*I took this photo at WDS2015 while Jeremy Cowart was speaking.
“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” ~ Diane Ackerman
A million years ago, I used to work in a discount clothing store downtown. One quiet Sunday, I was in the store, and it was close to closing time, and this woman came into the store. After awhile, when she came up to the till, she said “I don’t know you, and I’m sorry if I’ve been staring, but something in me is compelling me to tell you to go buy the books “Feel the Fear And Do it Anyway” and “The Aladdin Factor” asap. She didn’t say much more than that, and I have always been a believer of being given signs, so as soon as I got off work, I went to the used bookstore next door, and bought copies of both books with the last $32 in my wallet.
I went home that afternoon and devoured those books. Especially “The Aladdin Factor” by Mark Victor Hansen. That book CHANGED MY LIFE. Back in 1995 when I read this book, long before bucket lists were a thing, he talks about making lists. Lists filled with outrageous items that we’d never dream of telling anyone about. I never forgot that exercise. He says do not stop making that list until you have at least 100 items on it. Back in 1995, I couldn’t even think of 100 items. It took me WEEKS to come up with that many items. And outrageous? Gosh, y’know, looking at that list now, I hadn’t yet even learned to think big. I remember putting things like “Get a VISA”, since I didn’t have a credit card, or “buy a pool table”, which was weird cause I didn’t have a house to put it in and i didn’t play pool, and i didn’t even include “buy a house” on the list. That will give you a sense of it though. That first list was tough.
He also says “get as outrageous as you can. the more outrageous the better.” So, back in 1995, the most outrageous thing I could think of for my #1 item was “Meet Bruce Springsteen (backstage pass or otherwise).” I remember writing it down and I had butterflies. It seemed SO ridiculous. Meet Bruce Springsteen? Are you kidding? How on earth? BUT he did say, “be outrageous”. And that to me seemed pretty flippin’ outrageous.
I have since become a huge fan of lists. I even bought a journal that i use specifically for my list. And over the years, it has become fluid, so I’m constantly adding to it, as I cross things off. I get a lot of enjoyment out of highlighting the items I’ve accomplished. I’ve transferred items over to new lists, all the while, #1 always remaining the same. “Meet Bruce Springsteen.” Never occurred to me to take it off the list, but it also never really occurred to me that it was something that I’d ever cross off. What’s funny, is that it has always remained the most outrageous thing I can think of. Even with all the other big, outrageous things I’ve done.
A few months before I left for a road trip this summer (also a list item), I purchased tickets for Springsteen in NJ and shared with my FB world that i’d be going, how excited I was to be crossing this off the list. I shared it because I was excited about the concert tickets. AND in sharing it, it set some things in motion…
Remember when we were kids? 5, 6 7, 8 years old. “I’m gonna be a fireman!” “I wanna be a doctor!” My own nephew when he was 4 started telling us he wanted to be a paleontologist. What did we do? We bought him dinosaur books, and backpacks, and pajamas, and I took him to see a big dinosaur show that was here a few summers ago. He knows everything there is to know about each of the dinosaurs, and he made us love them again too. And because he was so excited about dream, we were excited too. So we did what we knew to do to help him along. To make it real for him. Whether or not he grows up to be a paleontologist no longer matters. What matters is helping him make any of his dream come true. And now, at 8 years old, he still loves dinosaurs. So why, when we’re so eager to make children’s wishes and dreams come true, why wouldn’t we be doing that for ourselves? Or for each other?
Why am i even telling you this story?
Well. Because. After 20+ years of keeping my #1 item on my list as my #1 item on my list, I’m meeting Bruce Springsteen on October 4th. I shared my outrageous dream with others, others got involved in helping to make it happen. Which put energy under it and into the Universe. Sometimes you can run into him on the streets of New Jersey, but you’d have to know where he hangs out for that to happen, and of course, a girl from the west coast of Canada doesn’t really have a good shot of that happening in her every day life. Despite the fact that I’ve seen him in concert 5x, it just never dawned on me how I would meet him. But, it stayed on the list.
How is it possible that I’m meeting Bruce Springsteen? Because one friend took it upon herself to make it happen, by being my fairy godmother and making it happen. The tickets sold out in under a minute for a special event in Portland. But she managed to get one for me. And it is safe to say that when I do meet him on October 4th, I won’t be the only one excited about it. When we get personally involved in someone else’s dream…it starts to matter to us too. It starts to make dreams possible for us as well. It lights a fire under us.
If you know me, or you’ve read any other my other blogs, you’ll know, I’m a huge fan of list making. I have challenged friends to make lists. I love lists! Lists are fun! Lists have us live our lives in ways that we may not otherwise. Lists force us to go beyond our comfort zones. Lists force us to be true to what we want. Especially when we share them.
20 something years ago, I put that #1 item on my list. A bunch of words on a piece of paper. And the day I cross that sucker off the list..you can bet I’ll be sharing it with the world.
So. I ask you. What’s on your list? What dream are you willing to look foolish for?
There are people in our lives just waiting for an opportunity to contribute something to someone they love. What if that someone is you?
Share with me some of what’s on your list and if I can help, I will! And you never know who might be reading this post who might be able to do something to help you achieve the #1 item on your list…