If you spend any time fooling around with Facebook, you’ve probably seen the so-called challenge lists:
“How many of these books have you read?”
“How many of these countries have you visited?”
“How many of these beers have you tried?”
Pick a topic, and there’s probably some list.
But instead of checking items off of someone else’s challenge list, why not make your own? Do you have a bucket list, or life list, or 100-things-I’ve-gotta-see list — or anything like that?
I do. When I was five, there was only one thing on it: climb Mt. Everest. It took me until I was 52 to check that one off. You can see my much longer adult list in my book, at the start of Chapter 2. Once I checked the last box on that one — completing the run across America — I confess I didn’t quite know what was next. Would I stop running? I knew I’d never attempt that kind of distance again, and I was determined to slow down a bit, to savor each experience in a way that I hadn’t done before. But what the hell was I supposed to DO?
If you haven’t made a personal challenge list, it may be because you’re feeling the same way. What would I put on it? Here’s what you do: pick anywhere from three to ten things — adventures, places, books, athletic accomplishments, intellectual pursuits, artistic expressions, family activities, sights, sounds, feelings — whatever turns you on and makes you say, “That! Now that would be amazing.”
And then, once you have a list, you pick just one item and go for it. Don’t let up. Chase it like your life depends on it, because in many ways it does. What’s that saying? It’s not the number of years in your life that counts. It’s the life in your years.
When I allowed myself to start thinking this way again, it didn’t take long to start rebuilding the tick list, including the upcoming first-ever circumnavigation of Death Valley National Park, as well as a spectacular adventure run in Iceland, put on by RacingThePlanet. Because I gravitate to gorgeous scenery, remarkable geography, and unique sensory experiences, these two are at the top right now.
What’s next on your list? Please post it in the comments below. I’d love to see it, and you might spark some ideas for others, too.