Friday, November 14, 2014

My Reverse Bucket List

I snagged this idea from a blog that I just started reading, Erika from America. I love her blog because it's like seeing a bit of home through someone else's eyes. She's a transplant from California to Michigan, my home state, and is rambling about many of my old stomping grounds (I did a lot of stomping about!).

Anyway, she had a really cool idea of coming up with a Reverse Bucket List, which is where one has done the things that one had put on the bucket list and completed. I think it's a great way to celebrate meeting one's goals.

I've never called my (mostly mental) List o' Things I Want To Do a bucket list, but for all intents and purposes, it certainly is.

Here are some the goals I've accomplished that have brought me great happiness, in no particular order:

1. Live and work in Europe.

2. Learn a foreign language well enough to do daily activities and have conversations with natives (this is an ongoing process but at least I can order at a restaurant and shop using German; give me a lot of wine at a Portuguese street festival and I'll converse for two hours in German).

3. Ride a highly-trained Dressage horse and complete upper level movements (though I had no idea what I was doing, he gave me tempi lead changes, half-steps, etc.)

4. Push my boundaries by joining a group full of artistic, alternative, altruistic, wild (but in a good way) people and fully participate in their culture, art, and events. I found this in the US and need to rekindle it here in Europe.

5. Train a horse. As a 19 year old, I bought a horse with no training other than how to be led around (and he wasn't great at that, either). Using principles of behaviorism that I was learning from the psychology classes I was taking in college, employing common sense, and reading a lot of horse behavior and training books, I did just this. He turned out great and became a steady and trusting partner.

6. Pursue college education and finish quickly with good grades. I've earned three degrees quickly and my grades just kept getting better; in the degree I just finished, I had a 4.0 (yippie!). I have the equivalent of 9 years of college education and I completed it in 5 1/2 years.

7. As an expat (or even as an out-of-state-r), make friends with the locals.

8. Apprentice under a skilled horse trainer. I was the working student of, and became friends with, a trainer in Maryland during a break before grad school. I learned so much from this wonderful woman and am forever grateful. I can no longer ride, but I have some lovely memories from my time there.

9. In my field of work, learn as many areas of that field as I can and become a versatile employee. I can say that now I've worked in almost all of the departments that one would find in it and am certainly versatile. I've also had a ton of experience in "other duties as assigned;" the toilet-plunging episode was certainly not my favorite!

10. Be less uptight. In general, I try to look at things with an open mind and try to think about all sides of an issue. I don't care what other people do unless it is hurting someone/something else. That doesn't mean that I'm not uptight about my own personal things, though. For example, I was about ready to leave the German sauna when I found out that it was clothing-free; I am not comfortable with being nude in front of others. Then I thought it about it rationally and realized, who really cares? It's legal here, socially accepted, and not unusual for the locals. I participated, and guess what? I enjoyed the sauna.

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