According to a few non-scientific compilations, the most popular “bucket list” items (the iconic “to do before I die” concept) are:
Becoming a millionaire
Traveling the world
Writing a novel
Learning to speak another language
Going on an African Safari
Seeing all Seven Wonders of the World
Learning to play an instrument
These common themes reflect our collective desire to explore, learn, push our limits, and feel free.
But should you put skydiving on your comeback list and the idea of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane terrifies you like nothing else, you probably won’t ever cross that item off and, if you do, you may not find it as fulfilling as thrill seekers make it out to be.
Your comeback is personal. It’s about writing the highlights from your next chapter ahead of time, so that you can live intentionally.
When you create your Rockstar Comeback list, you must explore who you are, what life you want to live right now, and why.
It is the last place to consider others’ beliefs or judgments.
In fact, others’ beliefs and judgments are often the very reason we need a comeback.
We work hard, climb the ladder, earn more and more, and then spend it all and then some.
Too often the result of all that effort is living the same day on repeat, running as fast as possible to keep up with a life we aren’t even all that happy with.
Perhaps because that life doesn’t reflect our own unique desires, which we may or may not have even realized when we first set out on that path.
Recently, I spent the weekend in Austin, Texas with a friend. If you’ve ever been to Austin, you know that everything centers around Town Lake (or Ladybird Lake, depending on who you ask).
Naturally there is a trail/boardwalk that wraps around the lake and takes off in dozens of directions through the city and neighborhoods.
Being the amazing host my friend is, he planned for a bike ride tour…about 10-12 miles…with loads of runners, walkers and other cyclists to weave through and around.
I was immediately excited, but when he actually handed me the bike, I admit I got pretty nervous.
When I was a kid, I wasn’t traversing the neighborhood on a bike with all my cool friends. I was a pretty nerd who recited poems at child beauty pageants and loved taking tests at school.
The only bike memories I really have are of the tires being so flat and rotten every time I had a thought to go out with a friend for a ride that I promptly gave up and returned to whatever book I was reading or pestering my sister.
Flash forward 20 years.
I’m holding a bike that I am expected to successfully mount, start pedaling, and keep upright while not running into anything or anyone. A bit of anxiety ensued.
Of course, it turned out to be easier than I made out in my mind and I managed the entire route with only minor pedal-meet-shin injuries. All innocent bystanders were unharmed.
I loved the whole experience so much that when I returned home, I followed through on my goal and purchased my very own bike.
This time, the tires will never be flat (for long) and since I just moved to a neighborhood surrounding a small lake, I get to relive that initiation into the world of bicycles again and again.
Choose what makes YOU come alive.
Avoid the “sure I think I want to be able to say I did that before I die someday” mindset. Ignore what other people will think about your goals.
Your comeback is your story, authored by you, for you.
Bikes are pretty awesome, right? One year for our anniversary, I gave Mrs. Done by Forty a build-your-own-bike certificate, where we got to dig through the donated parts at our local bike co-op, and attach them to an old Schwinn Chicago frame with borrowed wrenches.
I’ll admit that my comeback story is somewhat ill defined right now. I feel like I may have adopted an early retirement plan that was possibly authored by someone else. I mean, I want to do something very different than traditional work, but I have to admit to myself that I’ve not yet given enough thought to what comes after. Deciding that you don’t want something is NOT the same as deciding what you want, unfortunately.
I love that you’ve been on a ‘do it our own way’ bend lately. It’s easy to get excited about someone else’s plan – harder to put into action – and even harder to then have the guts to tweak it to work for you. You’re basically self-actualizing 😉 Kind of like that awesome, unique bike that pulled parts from lots of other formerly awesome bikes.