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A year ago today I lost the most important person in the world to me. I wasn’t sure if I’d want to mark the anniversary, because every day is marked. Every day I think of him. I find comfort in nurturing the parts of me that were also part of him. In the wise words of a cartoon, “I am only gone from myself, not from you.” Our relationship continues.

The anniversary feels like a turning point, though. One where I need to look forward more, inward more, avoid as much as I can the numbness of grief and be more deliberate about what I want from life. He’s always going to be part of me so the best way I can honour him is to be me.

I don’t like the term bucket list or its implication. I’m too adaptable to circumstance and open to random opportunity to believe there are things I must do before I die, and I don’t believe death should be the impetus for action — life should be. I’m not much for grand gestures or needing a constant adrenaline rush, so much of what living fully means to me seems too light to carry all that weight of MUST DO BEFORE I DIE.

But that’s semantics. I do have, floating in my head, a changeable list of things I’ve long wanted to do or see. Today it’s time to pin those things down in literal form — like, Excel spreadsheet form — mull over whether they’re really my priorities or just things that once appealed to me or sounded like they should, and deliberately work on making them happen, re-evaluating as time goes on.

I won’t share all of this literal not-a-bucket-list publicly, but here’s some examples:

  • Improve my Spanish again, starting with taking a conversational course in the coming year
  • Find a place soon to regularly practice yoga that doesn’t namaste or Lululemon me to eyerolling death
  • Travel more. Possibilities in the next 5 years or so: Turkey, hopping across Europe, Galapagos, Haida Gwaii, New Orleans, Newfoundland, whatever comes up
  • Write for pleasure every day, no matter how little or how unshareable
  • Take a helicopter ride

You can hold me to these actions … but you’ll notice I gave myself the re-evaluate card as an out. I wouldn’t be fully me if my list of what fills my bucket didn’t include doubt about its permanence.