Eight years ago, upon returning from a semester abroad, I put together a “Life To-Do” list. Exhilarated by my experiences and inspired to live the life of a “do-er,” I compiled a few must-do-before-I-die goals. The items on my list ranged from the possible (learn to play guitar) to the probably not possible (marry a Latino Jew) to the downright silly (streak the quad).
Back at school, the goals stayed in my assignment book as a constant reminder:
• Bike through Argentina.
• Live and work in Europe for a year.
• Learn more about wine.
However, once graduation came and went, my university assignment book was no longer of use to me in the “real world,” and I stuck the list in my travel journal. It was promptly forgotten.
After reconnecting with a friend from my semester in Spain (thank you, Facebook), I dug out my journal, goals still sticking out of the last page. My heart sank as I read through them and realized that only one item had been accomplished.
I began to wonder what my 21-year-old self would think about where she is today. After all, 21-year-old Alyssa certainly did not list “live in the suburb where you grew up” among her to-dos. She didn’t set out to earn a laughable salary at a non-profit organization, and she really didn’t plan on working part-time in order to stay home with a baby.
My younger self had big plans, but maybe those plans haven’t been realized because better “to-dos” have crossed my path.
The Latino Jew of my list turns out to be an Irish-Polish Catholic. He may not speak Spanish, or read Hebrew, but he enjoys lox and bagels more than I do.
He took me to Sonoma County, where we drank too much wine without learning a whole lot.
While the younger me probably imagined a big paycheck, a condo by the lake and nights out on the town, I think she’d understand the importance of doing work that I can be proud of, living near family and spending nights snuggling with the husband, baby and dog.
There’s still time to learn the guitar.
And if nothing else, at least I can say I streaked the quad.