avatarAmber Dykstra


Updating the Bucket List I Wrote at 15

and why I feel accomplished at 30

How it began:

When I was about 15, I watched The Bucket List, you know, the one with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. After watching, I was inspired to write my own. Yes, it felt a bit morbid, even at the time, and I reflect on my 15 year old desires in my post here, and discuss things I have no intention of completing.

But here, I’m updating the list some 15 years later with what I have accomplished. I believe the markings in blue were marked off during my first year of college or so. What is in purple is what I have done since.

Updated in 2024 with none other than MS Paint. Classic.

What happened:

In the past few, okay not so few years, I have graduated college, gotten married, had children, bought a house. All things I’ve wanted to do since I was fifteen, and things many of my family members have accomplished. In between, I’ve also done things that I didn’t get to go do in my childhood that many take for granted.

I didn’t go fishing with my dad until college, even though I’ve lived in Florida my entire life. When I did, I caught a catfish and was too scared to touch it.

I did my epic road trip as some friends and I traveled from Florida to Manchester, Tennessee for the Bonnaroo Music Festival, and onward to North Carolina to the Whitewater Center Olympic Training Ground where I also got to zipline.

I went to a Cosplay Convention dressed as Katniss at the last minute.

I caught the bouquet at the wedding of a woman I didn’t get along with.

I got a passport for the first time and traveled across the world, visiting several other countries with my now husband.

I not only can run a mile, I’ve been coaching track at my middle school for nearly 5 years now. I never saw myself doing that, and absolutely love coaching long jumpers.

I pet a cow at the county fair just a few months ago with my son, who is obsessed with them.

All of these are things that may have happened anyway, but I was able to ensure they happened because I wrote them down and come back to it, either intentionally or unintentionally and feel obligated to check in with myself, even if I’m not entirely that same person I was at 15.

So what’s next?

In the next few years, I hope to increase my skills in Spanish, see the Olympics in person, and hopefully my backyard garden will grow enough to supply my growing boys with fruits and vegetables enough to stop breaking the bank.

I hope these boys like papayas because we'll be having them for a while.

And having kids makes it very easy to get to that 100,000 photo goal. Once I check my external hard-drive I’ll know how close I am for sure. My boys are also getting out of their “eating sand” phase so hopefully I can take them to help me complete some of those beach goals.

Not the pier one, I’m over that goal.

I’ve been documenting my family tree pretty well, but I hope to organize it in a way that makes it so others can decipher it. I eventually still want to go to the Netherlands, but also Wales since I’ve managed to trace distant relatives’ graves to church graveyards there.

I’ve been sewing and already have plans to make that dress. I recently bought the fabric for a “Nightmare Before Christmas,” Sally themed dress. I just need to find a simple enough pattern. Bucket List achievements rarely happen overnight. This one alone has been over a year of practice. I talk about learning to sew and things I’ve learned here.

If this comes out right, I'm going to have the perfect Halloween dress.

Also, in the future maybe my husband and I will take that romantic cruise sometime and take me to get my first tattoo. He was going to take me on that helicopter ride for my birthday, but I was far too pregnant last time to even want to leave my bed.

And, well, you’re reading this here so you know I’m working towards that author thing too.

Thank you for reading and your support!

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