Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My (revised) Bucket List

Almost a full year ago I checked off a bucket list item: SKYDIVE.  If you're curious, you can see the whole thing here:  Please note that I am about 50lbs lighter now than in the video.  Then again, the camera adds 10lbs, so maybe 60? (I know, I'm relentless). 

Oh yes, and as a side note (if you watch the video) I DID want to vomit when the chute opened.   I can totally handle falling towards earth like a giant pink squishy human cannon ball, but once the chute opened and we went in circles I honestly thought I would lose my lunch.

Taking a skydive was on MY bucket list, as well as my Dad's, though his unexpected passing at age 70 meant that he never took that jump.  So of course I did what every good, smart, SANE, thoughtful and safety-first daughter with two small children would do:  I did it for us both. 

I have some of his ashes in this little silver teddy bear and I tucked him in the pocket of my shoe where my Nike + chip normally goes.  And we jumped together.  And it was perfect.

Fast forward a year and while I worked on my bucket list (hard to top a death defying skydive but I was making an effort) this little thing called breast cancer was just growing, slowly, in my chest.  I had no idea.  I went about my business of adding cool stuff to my daredevil list:  ziplining, another skydive in Hawaii, parasailing, biplane ride, going on the scariest roller coaster ever invented and more.

All the while totally oblivious to the fact that in less than a year I'd be standing face to face with my own mortality in the most real and un-daredevil kind of way.  Ironic, in many ways.  I never once considered that I wouldn't survive the jump from the airplane. 

No, even after sitting through the 20 minute video where they told you all the risks and made sure their message was clear:  if you die during the jump, your family can't sue them because you're the dumbass that decided to jump from an airplane.  Never. Gave it. A thought.  I knew I'd survive.

Ironic that less than a year later, the one thing that made me think about my life and what I wanted and what I wished I'd done and never done was not a skydive, but a brush with death so close, so personal and so very real.  And at first, as happens to anyone in the same situation, I didn't think I'd survive this journey. 

But we, my family, with my husband and children by my side, WE stood up to this challenge.  Unlike that jump out of the airplane, with my family waiting below, this time we took the leap together.  And amazingly, when you face something so scary, so unbelievable, so death-defying with the ones you love, your bucket list starts to look a little bit different.

I crossed off so many things that I would have done alone.  I'm not going to jump out of an airplane again.  I'm not afraid.  Make no mistake.  I will never fear it.  I simply don't want to tempt fate a third time. 

I've kept a few things though like ziplining because we can do it as a family.  I kept the roller coaster on there because I MIGHT be able to convince my whole family to go with me.  I'll play the "I survived breast cancer card" as long as necessary to guilt them into stuff.  Just kidding. (mostly)

I added stuff too, like buy a camper so we can camp with the kids again, they love it and ask to go every summer.  I want to take the kids to Disneyland so they can see the new Cars thingy there.  Both kids just love those movies, and to be honest I do too.

I want to take my girl Kaylee to New York City, she is definitely my city mouse and I think she'd LOVE it there.  I want to go on an Alaskan Cruise with my family (my friends just got back and it looked like an incredible trip!).

Pretty much everything that's been added to my bucket list is something that doesn't require an additional rider on my life insurance policy.  If you know me well, you'll know that that is a GIGANTIC shift from the human being of a year ago, or even six months ago. 

No, to be honest, the only thing I want on my bucket list is time with the people I love the most, making memories and sharing adventures.

It's pretty lonely jumping out of an airplane.  But facing an uncertain future with my family by my side was the most I've ever felt the presence of those I love, including those I've lost, like my Dad. 

And I'll tell you this too: most people who have the chance, the opportunity, to face something like this and survive will have a different bucket list too. 

And I know, with 100% certainty as my Dad looked down from Heaven and watched me jump out of the airplane, he thought two things: what the hell is she thinking and that if he had it to do all over again, he'd simply spend more time with the ones he loved.

Life is your adventure.  Go find it.


CBinID said...

Amy, you're a freaking rock star. You go girl.

Marcio Yuri Fernandes said...

Hi! Making a visit to your blog. Cheers and congratulations for your channel.

LatteLover said...

OMG, I just got all "Tami" while reading. How'd I miss this post?! Beautiful, my friend. You have a way with words and a zest for life. And I'm so happy to be a part of your life!