J-Weeks: Journey, Joy, and Jokes

Journey Home

Just today CarpeDM completes the Journey!

It’s time for J-Weeks Jabberwocky! Maybe we should start with some Joints, now that I’m back in Colorado. Just Joshing. Joints aren’t my Jam.

J-Weeks began with my Journey Jetting home to Colorado after a Jolly winter in Florida.

I was Juggling a lot of balls and Jumping through hoops, trying to get my car shipped. After two weeks of bad JuJu, I was finally able to schedule a pickup.

Just today, CARPEDM was Jettisoned from the car carrier and is home with me at last. The driver did an excellent Job and I’m in a much more Jovial mood than I was when the Journey began.

Journaling about Joy

Journaling helped Jog my memory about the many Joys of my Colorado life. In particular, the Juniors who live in Colorado.

Mother’s Day Jubilee

My two weeks home have been Jam-packed with Juicy reunions.

I did Jumping Jacks and Jogged to celebrate my J-Weeks Jaunt through my neighborhood. Reminiscent of the Jacarandas of Florida, there are lilacs of Jordy Blue, filling the air with their perfumed scent.

Lilacs Jazz up my Jog with their sweet scent

A bouquet filled with Jacinthe-colored tulips bring me Joy while I drink a cup of Jo in my Jammies.

I asked the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group for examples of Joy. Answers included Jets, Journeys, Jersey, Jasmine, Joie de Vivre, and Jiving to the Jitterbug.

J-Weeks: Jokes

Jokes were another opportunity for the Carpe Diem Community to Join in with Jocularity.

I liked Kelly’s J-Play, both with Jaywalking and Blue Jay:

Judge and Jury would agree that these Jokes would make any Jester Jealous.

All Joking aside, though J-words are limited, Just one small word is all we need to hit the Jackpot: Joy!

Activities Galore at the Superior Community Center

So, I’m back in Superior after my Florida stint, psyched to be home. But guess what? My car’s MIA, stuck in shipping hell. Oh dear. But here’s the silver lining: while I’m carless, I stumble upon a treasure, practically in my own back yard—the Superior Community Center. Turns out, there’s a whole bunch of cool stuff for the over-60 crowd like me that I never knew about. Book clubs, Texas Hold’em games—you name it. It’s like I hit the jackpot!

As I learned during the pandemic, a “Staycation in Superior” is an awesome opportunity to explore my beautiful town!

Activities for all Age Groups

The Superior Community Center is only about 1/2 mile from my house. I love walking there, even when my car is available. Last year, I often walked over for a variety of events – open-mic night, ukulele jam, DJ Bingo, and Thursday night choir practice.

One of the many great things about this intergenerational community choir is that it’s very informal! No auditions necessary! Even though I was gone all winter, I was able to join right in again, as if I’d never left.

Activities for 60+

I decided to check what activities were on the schedule for the over 60 crowd and what a surprise! There’s such a variety and abundance of classes!

Since I’ve been home, I’ve joined the Book Club, the Fountain of Youth drop-in group, and played Texas Hold’em yesterday at the Games group.

The young woman (2nd from the left), Hannah, works at the Superior Community Center and helps facilitate many of the activities. Next to her is Carol, who was teaching Texas Hold’em. I almost didn’t go, thinking I was already a pro, but I learned a few things myself!

Fun Atmosphere

Besides the variety of activities that are being held at the Superior Community Center, it’s just a fun place to hang out.

It’s funny that I’ve been actively looking at moving to a 55+ community so that I’d be able to find new nearby friends, activities, and clubs. A couple of weeks ago, I found that so much was available at the library close to my Bradenton condo. This week, I find there’s an abundance of activities available walking distance from my Superior home.

Feeling inspired to explore what your local community center has to offer? Don’t wait! Check out the activities calendar, gather some friends or fly solo, and dive into the fun. Whether you’re into book clubs, card games, or just looking to meet new people, there’s something for everyone. So, go ahead, discover the hidden treasures of your own neighborhood, and make some unforgettable memories along the way!

Are you finding new opportunities for community? Come join us on the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook page and share your experiences!

I-Weeks: Ice Cream, Images, and Internet

I-Weeks: Indulging In Ice Cream

I-Weeks: Ice Cream Indulgence

I’ve been Imagining Ice Cream since the Initial days of I-Weeks! I Indulged Individually. (I’m Independent that way.) But, of course, I also Issued an Invitation to my MLC learner and her Irresistible Infant during our final Informal In-person get-together.

