Gratitude, Kindness and the Anti-Bucket List

Earlier this week, I wrote about my biggest money failure: my lack of kindness towards myself. As I wrote the post, I remembered a time before money had become a conflicted and somewhat tortured affair.

I remembered a time when I didn’t start to physically sweat as I approached the checkout line. (Super cute, I know). In fact, I used to be somewhat relaxed with money.

I was carefree in a way that feels impossible to reclaim once it’s gone.

But as I searched through my memory, I remembered a few things I had forgotten.

In between the stress and uncertainty, the tears and the late nights of worry during my final two years of college, I also had fun.

There were random dates at the local coffee shop with my sister, hilarious house parties with friends and trips to London (generously paid for by Alex) to spend time with my favorite person.

Life wasn’t all bad, and honestly, it never is. The best part about being alive is also the worst: we never stay the same emotional state for long. Our happiest days will eventually lead to our darkest nights and vice versa. Depending on the space you currently occupy, this can be tragic news or the happiest revelation.

We are in constant flux. Even when I was at my lowest in college, there were still moments of sheer bliss.

In recognition of all the beautiful moments I’ve been blessed with, it seemed like the perfect time to take Maggie from Northern Expenditure’s Fill the Bucket Challenge.

The premise of the challenge is simple: list a few blissful moments of your life that have already happened. The last part is key. Instead of looking forward towards the future like a traditional “bucket list,” the fill-the-bucket challenge is a moment of gratitude for the beautiful things that have already occurred. Here we go:

1. My 22nd Birthday Party…in VEGAS

 So lucky to have these people in my life
So lucky to have these people in my life

When I think back on this weekend, all I can do is smile. This was my first time in Vegas and I was surrounded by twelve of my favorite people (crammed into two hotel rooms to save money). They flew in and carpooled in from across the state to attend and it meant the world to me. It was BEST group of people and we had the BEST time. I won’t give away too many details in case it makes anyone (ahem, me) look too debaucherous but some of the highlights included:

1. A four-hour bottomless mimosa brunch at the Paris Hotel that was filled with deep conversations, funny jokes and a lot of love.
2. Riding the roller coaster with Alex in the middle of the night!
3. Finding the only gay club in the city and quickly realizing that it was the BEST club in the city (Seriously, check out Share if you’re ever in the area)
4. Being spoiled rotten by my best friends and partner


2. Moving in with Alex

 *heart eyes emoji*
*heart eyes emoji*

Moving in with Alex and finally ending our international long-distance relationship was one of the happiest and proudest days of my life. After dating between London and Los Angeles for nearly TWO YEARS, Alex packed six suitcases and headed for America. Not a day goes by that don’t remember that day and everything that Alex sacrificed so we could be together.


3. Living in Oklahoma for a Summer

 Spending time with my wonderful (and gorgeous!) mom
Spending time with my wonderful (and gorgeous!) mom

I’m not sure if this counts as an accomplishment or an event or something that kind of just happened (lol), but the summer before my senior year of college, I lived in a tiny town in Oklahoma with my mom, stepdad and little sister. I was a lifeguard at the local pool and it was AMAZING. The summer was filled with long sunny days by the pool, time with my family, Sonic milkshakes and (free) early morning Pilates classes. As someone who has lived in a big city for the last eight years, I was provided with a wonderful retreat from the hustle and bustle and three glorious months with my beautiful family.

When I think back on my final years of college through the lens of the Fill-The-Bucket Challenge, there are so many other beautiful moments that come to mind.

There are small moments that don’t seem to matter, but somehow do. Like the time I got my first $10,000 donation at my fundraising job and everyone clapped as my supervisor presented me with a huge bar of candy. There were the late night conversations with my friends and the evenings spent curled up with Alex in our first home together (the tiny studio apartment on a busy street that was much too small and much too old, but that we loved anyways because it was ours).

I know that the good memories will never erase the bad.

The laughter of friendship and the happiness of a first apartment somehow co-exist with the fear of being poor and the pain of losing my relationship with my father.

But when I look back at the time and tilt my head just right, I can see both—the good and the bad, side by side. It’s a reminder that life is both, but also neither.


Have you taken Maggie’s challenge? What’s on your list?


2 thoughts on “Gratitude, Kindness and the Anti-Bucket List

  1. Jaymee says:

    Aww such sweet moments and judging by the pictures, you look genuinely blissful!

    Thanks for this… Prompted me to think about my own “fill the bucket” moments :3


  2. ZJ Thorne says:

    My list is thankfully long. I competed (poorly) in an international sporting event. I have opened a business and learned how to run it. I asked out the beautiful woman who stole my ability to speak. I had an epic thirtieth birthday party with friends joining me from all over. I earned my professional degree. I hiked a mountain with my friend and her now fiance, and saw the beautiful valley below. And on and on.


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