With one month here, three others there and now deployment, my husband has been gone a lot this year. And what I've found while he's been gone is this important fact: military absence is the perfect time to try new things.
Sometimes these are things we don't really want to do. For example, I could've skipped giving birth alone and been totally fine with it.
Other times they are surprise challenges we can conquer. That's why I now know how to use our riding mower. And the weed whacker. And the drill. And the only dude who helped me figure them out was the little man inside the YouTube video.
And still other times they are things we want to do -- things we set out to do. Things we look at as ways to pass time while logging new experiences.
The idea of a Deployment Bucket List dawned on me one day this summer while using my new skill set to ride our mower in circles around our yard. If this city girl was awesome enough to figure out how to turn the stupid thing on, surely I could conquere a whole hill of things I always actually wanted to try, I thought. Surely I could use the time over deployment to not only learn new skills, but do things I've always wanted to do, but have always put off. It would make the time go by faster. And it would give me some amazing stories to tell later.
Deployment bucket list for the win.
And so for the last few months I've been thinking about how I want to do this. Should I preemptively make a list of goals? One a month? One a week? Or one every other month so I have space to add surprise opportunities that didn't make the first list? Should I laminate the list so it's set in stone (this is starting to sound like a Friend's episode), or should this be more fluid? (Can you tell I take lists very seriously?).
Deployment is looming on the horizon. But in a weird way I'm actually a little excited about it. My husband may be in Afghanistan, but I'm going to be back here learning cool new tricks and logging awesome new experiences.
Here are the things I've put on my list so far:
Take fencing lessons. Yes, fencing like sword fighting in The Princess Bride. It's just one of those things I've always wanted to try.
Run another Half Marathon. I've done one before. But it was lame. And no one was cheering on the course. I want to run a half marathon where a lot of people cheer and make me feel awesome for doing something so insanely crazy.
Pee outside. My husband is constantly nagging me to go camping. Not respectable in a camper camping, either. He wants to go walk a really long distance and then sleep on the ground. He wants me to go to the bathroom outside. In a hole. I, however, am not interested in doing this at all. It's even on my list of 100,000 reasons I'm not in the military. But I'm starting to think that this is not about anything other than that fact that going to the bathroom in the woods is waaaaaaaaaaay outside my comfort zone. So I'm going to find someone to go camping with while he is gone, and I'm going to pee outside. So there.
Go trapezing. I hate jumping off tall things. I am not interested in flying through the air like "that daring young man." Skydiving is a huge "no go" for me. But nonetheless I want to say that I've tried it once. Because wouldn't it be nice to start a story with "when I was flying on a trapeze last week ..." You see what I mean.
Attend a performance at the local symphony. I love Classical music. I do not love staying up late or driving far distances. I also do not love spending money. So, even though a matinee is a perfectly legitimate option, we never make it down to see a symphony performance. During deployment I'm going to fix that.
Do something artistic that I can display proudly. There are certain sections of my immediate family that are extremely talented when it comes to art. My grandmother designs and casts gold jewelry that would blow your mind. My sister draws art that should be hung in galleries. ... and I can barely draw a convincing stick figure. So I want to paint something beautiful for a change. I'm thinking one of those paint by number helper studios may be the place for me.
That's only six things. Six! I'm sure I'll think of more. In the meantime, what was on your deployment bucket list that I should adopt? And if you haven't made one yet, what will you put on it?