Our Informal Instructions are Improvised and sometimes Inspired by Interacting about Information pertaining to the celebrated letter.

“I Before E” Is Irrelevant Instruction (Image taken from a Facebook post)

In an Inordinate number of Instances, Inglish spelling Is Infuriating. Indeed, I’m Intentionally Inundating this post, even spelling Inglish Incorrectly, just to be Irritating (and to Introduce more I-words).

I-Weeks: Images

In my Inbox, I often receive Interesting Invitations Involving my iPhone. I took an iPhone Photography class and this week, the same photographer was offering an Instagram class. I’ve been Interested in Improving my Influencing skills with better Images, so I signed up!

My photography and Instagram skills are In their Infancy, so I’m Insecure. However, the Idea off capturing Incredible Images of joy, Is, In Itself, an Illusive goal to keep me Inspired.

An Inadvertent I-Weeks discovery was an Innovative park at The Bay in Sarasota called “Ibis Playground.” I’m Inserting an Incredibly Inferior Image as an Indication of the “before Instruction” quality of my Images.

Inferior Image of Ibis Innovation

I’m Intrigued by the Infinite and Illuminating expressions that can be made simply with ones “I”s (eyes). (This time I’ll Insert an Internet Image.)

Internet Image of potato with “I”s (Eyes)

I-Weeks: Internet

It’s my final week of the snowbird season, so I’ve Intentionally avoided the Internet. Instead, I’ve spent Impromptu time, enjoying the Idyllic Iridescent ocean.

The beauty of my surroundings has been Ineffable. In-person Interactions have been Illuminating.

Inevitably, however, the Intelligent Interactions of the Internet are Irresistible. (In particular, the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook group.)

The answers to my request for Individual Introductions Include these Insights:

In Conclusion

I-Weeks remind us to be Intentional about the Infinite choices In life. Invest In Individual Innovative Ideas. Introspect on your Identity. In-joy the Ineffable. And above all, Indulge In Ice Cream!

From Books to Spanish Conversation Class: Rediscovering the Library

Manatee County Central Library in downtown Bradenton, Florida

I have always been a lover of libraries. Yup, I was that nerdy kid that went to the library at recess. Nothing made me happier than books!

Then computers came along, and I loved those even more than books! With the advent of social media, we could literally befriend authors! (If they were alive, that is.)

Thanks to the digital age and the Libby app, I didn’t even have to physically go to the library in order to check out books. I marvel at how, no matter where I am in the world, I can instantly check out eBooks and audiobooks!

With all the convenience of the digital age, I hadn’t really even thought about physically going to the library this winter while I was in Bradenton, Florida. That is, until I found out Spanish Conversation classes were being hosted there!

Spanish Conversation Classes at Manatee County Central Library

Spanish Conversation Class with Ginette

Wow! Did you know that high quality classes were being held at the library for free? I’ve been exploring 55+ communities, wishing for a chance to experience clubs and classes, and here was an opportunity right under my nose!

I love, love, love this Spanish Conversation Class that’s held Tuesday mornings at the Central Library. I’ve been volunteering at the Manatee Literacy Council and the dynamic teacher of this class, Ginett, is one of the advanced learners at MLC! How exciting to see her here helping people learn Spanish!

Ginett makes every Spanish Conversation Class fun. The first class I attended, we broke up into groups and did some role playing, as though we were in a restaurant. Ginett had provided actual food to be served! The class was not only a good opportunity to practice Spanish, but also to get in a little Improv play, and to meet fellow-Spanish-learners.

Classes and Events and Even Things

Spanish Conversation was just one of many free classes that were offered at the library! A very popular Country Line Dancing class is held every Friday in the Auditorium.

You can even borrow things, like cake pans, binoculars, and musical instruments.

Lifetime Access to the Library

Partners in Enlightenment Sculpture
Manatee Sculpture
Book Art!

Besides all the wonderful books, classes, events, and things you can borrow, the library is just a really cool place to be. It’s like a museum, with sculptures and fun art in every corner.

Could all of this really be free, even for snowbirds? I verified that even non-residents could take advantage of many of the library’s services. However, for a $100 donation, I’d have life-time access of all of the library’s services! Perfect!

