I recently came across a list of “70 Things to Do Before You Have Children.” I love lists — these dreamy, cheesy bucket lists included. I always click on them…curious to see what simple things and what complicated things and what amazing and what surprising things people aspire to.
When I saw this title I clicked with a tiny bit of fear. “What should we have done before having kids? Eeeeek…are those things off the table now that we’re parents? Where was this list 10 years ago?” all drifted through my head as I scrolled down the page. I looked through the list with the lens of my current life circumstance and breathed a sigh of relief. Everything on that list is doable as a parent. Everything. Every single thing.
Yes, some things might not be as desirable once you’re responsible for other human beings (#4 Jump out of a perfectly good airplane and #49 Experience Spring Break in its glory in Cancun) and some things become more logistically complicated (#13 Live in Southern California for at least a year and #57 Spend a whole day making love without every leaving the house). And some of these things are better done alone or with friends or with your partner (#27 Stage dive or crowd surf at a concert). But none of these things are off the table.
We (at least those of us in the U.S.) live in a world where life is punctuated by stages. “Oh, that’s what young single people do.” “That’s where the boring marrieds hang out.” “You need a stroller to do that.” “That hotel is for old people.” We love to group people into categories and then define what’s in bounds and off limits for them, and these messages are so loud that I think people actually start to believe them.
It doesn’t have to be this way. My friends just came back from a multi-day trek with Patagonia during which they carried their daughter on their back. An old boss took his 5th grade daughter on a year-long trip around the world. Sean and I went to the Great Barrier Reef without our kids. Families are climbing mountains. Moms are going to surf camp. A mom friend of mine recently piloted an airplane. People are getting fitter than ever when they’re 40. Today’s world is about opportunities, not limits. And as each of us navigates our own life stages and choices, let’s not forget that.
What’s the craziest thing on your bucket list, and are there life changes you think could get in your way of getting it done?