Sunday, January 4, 2009

Life Resolutions

We're feeling especially introspective this year, for several reasons. Steve has a few, but I can definitely point to the moment of my mom's death as mine. That moment marked a major turning point in my life of not caring about Stupid Stuff. Not sure how long that will last at full-throttle, but I can't imagine it won't permanently affect my perspective long-term as well. Knowing that some day, I might be on a hospital bed with only moments left makes me realize I need to make life worth it.

We made our Bucket Lists on the drive home. What do we want to do before we die? I want to finish up those last few credits of my second Masters, because it irritates me to have to say 1 and 9/10ths of a Masters. The lack of closure and complicated explanations on my resume are part of it, but I also love education and want to have that be a major tentpole in my life. Get my PhD. Start a non-profit foundation. See the Wonders of the World. Make it to all 7 continents.

Both of us realized that most of our bullet points revolved around travel. That was one reason we decided to call our family complete at 3 kiddos, as the 4th one (previously planned on) seemed like it would change the flavor of our family. There were a lot of reasons we decided we were complete, but one reason in particular: We wanted to move our brood into the Older Kid stage, so we could take camping trips and travel abroad. Adding on another child seemed like Jack was starting to miss out on some childhood by having a pregnant mama (or new babe).

Our trip to Netherlands and the UK taught us (resolutely!) that we will never, ever, ever do International Toddler Travel again. Ever. But I can't wait until our kids are a bit older and we can rent an RV and go across the US or Europe. By then, I hope I'll have Steve convinced that this is actually a good idea. ;) The RV, not the travel. He's on board with that. I suspect the reservations about the RV are that he'd be stuck driving it while the rest of us have fun in the back. Neither of us would trust me with an oversized vehicle like that. My sense of space isn't that good, so it could be a disaster. So I could play Monopoly in the back with the kids, while Steve drives. Heehee.

Steve wants to do Ironman qualifiers all over the world. Apparently, those triathlons are the window into his "travel bug," and I'm delighted that his Bucket List had as many world destinations as mine did. Russia. Scandinavia. China. This is quite a shift from the Steve with whom I fell in love. When we were engaged, I asked him if we could do a honeymoon in Cambodia and Vietnam. When he realized I wasn't joking, he replied: "I've never left the United States. Let's start with Italy."

It's funny how people merge in marriage, isn't it? Or is it just us? I was the flighty vagabond when we met, and he wanted to stay in the Midwest and lead a stable existence. By the time we moved to Virginia Beach 7 years later, we couldn't tell whose idea it was in the first place. Steve wanted the adventure of a new place (and living close to the ocean), and I wanted the stability of picking our "perfect place" to spend the rest of our lives. It was interesting how our Bucket Lists were almost uncanny in our travel plans.

Now, we just need to get our kids old enough to carry their own suitcases. ;)

We both came back from Minnesota deciding to take life by the horns. Steve suggested getting the kids in bed and opening up that rum bottle I'd been carrying around with me since I went to Nicaragua. To put it into perspective, that rum was purchased prior to my relationship with Steve (about 12 years). I'd be too embarrassed to tally up how many moves I've had, where I packed up that rum in tissue and brought it to the next address. Definitely more than 10 moves. Yikes. What was I saving it for? We decided to use it for rum and cokes to toast our new Meaningful Life phase. We both hated the rum/coke combo (not that great), but it was still liberating to decide that we could make a special occasion anytime we wanted. What better use for that ancient Nicaraguan rum than to shift our lives towards more prioritization to the Important Things?

I think this is going to be a great year. My mom would be so happy to see how her life inspired me, even after her death.

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