Throughout my life, as a student, an employee, a mother, a book-lover, I’ve spent time in libraries. Maybe it’s now, post-pandemic, as a retired person, that I’m realizing how valuable it is for me to physically be inside a library. Being around stacks of books brings back that same joy I felt as a kid. It’s my happy place.

Whether you’re yearning for community, a good story, a class, or just a place to sit and reflect for awhile, check out your local library. Like me, you may rediscover your happy place.

Thank you to all those at The Library Foundation of Manatee County and to the Friends of Central Library Manatee County for your valuable services!

H-Weeks: Happiness, Hygge, and Haikus

Hello, Humans. H-Weeks have been a Hoot as we’ve paid Homage to the letter H. (Here’s a History of my 2024 goal.) Let me give you some Highlights from H-Weeks.

Happiness

Manatee Literacy Council‘s Open House! “Bee” Happy!

Happiness is the H-Weeks Headliner.

On the Home Page of CarpeDiemDay.com, you’ll find a wHole lot of other Happy Sites including:

Happiness is such a Habit that I entered the Helsinki Happiness Hacks competition earlier this month. I’m Hoping to Head to Helsinki and learn from Happiness Heroes. However, we can learn from the world’s Happiest country, even from Home.

There are Hundreds of Happiness Hacks: Heart-Healthy Hiking, Helping Hands, Hugs, Hula-Hoops, Honey, Hootenanny Hoedowns, Hearts, Hunks, Horny Hanky panky! Hang on… Hold your Horses. Holy cow and Heavens to Betsy!

This post is Hurriedly going to Hell in a Handbasket! Haha. Are you laughing Hysterically like a Hyena? I admit in all Humility, that my Humor is Hilarious. Or perhaps Humiliating. Hurrying on…

Hygge and Happy Hours

I’ve Had several Happy Hours in the past two weeks, including at the Home of the Hugely Hospitable Hostess, Felicia!

Felicia Has the superpowers of Hestia, Goddess of Hearth and Home. Her Home Heralded Hygge in every corner and Hallway. The key, I believe, comes from Her Huge Heart.

Happy Hour Hosted for the release of Brain Bitch

I also attended a Happy Hour Hosted by Terri in Honor of Brain Bitch, How I Quiet my Inner Mean Girl. Congratulations to the author, Jenny Greene, and Terri, who Helped throughout the writing process. Highly recommended book.

Haikus

It turns out International Haiku Poetry Day falls during H-Weeks on April 17! (Hooray for Hardly-Heard-of Holidays!)

I Hit up the Carpe Diem Connections Community and they Handed over Halcyon Haikus.

Honestly, the Haikus were Heartwarming. I Hesitate to repost without permission, so I’ll Humbly only offer my own Here:

Happiness Heyday!

Hearing Heartfelt Honesty.

Heidi’s Haikus; Hugs!

Hey now, Hey now, Don’t say it’s over…

I Heart H-Weeks, Naples, FL.

I know we Hate to Hail out H-weeks with all those Happy, Hygge Hearts and Hugs. If it Helps, Imagine the Ice cream that’s coming up In I-Weeks!

Seizing the Solar Eclipse: A Joyful Adventure in Austin with Felicia

Watching the Eclipse April 8, 2024
Watching the Eclipse April 8, 2024 in Austin

Solar Eclipse: An Epic Carpe Diem Experience

Were you one of those people who had been waiting for April 8th, 2024 since 2017? I missed “totality” at the last eclipse and was told by all my friends who’d experienced it that it was “Totality Cool!”

Now, mostly-retired, and the owner of Carpe Diem Day, I was not about to miss the great Solar Eclipse of 2024! I, along with millions, was eager to experience the full totality experience!

Even better than the solar eclipse, was that I was hosted by the most hospitable friend ever, Felicia! Felicia lives in Leander, TX, a suburb of Austin. While other viewers were spending beaucoup bucks on overpriced lodging, I was getting a priceless 5-star spa experience with a generous, fun, welcoming girlfriend!

Felicia serving empanadas to friends and family on National Empanada Day

The celebration started with a delicious lunch for friends and family. Without even knowing that April 8th is National Empanada Day, Felicia served her homemade empanadas! She’s an amazing cook and, obviously, has some kind of super-human powers. She’s like the Greek Goddess Hestia, Goddess of Hearth and Home. (Very appropriate since we’re in H-Weeks. More to come in upcoming H-Weeks blog post!)

