It is 2010! Can you believe it? I can hardly believe that a decade has gone by already. It feels like it was yesterday that we were preparing for the anticipated catastrophes leading into Y2K – people were concerned about the technical glitches. My computer programmer friends were earning big bucks for their skills. Wow, how things have changed. We made it through, not just that year but the last decade with so many defining moments from 9 -11 to Barack Obama. Many lessons were learnt and of course while going through them time couldn’t pass fast enough.
Like many others at this time of year, I started to reflect on the last decade or two and the many things that have transpired in my life. In my twenties I was full of energy, idealistic and busy pursuing the list of dreams I had bullet pointed in my head in my teens. It was my selfish time. Whatever I wanted to do: I did.
Bullet point number one: I always thought I would go away to university and live in a dorm. I think I got that idea from The Cosby Show and it’s spin-off series A Different World. I wanted to experience that adventure, not just live vicariously through Denise Huxtable. I did it and learned I didn’t like dorm life, but loved my university years and establishing my independence away from home.
Bullet point number two: Travel: I wanted to visit the various countries of the world but not as a tourist, staying on resorts and barely leaving the compound. How was one to learn about a culture and its people on a resort that caters to the guests? It never made sense to me, a resort in Timbuktu was the same as a resort in Cuba. I wanted to live in different countries and learn about the culture, the people, the politics. I knew I couldn’t visit all the countries in the world let alone truly experience them in this way, so I selected two that were close to me – two places that are linked to my ancestry by way of Jamaica: Africa and China.
And so I joined an organization (Canadian Crossroads International) that allowed me to live and work for three months while experiencing life as a local. I went to Kenya during a summer break from university, which opened my eyes to many things…too many to mention. Suffice to say when I went back to school I was an eager participant in my classes, especially those focused on politics and women studies. Other political systems were not just theory to me, I actually lived in and witnessed first hand a different political influence and dogma. Later on in my twenties I went to Korea and taught English; and although not China I did get to Asia. I also visited Israel for two weeks where I walked the path of Jesus. My thirties began with me living in Atlanta for two years.
I’ve visited other countries and islands, I didn’t have the luxury of living in these places but made the best of it by meeting and eating and visiting with the local people: Dominica, St. Barts, St. Martin, Grenada, St. Lucia, Spain, Morocco, Gibralter, Cuba, USA (California, Florida, Georgia, New York, Texas, New Orleans, Ohio, Michigan) and of course Jamaica. I have many more to visit (still would like to get to China) …and a few I’ve saved for my honeymoon – Greece, Seychelles and the Maldives. I must admit as I got older the luxuries of a resort were more welcoming, my spirit was still adventurous but I thought how many times do you have to stay in a hostel to know what it feels like (been there done that!).
I remember an “aha” moment in my twenties…I thought wow, I get everything I want, everything that I go for I get to do. I thought I was special, of course now I know it is simply because I went for it. I pursued my career goals and achieved them, they also transformed into different areas and interests. I went along working in community development and activism, travelling, got engaged, broke off my engagement, changed career goals and jumped into publishing. In my first year of working in magazine publishing I reviewed nightclubs, interviewed celebrities and politicians. I was excited about life and experiencing it. You see I have one phobia – I call it my “what if” phobia – I fear reaching 86 years old and regretting not pursuing a particular dream or goal and wondering “what if” I had gone for it, what might have happened . So far, I know the “what ifs”, they may not have worked out the way I thought but I learned lessons and I was exposed to new and interesting opportunities.
I share all of this because I remember people – friends and strangers – who knew of my travels or my goals and experiences said to me, “you are courageous for doing these things.” I truly appreciated the sentiment, but it always confused me because I didn’t see my actions as courageous. I wasn’t saving the world or putting my life in danger. I felt these dreams had to be pursued, they were inextricably linked to my very being – there wasn’t a choice. They fulfilled my hunger for learning which brought me a sense of joy and contentment. Of course looking back I realize I did have choices – not to pursue these things, but that didn’t exist in my mind. And I’m still that way today. Just ask my mother and friends who constantly say I’m stubborn – or tenacious (to be kind) . Whatever, it’s called…that’s me. It has caused some tough times, struggles and the like, but at least there is no “what if” and I’m happy, content and true to myself. And I can genuinely be excited for another following their own dreams.
There is a cost for not following ones passions. I have witnessed the flip side of those who haven’t pursued their dreams: it can breed bitterness, resentment, jealousy, a miserable existence. It can be downright ugly.
And so this is the impetus for launching the lisaliving bucket list, it is a true extension of me. Ladies life is too short to be miserable and negative. So join us in helping you to fulfill your goals. If an item on your bucket list isn’t on our list – that’s ok. It might come around at a later date.
Plus, positive and supportive vibes are contagious, perhaps by sharing and reading about others it may give you that little push you need to accomplish your dream.
I have one question: Are you lisaLIVING?
Reposted from lisaliving magazine