girls around the world on her YouTube Channel. Talia was brave, funny, talented, honest and she was a light in this world.

Cancer first touched Talia when she was 7 years-old and while she did go into remission after treatment, the illness came back and Talia decided not to pursue a bone marrow transplant. Instead she would enjoy her remaining time on this planet. So, she made a bucket list of 74 items she wanted to do before she died. There were things like #46 Surf. . ., #24 Write a letter to my crush, #34 Parasailing, #44 Take a photo every day of summer. Things that Talia started but never got to do.

And then this happened: Inspired by Talia, people started fulfilling the wishes on Talia's bucket list. From covering a car in sticky notes to parasailing, fans of Talia's indestructible spirit are keeping her positive energy going. It's an incredible homage to one very extraordinary young lady who showed remarkable grace and courage.

Then I wondered.

It's a lovely idea for people to fulfill Talia's bucket list but what about their own? What about yours? Do you have a bucket list? You don't have to face your own mortality to have a list of things you want to do in your life. What have you always wanted to do? What would make you happier than anything in this world? Have you always wanted to hold a sloth? Remember what happened when Kristen Bell, a fan of sloths finally realized her dream of meeting a sloth?

What would happen if you fulfilled your dream, say, of swimming with dolphins or visiting the tiny town where your grandparents emigrated from? What if you perfected the perfect blueberry muffin or learned how to juggle?

Have you always wanted to stand in a valley in Vermont on a crisp October day when the sky is so blue and leaves so orange it's almost too amazing to look at it? You now have three months (until October) to figure out how to make that happen.

When you close your eyes and you imagine being happy, what does that look like? Are you smiling, sitting quietly in a nursery holding a baby, as the summer breeze blows in, just barely ruffling her wispy hair? Are you inhaling the ocean air on a beach in Bali where you're learning how to surf? Are you learning how to make rustic pizza from a chef in Naples, Italy?

Life can be so amazing when you stretch yourself, when you push yourself. What do you want? What are you capable of?  There is a story that goes like this. Every day a young man would ask God "Please, God, please let today be the day I win the lottery." Yet every day goes by and he doesn't win the lottery. One day the man says to God "God, I pray every day that you'd let me win the lottery but I don't. Please let today be the day I win the lottery." Finally God has had enough and responds "My dear son, I would love to help but you've got to help me out here and at least buy a ticket."

Having a bucket list is the same sort of idea. How do you know where you want to go if you don't have a plan? You would never go on an unfamiliar trip without some sort of route guidance, would you? When you write a bucket list for yourself, you're putting that energy out into the universe. You're telling yourself and the world what you want. You can't get what you want unless you ask, right?

Start your bucket list. Today. Grab a piece of paper or even as you're reading this, open a document and start typing. It can be the simplest things like "Find out what a cronut tastes like" or "Run through Central Park." It can be big things like "Finally go get my degree" or "Have a baby." You're thinking "I don't have the time to do these things!" See, here's the thing. There is never a perfect time. Life is messy and things happen at the wrong time but if you want it enough, you will carve out the time to make it happen. So, you wake up an hour early every day to practice the banjo or you plan out a timeline to visit every single state in the U.S. Just start. The beginning is often the hardest step.

Go ahead. You've got this.
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