Despite cloudy forecast, we see the eclipse throughout the afternoon!
Totality!
High tech and low tech viewing options!

The forecast had been 80-100% cloud coverage for Austin during the time of the eclipse, so I’d been prepared for a less-than-ideal viewing. As is often the case with these celestial events (or outdoor weddings), clouds or rain can be a major disappointment. As Alanis Morissette would say, “Isn’t it ironic?”

The flip side of that is, “Isn’t it amazing?” when the bad thing you expect, doesn’t happen? Still ironic, I guess, but in a positive way! I already knew that whatever the visibility would be, it would be a fun and memorable experience, but extra-special that the clouds parted throughout the day and during the couple of minutes of totality to give us all that “Wow!!” experience!

Walking & Wildflowers

Felicia and I amongst the bluebonnets

As a long-time student of Happiness, I know that two things that bump up my mood are walking and wildflowers! Add to that gorgeous weather and a good friend, and it’s the recipe for a perfect day!

The bluebonnets were out in full force – such a gorgeous indigo color. We saw them on our hikes in Leander and at Brushy Creek Lake Park.

But the real “Wow” factor with the Wildflowers was another serendipitous experience. When the LBJ Museum happened to be closed for construction, we stumbled upon the most beautiful wildflower drive ever: Willow City Loop!

I really wasn’t able to capture the extent of the beauty with my camera. All I can say is that we were absolutely hitting this beautiful haven at its peak!

Downtown Austin

Outside Austin’s Capital Building

Another one of my goals had been to visit every state capital. Even though this has been a rather dormant goal, my daughter-in-law had told me that I’d love Austin, so I was excited to have the opportunity to explore downtown with Felicia!

There a beautiful riverwalk with scenic bridges, parks, and skyscrapers in the background.

Austin River Walk

I absolutely LOVED the Austin library which seemed more like a museum than a library! There as an Art Gallery and Innovation Lab and even a Gift Shop!

Many “stories” in the Austin Library

There were many stories (I’m talking about floors!) with stairs throughout the building leading up, eventually, to a rooftop garden. Each floor was filled with artsy architecture and colorful designs. I could’ve easily spent the whole day exploring that magnificent library! I felt like a kid in a candy store!

Loved sampling the colorful unusual chairs!

“Keep Austin Weird” is Austin’s unofficial motto which is meant to be a call to support local businesses and indie efforts. The city does have a very unique and artsy charm to it that’s right up my alley.

Felicia’s Hospitality

I met Felicia first, along with Eva and Georgette, through my good friend, Becky. We went on a Bird-Watching microadventure together in 2022.

Felicia has always been one to make me feel so welcome with her genuine warm smiles and openness. She’s such a joy to be around, easily laughing and sharing her stories and wisdom.

Felicia (Goddess of Hearth and Home) has so many decorative touches in her home that I was going around taking pictures of everything from the soap to the vases, to the big, comfortable bed to the outdoor bathtub filled with flowers. Her home could be in any House Beautiful magazine.

But beyond the beauty of her home, Felicia has a gift in how she makes others feel. Her generosity and welcoming smile generate an immediate trust… someone you’d be ready to share your deepest secrets with.

A True Carpe Diem Experience!

Austin State Capital Building

In the end, my journey to witness the solar eclipse and explore Austin with Felicia was nothing short of magical. From the awe-inspiring sight of totality to the charming streets of downtown Austin, every moment was filled with a sense of joy and adventure.

I am deeply grateful to Felicia for her warmth, generosity, and friendship, which made this experience truly unforgettable. As I reflect on this visit, I’m reminded once again of the importance of seizing the day and celebrating the connections we make along the way. Here’s to embracing life’s moments, both big and small, with open arms and grateful hearts. Carpe diem!

Come join the discussion!

Share your own Solar Eclipse experiences or favorite “Carpe Diem” moments in the comments below or on the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Page!

G-Weeks: Goodness, Gardner, God and Groups

Websites Spreading Goodness

As we Gather to Give our Goodbyes to G-Weeks, I want to first Galvanize this Group by making you aware of websites spreading Goodness.

The homepage of CarpeDiemDay.Com lists a Group of Great Websites including:

I could Gush about the Gallery of Game-changing content in these Gazettes. They are Gems that remind us that the world is filled with Generosity and Goodness.

