Never too late for a bucket list

I never took the time to write out a bucket list.

Who needs a bucket list when you have a long list of things that HAVE to be done and take a few decades to accomplish?

To Do:
  • Finish university (check)
  • Get married to your high school sweetheart (check)
  • Help your husband realize his dream of overseas work; move to Armenia (check)
  • Get busy filling all the needs in Armenia- organizing, organizing and more organizing (check)
  • Have two kids (check)
  • Write a book about time in Armenia (check)
  • Help husband realize dream of starting a church in Estonia (check)
Suddenly, fifteen years slip by unnoticed.

During my final year in Armenia, someone asked me, "What do you LOVE to do?" 

I stood there for a minute, baffled, not even knowing how to answer. I had filled my life with so many things I had to do, I had lost touch with the things I enjoyed and dreamed of doing. As I sat there in silence, not even able to answer the simplest of questions, it suddenly became very clear:  I had a problem.

I came to a realization, and started to make some changes.  It could not be immediate, but little by little, I have turned the tide of my life. When I look back at this blog I wrote during that time of initiating transition, I can see how that clarity allowed me to welcome back the things I love most.

"If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?"

Until a year ago, I would have answered this question with things I thought were lofty and worthy.  Perhaps I would be a Harvard scholar, a professor, a CEO, a doctor, business-owner, an ambassador of world peace.

But, over this past year, I have been able to finally divide myself from a profession's prestige, earning power or holiness. I now know what I want to be:  a singer and a writer.  Yes, it certainly isn't the career a Mother Teresa, in her humility, would have chosen.  But, it's what makes my eyes light up, my disciplined work seem effortless, and it is what God created me to do.

The problem:  I am just now allowing myself to discover this at the age of 36.

I should have thrown myself into this career path when I was younger, more attractive, and more free.

After recently singing at a jazz lunch, an Estonian friend challenged me.  "You should try out for our version of 'American Idol.'"  I immediately said no and used my age as proof.

I replied, "Don't you have to be under 30 to even try for that competition?"

My good friend did a little research and discovered that I indeed was under the 75 year old age limit for "Estonian Idol," and encouraged me to reconsider.

So, on a cold January morning, full of jet lag and a bit of shame, I stood in line for the cameras as I waited my turn amidst the mass of teens and 20-somethings- to do something I always dreamed of.

It was scary.  It was fun.  I was the oldest one there.  And, it had been a good 15 years since I felt my heart nearly throb a hole in my neck as I stood in front of a panel of celebrity judges.

Despite being the oldest one there, I made it into the top 80 singers in the nation.  And then the door closed for me.  Perhaps I was too old or too developed; no longer "moldable."  I didn't have that young X factor.  And I was not Estonian.



Once I overcame the feeling of experiencing rejection on national TV, I remained so incredibly thankful for the experience.

I sat at my piano and sang daily as I prepped for the theater (Hollywood) round of the competition.  I dreamed of staging and even started to write a song to perform.

Nick even noticed the difference. "I haven't seen you be this excited and passionate in years."

And it felt so darn good.

So, although life is always filled with the things we HAVE to do, I have decided to spend the next two years also focusing on everything I LOVE to do as well.

Last week, I did a photo shoot with two very talented people:  photographer Oliver Rõõmus and make-up artist Janeli Kuusk.

Here is a preview of their work and the beginning of a website I am developing that is filled with things I LOVE and hope you love (at least a bit) too.


Writing.


Travel.


Music.


Food.


Exercise.


Giving Back.



I definitely have a few more wrinkles, pounds and responsibility than I did when I was young.  But, with every blemish came a lesson worthy of sharing and a piece of wisdom worth hanging on to.  

I just keep reminding myself and also encourage each of you 30-something, 40-something or 50-somethings out there of this truth:  it's never too late to follow the dream of who you are.

Never.  Ever.  You are bound to make the most impact in the world as WHO YOU ARE rather than who you should be.

So, what do you like to do?  What's on your bucket list?