a reverse bucket list

I'm going to admit something: I don't like bucket lists. I don't! They stress me out. They put me in the mindset that if I don't accomplish these things, then I didn't "live my life to the fullest" and I missed out on everything, did nothing, and died a lonely, miserable old woman. They also make me stress over logistics and NO ONE needs to see me like that. It's not that goals aren't great and stuff, but still, the whole concept overwhelms me and leaves me shaking in the corner. Which isn't exactly the point.

Rather than all that, I like to focus on the things I've already done. My life isn't actually exciting at all, especially compared to most people, but I've done some pretty cool stuff that I'm proud of. I've seen a few people do this and while I loved the idea, I didn't know how to do it without it sounding braggy. Because I have nothing to brag about. I really don't. But in the land of bucket lists and "30 things to do before you're 30" lists, I think it's a good thing to not get too wrapped up in the future and to be content with the things we've already done. And it helps me feel better when I get all twitchy. So here we go.

1. I've lived in 4 states in different parts of the US: California, Nevada, Ohio, and North Carolina.

2. I graduated college Magna Cum Laude with a degree I love, which happened to be the antithesis of the degree I thought I would graduate with. And it has led me to a lifetime of resolving grammar disputes between friends.

just modeling for the graduation edition of Vogue
3. I very timidly travelled to Scotland alone, met up with other Americans to help a church, accidentally wandered onto the set of a Bollywood movie in Edinburgh, and spent an afternoon chatting with a BBC actor in a park.

4. I met internet friends in real life. And I didn't die.

5. I learned a foreign language. 

6. I got engaged on the beach. When I was little, my mom told me that my dad proposed to her at the beach. My whole life I thought that was the most romantic thing I'd ever heard, and I hoped and prayed the same thing would happen to me. And then I met James and he proposed to me on the beach without ever knowing that story.

7. I married a man with an accent who plays guitar.

8. I met and hugged The Pioneer Woman, writer of the first blog I ever read and my favorite all-time writer/person in general.

9. I helped build a house and church in Mexico and played with kids in the streets. In 110 degree weather in August. And I didn't die.

10. I adopted my munchkin of a cat from a shelter who thanks me by napping on my pillow.

11. I survived a handful of earthquakes, many tornado warnings, and several tropical storms. And I didn't die.

12. I taught myself the Napoleon Dynamite dance. And I'm planning to reteach myself, because you never know when that skill will come in handy. It's my secret weapon and I need to be prepared at all times.

13. I won my 7th grade spelling bee. I won't tell you that I lost the county spelling bee by misspelling the word "glistened." I also won't tell you that I'm still mad about it.

14. I wrote for my college newspaper. Never in my life have I felt more like Rory Gilmore. It only lasted for a semester, though, because the editor had no qualms about sending verbally abusive emails. But at least I got a few front page stories out of it.

15. I played drums during a halftime show of a college bowl game in Atlanta. Also on that trip I made a girl so mad she slept in the bathtub. I still have no idea what I did.

16. I was stranded in a foreign country on my honeymoon. And I didn't die.

17. I got my senior diploma in piano, which basically meant I spent my senior year of high school practicing piano for 5 hours a day to learn and memorize 10 board-approved sonatas/waltzes/etc, and I played them for a judge. And to this day it is one of my greatest accomplishments.

18. I hiked the Kitty Hawk sand dunes. In August. And I didn't die. It was 3.5 years ago and I'm still sweating.

19. I met the Duggar family, at an event where my mom and I were the only women wearing pants instead of long skirts, and discussed the virtues of homemade soap with Michelle Duggar. I've never made homemade soap, but she seemed pretty into it.

20. I stood on the beach in the Outerbanks during a blizzard.

21. I swing danced at an actual swing dance event with a live big band.

22. I wore a snuggie to the beach. And oh how I wish I had the pictures.

23. I passed my college Shakespeare class. If you knew my professor, you would understand. Not even Chemistry made me have a meltdown in a professor's office the way I did before my Shakespeare final.

24. I sang the national anthem for a bunch of sporting events in high school. I have the nervous shakes just typing that.

25. I started this blog, something I wanted to do all through college but was too scared to do, and it has become one of my most favorite things.


  1. I love that some of these end with, "And I didn't die." Especially the one about meeting Internet friends. But I totally understand, because I think Kelsey is tres scary and pretty good with a bow staff.

    You've done a lot of things, my friend! And I can't wait for you to add, "Traveled to NYC and saw The Avett Brothers live" to this list!

  2. 1. Alissa, you are a dick.
    2. I LOVE THIS IDEA! I never made any kind of bucket list because to me, it always seems more like a "better do all this shit before I die" list and that is depressing.
    3. I need to see the Napoleon Dynamite dance. You're not allowed to occupy Alissa's guest room without teaching us.

    1. "because I think Kelsey is tres scary" IS NOT A COMPLIMENT.

  3. We have almost the same premiss for a post today.

  4. This is totally epic.
    You sang the national anthem??? oh man, i wish you had video of that.
    I have an Anaheim angels snuggie. I don't wear it in public, but you're gosh darn right that I wear it at home. That thing is comfy!

  5. I am really glad that you went through with number 25. It has also become one of my favorite things.

  6. lists like these far surpass any of the ones full of things you have yet to do. really makes you appreciate what you have done makes you realize you're life isn't as simple as it may look. also one year for my birthday my friends bought me a snuggie and they made a huge poster board off everyone wearing the snuggie in different settings. it was fabulous.

  7. Love this post. Such a good idea. I'm dying to hear more about Scotland, though! Which actor?

  8. You did it! Yay! This is a fantastic list!

  9. These all make me love you more. I really like that you have an amazing picture from Scotland (JEALOUS) and managed to find a Starbucks there lol.

  10. I'm currently writing a list like this. It's so tempting to compare achievements with other people, but it's sometimes nice to remember all the cool things you've done yourself.

  11. Reverse Bucket List, aka Reasons Why Michelle is Awesome list. I'm a fan.

  12. I would like you to perform the NP dance and also sing and play drums at our wedding. Deal?

  13. I kind of really love this. I might have to be obnoxious and copy you haha

    Also, the internet needs a video of you doing the Napoleon

  14. And you didn't even die once.

    You really have done some truly remarkable things, Michelle. Especially the blogging thing, because really, I can't happily survive work sometimes without your awesome stories.


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