I discovered this Gift of G-Words as well as the Good Good Good Website itself, thanks to Google earlier this year! (This Gal is GaGa about Google!)

Gardner Park

Great Gal with her Gorgeous Greyhound

It’s always my Goal to have a microadventure celebrating my theme letter. For G-Weeks, my Groovy Gal-pal, Becky, aGreed to meet up at Gardner Park with her dogs, Jack and Carla.

Carla is a Gorgeous Greyhound who Galavants and Gallops at such speeds, you can’t help but Get Giddy! Go, Carla, Go!

Jack will also make you Giggle; his is more of a Geriatric Gait, his Gaze filled with Genuine Gumption.

G-Weeks Gathering

Besides a Dog Park, Gardner Park Garnered Gardens and a Gravity Swing. Even as a Grownup, I Glibly Glided down the Green track with Gusto.

We topped off the Gardner Gathering with Grapes, Gastronomy and Gabbing about Gifts and Gadgets at The Granary.

God’s Grace

On the weekends that I don’t write my Goofy alliteration blog posts, my Goal is to write something with more Gravitas. Last Sunday was Easter. I was able to attend a Gorgeous sunrise service at Holmes Beach.

Easter Sunrise Service on Holmes Beach

The final song they played at the service was Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah with lyrics telling the Easter story. (I have a long history with the song, Hallelujah, which may be more appropriate to discuss during H weeks.)

Getting back to G’s, as tears came Gushing down my cheeks, I realized how intertwined Grief, Gratitude, and Grace are. That through our deepest Grief, God’s Grace promises us the Gift of eternal life.

I’m Guessing God, is Giving me a Gold star for my faithful revelation, though perhaps a Gaffe to be Goofing around, Going on about G-words. I mean G-sus! (God, I hope the fact that I didn’t spell His name right, makes it OK to say that.)

Groups

I am so Grateful for Groups and Gatherings and all the Goodness we Get to enjoy. The Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group was full of fun enGagement, as always.

I Geek-out on the Gibberish and GobbledyGook!

Geez!

R.R. Garcia Gave us Grasshoppers and Green Grass. Heidi shared a Glorious Gratitude Green photo.

Let’s Get out and Garden, Golf, or Goof-off for the weekend, as we say Goodbye to G-Weeks. Come Monday, it’s Hello to H-Weeks!

2024: An Alphabet-Inspired Year

I recently made a case against the idea of an “Anti-Bucket List.” In that post, I wrote that I like to create a yearly project filled with “trivial” goals. This year my project seems less than trivial. It might be described as Dr.Seuss-level silly.

Every two weeks I use a letter of the alphabet to help provide prompts throughout the 2-week iteration. (My background as an Agile coach is showing itself, I know.)

Even though this sounds like an exercise from Kindergarten, I’m finding it unexpectedly fun. My 3 requirements are that I use the theme letter to:

1) Go on some kind of little adventure

2) Spark conversation in the Facebook Carpe Diem Connections Group and

3) Write a blog post annoyingly full of alliteration.

Though I started out being embarrassed at this very simple-minded project, I’m 6 iterations in now, and writing my letter-themed blog post has become an enjoyable creative writing exercise. I also really enjoy the Facebook banter and the theme-based microadventures.

This post will be my “Master” post placeholder that I’ll continue to add to throughout the year. I’m hoping this will keep me motivated to finish through those tough letters that come at the end of the alphabet!

A-Weeks: Alphabet Assists
B-Weeks: Bradenton Beach, Belonging and Being
C-Weeks: Connections and Companionship
D-Weeks: Dollar Tree, Death, and Dance
E-Weeks: Elderberries, Escape Room, Ego and Engagement
F-Weeks: Field Trips, Facebook Facilitation
G-Weeks: Goodness, Gardner, God, and Groups
H-Weeks: Happiness, Hygge, and Haikus
I-Weeks: Ice Cream, Images, and Internet
J-Weeks: Journey, Joy, and Jokes

F-Weeks: Field Trips, Facebook Facilitation, and Fun

As we Finalize F-Weeks and I reFlect, I’m Fired up about Fulfilling the goals of my self-assigned Framework. Three Functional Outputs? A Field Trip, Facebook Facilitation, and Finally, a Blog Post Filled with the Focus-Letter. Most importantly, the overall goal is to have Fun.

