Wednesday, October 10, 2012

In which we learn to say YES.

Bonnie here, offering sincerest apologies for our little hiatus. I can assure you it’s not that we haven’t been doing anything worth writing about. It’s that we’ve been doing EVERYTHING that’s worth writing about. We have been having SO. MUCH. FUN.

Ok, we haven’t checked anything else off our bucket list but we did knock off another subway line (the jazz-immortalized A train), the details of which we will regale you with as soon as we finish out the other direction. For now, we just thought we’d give a little update on our lives since Project: Bucket List began.

On a work-related front, we did have one impressively barely successful brainstorming session to chart out a timeline for how we are going to accomplish everything on our list - I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s a pretty fierce list. So we got all down to business to roughly plot out the next 38 months of our lives. We even designated a special journal to chronicle these hilarious brainstorming sessions for our eventual book deal. DUH. Our special journal soon required a second, “back-up” journal that Chelsea whipped out because I was being too Type A with our designated one.

I wish you could have seen homegirl with the notebook - she was on some “my precious” ish. I should have known better than to bring crafts into our list. Shame on me, really. I realized “brainstorming” wouldn’t work in our special journal when my wife started straight up abusing herself after making one penmanship mistake in there. After 15 minutes of patiently waiting for the opportunity to throw an idea on the table during our “brainstorm”, to no avail (“Just give me a second - I’m counting the lines to make sure the pages even out” - I KID YOU NOT - THAT WAS ACTUALLY SAID!!!), I started the junk journal.

I would normally stick up for myself here and accuse my wife of exaggerating (as she’s wont to do for the betterment of a good story) but she’s pretty spot on with this one. I was being a CRAZY PERSON. Eventually, however, as with most of our “business meetings”, the night kind of turned into giggling, geeking out on each other, and reflecting on our new endeavor over a bowl of our homemade popcorn. We both agree that the changes in ourselves and in our lives since we started the bucket list have been pretty monumental. Sure, it started with the bucket list, but it’s become more than that.

Yes, we’ve been changing. In the best way. We’re a little bit happier; more excitable. We’re a little bit more alive and we’re a hell of a lot more willing to say “yes.” Yes to everything: yes to a weekend music festival in the Catskills, yes to a last minute Mets game, yes to an invitation to Freehold, NJ to stay with a wonderful family, yes to benefit concerts, rooftop parties, cooking live lobster for the first time, birthday celebrations, dance parties, book clubs filled with new friends, jam sessions with experienced musicians . . . yes to wearing fake pearls while watching Fred Astaire films, just because our prized journal told us to. 

Put on your pearls and start a YES REVOLUTION!
It’s simple. All we had to do was just “yes,” follow through, and watch a world of opportunities open up to us. A world of new friends and experiences and places and music. We merely had to learn to be game for everything. It reminds me of a lyric from the song “I Wanna Do it All” by Terri Clark (which is an AWESOME bucket list inspired song, by the way!): I want to drink tequila down in Tijuana, and say “why not?” when somebody says “Hey do you wanna?” I just think this is the most perfectly apt way to describe how easy it is to say “yes” rather than making excuses not to. By the way, readers, you’ll be happy to know that I can totally feel myself being annoying with all this self-congratulatory yes-talk. It’s not really like me, speaking in motivational speaker-esque soliloquy and bragging a mere 2 months into what promises to be a long and trying journey. I’ll admit it’s a ballsy move, but the truth is, I haven’t felt this good in a long time, and I want to record this inspiration, even if my excitement is but fleeting. I challenge you all to hold me to it! 

The truth is, after our trip went bust last summer, we both just got a little down. I had been having a really hard time transitioning back to life in the US (and in Los Angeles of all places...yikes) after my two years in Ethiopia, struggling to heal from a lost love, and feeling a bit uneasy about my future, my ambitions, and my identity now that I was no longer a Peace Corps volunteer. This trip was that major something to look forward to, to be excited about, to be my next adventure. And I was doing it with my best friend. Those three weeks (even, yes, the last shitty one in Albuquerque) were some of the best I had had in a long time.

When the trip fell apart, it was a bigger blow than I think even we realized. I was uplifted to move back to New York City soon after the trip ended but eventually just kind of slipped back into regular life. I got an apartment, went back to the job I had right out of college (at the same desk, no less), and before I knew it, I could no longer really say that I “just got back from the Peace Corps.” Over a year had gone by and I just felt stuck.

I held onto the trip because I was afraid - afraid of growing up and settling down. Afraid of getting a “real” job. Afraid of becoming boring or predictable . . . or being, fear of all fears, tied down. Anchored. Trapped. Call it what you will. Graduation from law school meant indentured servitude. After nearly a decade of roaming wherever, and whenever I wanted to on a loose school schedule, permanent employment loomed over my head with furor. I was not ready to accept adult life. Nor was I ready to face an unforgiving job market.

But as it turns out, adult life isn’t so bad. Getting a paycheck feels better than getting loan checks to live off of, especially when you envision that the little money you’re living on in school will one day become crushing debt you can hardly peek your head around later. And I’m lucky enough to have a job that I geek out over on a daily basis. Plus the adventures are hardly over - and now we can even afford them! Sure, working life takes more planning than “I have a 4 week break from school - where am I going?!” But the reward is also so much sweeter. In the early summer, when we spent two and a half weeks in Puerto Rico (one of the weirdest and most beautiful places on earth, by the way), I felt the most calming sense of a trip well-earned. I have to be honest, I didn’t hate it, even though it did all feel very adult. I guess with becoming an adult comes accepting adulthood? Who knew? Definitely not me!

Anyway, enough about all of these FEELINGS, amirite? On the to list! We’re busy tackling several list-related projects -- banding, paying down our credit card debt, and taking subway excursions. But... the biggest announcement of all is that TODAY, WE KNOCK ANOTHER ITEM OFF OUR LIST -- WE HAVE TICKETS TO THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART!! We are super, super excited about this development and can’t wait to share the day with you all. Expect another post from us soon.

And hey, don’t be afraid to push us if you notice us on a hiatus. We do it for our people, after all!

Much love, friends.


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