First Drop in the Bucket

Each journey begins with an idea, followed by the hardest part: the initial step.  Last year, I sat down and officially penned all of the things that I’ve always wanted to do and have never done.  Some are hard, some are easy; some are play, others are work; some will take hours and others years. Many people have bucket lists that are filled with extravagant things like “skydiving” or “climbing Mt. Everest” or “sailing the Riviera.”  Not me though.  Nope.  I expect to one day try those things (okay, maybe only sky diving) but none of them really resonate. And now that I am drawing ever closer to the magic 3-0, I figure I need to let go of my “I’ll do it when I have time” excuse and just go for it.

This whole idea for a bucket list came about a four years ago.  Ethan’s cousin and uncle came to Lancaster to run a half marathon.  The night before the race, we had dinner together and knowing that I enjoy running, they suggested that I run in the race as well.

“I’ve never run that far before,” I said, and added, “and I don’t know if I could.”  And good grief, I thought, I had only just started running in the daytime where people could actually see me (gasp); red-faced and asthmatic, I preferred to run under the cover of darkness.

By the end of dinner, my unconvincing excuses had run out and I felt that familiar heart-pounding sensation that meant, I would do it–even if I made a total fool out of myself.  I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. The last time I had taken such a risk, I agreed to dating Ethan and we all know how that ended…yep, one of the best decisions of my life 🙂  So, with my usual apologetic preamble for the likelihood of impending failure, I said yes.

What happened?  Well, I ran it, loved it, didn’t die, and continued to run a half marathon every year afterward: even last year while having a really bad bout of mono and mono-induced arthritis–which is a terrible(!!!) idea if anyone is wondering. (If your fever is trying to outrun you and all of your joints are throbbing, stay home.)

That first race was my first (literal) step in knowing that old ideas of who I was were just that, old, stale and inaccurate.  Since then, a few other things have been crossed off my list: play on a softball team (go Wetsox!), traveled to Russia, went horseback riding, and a few others.

That leads me to this week.  I signed up for a class in creative writing.  I am very excited about it and also a little nervous. This is the first step in crossing off one of the most important items on my bucket list: to write at least 2 books; one about growing up with a parent with BPD, and a fictional book filled with the stories that I used to tell my younger brothers every night before bed.   And although you may be tisk, tisking your way through my little blog post, thinking, “this poor misled child,” know that I’m okay with that.

I’ve enjoyed writing since second grade when I made my first journal in GA’s (that’s Girls in Action for ye non-Southern Baptists). Back then, I was an atrocious speller, struggled in reading, and made the decision to call my diary a journal because diary sounded too feminine and I didn’t know if diary was spelled D-A-I-R-Y or D-I-A-R-Y.  I’ve come a long way since then, but I don’t want to just write for myself anymore. In college,  I had a little blog on Xanga (the in-thing before the Facebook lightning bolt struck and obliterated any form of competition).  For the first time, I got to share some of my random stories and I realized how much I loved it and how much a part of me writing was.

My point is summed up best by something that God brought to mind the other day, “By the grace given you…take the first step in being all that I’ve created you to be and don’t be afraid.  You were given My grace and My grace is perfect.”  I encourage you, if there’s something that you keep putting off as I have, to just go for it, or as Ethan says, “Dream Dangerously.”


  1. Nice looking blog, Anna. I just bought my own domain and am attempting to try to transfer my blogspot posts over. (If I can figure out how to create a decent design like this one). Incidentally, went skydiving for the first time this week and it was awesome! #bucketlist

    • Thanks! I’m still tweaking and working on transferring old stuff over, but its enjoyable “work.” Best of luck on your own site.

  2. Anne Hockenberry says

    I would definitely read those book! Hurry up and write them – my pile of books to read is diminishing.

  3. Susanna Futato says

    I had to smile while reading your post, Anna, because I had the same experience (“diary v. dairy,” “diary v. journal”) when I started journalling at age ten or eleven. I still have those old journals and continue to journal to this day. I often think writing – no matter how quietly, no matter how mundane the topic – is what keeps me sane 🙂 Looking forward to hearing more about the fulfillment of your own writing ambitions!

  4. Love your writing!!! I believe your mom had this gift as well…

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