F-Weeks Field Trips

Free 5K Fun Runs Weekly at 99Bottles in Sarasota, Florida

My F-Weeks Field trip was a Free Five-K Fun Run in downtown Sarasota, Florida. Running a 5K each month is a 2024 Fitness goal, so this Field trip Functioned as a TwoFer, helping me Fulfill two goals at once.

Of course, F-Focused Field trips are inFinite when you’re in Florida, since you can simply count anything. I actually had a Fantastic time with a new Friend, Sue Ellen, seeing a musical perFormed at the freeFall theater in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 3rd.

Seeing Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater at freeFall Theater Company

Technically, I Engaged in this Excursion on the day Ending E-Weeks, so I inwardly Frowned upon it “counting” as my oFFicial F-Week Field Trip. It wouldn’t be Fair to my inner rule-Follower. But Field Trips with Friends are more Fun than those done alone. Because it was the Final day of E-Weeks, I Find in Favor of granting Extra Fine credit For this EFfy EdFenture.

Facebook Facilitation

Since Forming the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group, I have tried to Foster a Feeling of Fáilte. The Focus-letter has helped provide Fodder For prompts For Folly and Fotos.

Whether or not the discussion or posts are Filled with the Focus Letter is irrelevant. Of course, I love any creativity that comes From working in the theme letter. Let me Feature a Few examples.

Heidi posted an “F”emerol Fog Foto and Ron Filled the group with Fotos of Friendship, Flamingos, and Foxes.

John Fakes commented, “F is For Fakes,” to which I pointed out the Fallacy of Fakes News. (John Fakes is Funny and Full of… let’s call it Farts in honor of F-Weeks.)

Kelly posed the riddle:

Can you name an 8 letter word with 4 f’s?

Heidi immediately replied “niff-naff.” That was a new word (or is it a Frase?) For me (I love learning new words!) It reminded me of “riffraff” which Kelly said was the word he had in mind.

“F is for Famous: Who’s the most Famous person you’ve met?” resulted in Fascinating stories! My Favorite was from Elizabethe:

Dan Brown writer of Davinci code was at my Fortieth bday party, gave me a flawless bottle of fermented faber grapes from France. Everyone had to dress as their favorite feminist. I went as Zelda Fitzgerald. After I drank a glass, I fainted and my glass fell on his foot. Not a fabrication!

This Factual story of Feminist Fitzgerald in a Femme Fatale scenario with Famous Fiction-writer, Dan Brown, was Fantastic!

Mike Cohn, who I noted as my Favorite Famous person, worked in a 2nd-hand F-bomb to his answer:

Either Drake in a hotel in London or basketball player Bill Walton in the security line at the airport and then in the United Airlines lounge. I once met Lemmy of Motorhead deplaning in London but he told me to “F*** off” when I said hello.

There were more than a Few other Fabulous stories, most of them totally F’ed up in some creative way.

F-Weeks Fun: Flamingos, Flowers, and Frumples

Flowers Fill my Flamingo Vase

Even a Frugal Female like me can buy myself Flowers. (Duh, Miley!) I especially like to Fill my Flamingo vase with these pink tiger lilies with blooms resembling Flamingo Feathers.

Fruity Flip Flops in a Flamingo container

I’m a bit of a Flamingo Freak, and, as mentioned during E-Weeks, my Friends had the Foresight to gift me with Flamingo niFF-naFF. (HopeFully, I’m using this new word appropriately).

A new discovery: Frumples!

One of the most Fun things about my letter-play is when I Find something unexpected and new. There was a Female at a Farmer’s Market selling these Fanciful Frumples.

Frumple Founder, Paula Knudsen, told me her story and the Frumple story. They are not only a Fun Fashion-statement, but can help your Focus and energy.

Finally…

I Feel Fortunate to have Friends, Family, Faith, Fitness, and even Flamingos in my life. Despite Flatulence and Foolishness, I have Followers.. OK, maybe not Face to Face Followers. Maybe just a Few Followers.. Forget the Followers. I have Facebook. Farewell Fun F-Weeks!

Carpe Diem: Reframing the Bucket List

Bucket lists and goals are my thing. My alter ego is “Super Carpe Diem Woman” after all! I’m all about Seizing the Day! That’s why it was a bit upsetting for me to see one of my weekly newsletters touting “The Rise of the Anti-Bucket List.”

Super Carpe Diem Woman
Super Carpe Diem Woman Leading the Walk to Defeat ALS in Honor of Craig Dunham

The first trigger was the “Anti-” prefix. I immediately wanted to write a post about how I was “Anti-Anti-Bucket Lists.” Whenever I hear anyone saying they’re Anti-anything, my devil’s advocate pipes right up, ready to argue. (Well, unless we’re talking about watching “Auntie Mame” which just happens to be on my March Bucket List.)

After reading the AARP article that originally describes the case for an Anti-Bucket List, I realized the author’s notion of “bucket list” is totally different from my own.

“My bad year had taught me a lot, and probably chief among those things is that there’s much to be said for ordinary life. So I suggest you put the bucket list in the shredder. Do what I’ve done: Create an anti-bucket list. It’s easy. Plane travel? It’s over. Anything you watch on shows like The Amazing Race or Survivor — forget it. Things that might cause stress or fear or make your back ache? Getting up too early or staying out too late? Why? Really, why?”

Stephen Randall, AARP
 

While I respect and understand the author’s point of view, I have a different opinion about two of his reasons for promoting an anti-bucket list. In my quite passionate opinion:

  1. An ordinary life is FULL of Bucket List-worthy items!
  2. We’re happier when we focus on what we want to do instead of what we will never do again.

Bucket Lists are not just about lofty adventures

A bucket list is meant to be a list of things you want to do before you die. It absolutely doesn’t need to be about travel or challenging goals. It can be about relationships, health, learning or anything! A bucket list is going to be different for every person. The key is to figure out what YOU want to do in this lifetime. Then, do it! Or move towards it. Enjoy the journey!

I executed a 60 Until 60 List the 60 weeks leading up to my 60th birthday. I treated this kind of like a Bucket List that I wanted to complete by age 60 rather than “before I die”. The whole “before I die” deadline is too uncertain. (As a project manager, I’d never accept that!)

I much prefer Yearly Projects filled with rather trivial goals designed to bring joy and happiness into my life. And when I’m happy, the people I love are happier, too.

In 2022, I had a Year of Microadventures, which turned out to be better than a Bucket List for me. Anything could be a “Microadventure.” My only rules were that I had to do something with someone else and blog about it.

Last year was my Year of Learning, which included my quest to become an AARP Benefits Badass!

My goals and Microadventures include quotidian experiences. I very much enjoy finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. Reading a book, walks in the park, indulging in a Netflix series with my son – these are not typical “bucket list items.” However, by being intentional about having an experience, particularly with someone else, and writing about it, I’m creating invaluable memories.

Focus on what you want to do

Stephen Randall’s argument for an anti-bucket list is that it gives us a way to say ‘no more’ to things we don’t want to do. Sure, we shouldn’t let our friends (or our own inner-critics) guilt or pressure us into doing things we don’t really want to do!

I absolutely agree with listening to our gut when we are setting our goals, whether those be on a bucket list or a weekly to-do list. One of the greatest things about being retired is that we have full autonomy of how we choose to spend our time.

As we age, we find there are things we no longer want to do. There may be things on our bucket list that no longer seem realistic.

Randall lists traveling on a plane, things that cause us stress or fear, and getting up early or staying out late as items for his anti-bucket list.

Being self-aware of both what you want to do and what you don’t want to do with your time is awesome. However, I suggest our mood responds much more favorably to anticipating something we want to do, rather than declaring what we won’t be doing.

Rather than declaring we won’t be traveling on a plane, why not have goals to have a staycation, scope out the local farmer’s market, or invite your neighbor out for coffee at that new place on the corner?

Facing Mortality

My passion for a “Carpe Diem” Lifestyle is primarily fueled from my experience in watching Craig Dunham, a friend who died from ALS in 2010.

As he lost his ability to speak, walk or move, he kept adapting, taking pleasure in whatever he could still do. That courage and strength still fills me with such admiration. The day I realized he couldn’t pick up the phone and tell his kids he loved them, was the day I realized how very much I take for granted.

There’s an infinite list of things we will not do in our lifetime, either because we don’t have the time, the money, the ability, or simply don’t want to! Why spend any time thinking about those things?

Instead, let’s fill our days with doing the things we want to do. Whether they are big, lofty goals or simply picking up the phone to say, ‘I love you,’ let’s continue to intentionally live our best lives.