I love making lists. To do lists. Things to buy list. New gear. Places to go. Things to do.
But my favorite kind of lists? Bucket lists. Life lists. The lists of things that I hope to do in my life. They range from the practical (sort of) to the absurd. From building a cob house to trekking in Mongolia. From having a fantastic wedding weekend party with all my friends and family to climbing a 7000 meter peak. Yes, many of them are outdoor related. Many of them include mountains.
Making the list is super fun. It allows me to dream and think about what I really want in life. It helps me narrow the focus (even if the list is as varied as having a garden to learning how to make a good loaf of bread to living in a foreign country for a year). When I read back over the list (and I have been adding and modifying it for years), I see patterns and it helps me to make decisions.
But, you know what is really fun? Checking things off the list! That is amazing.
#7. Trekking in the Himalayas. Check.
#15. Take a year off to travel. Check.
Incidentally, the other day when I told someone about what I was doing this year, he responded ‘living’ the dream, huh?’. Yup, yes I am, I responded, grinning. (and this was coming from a guy who is an athlete for sierra designs and runs his own guiding company).
Being able to actually do what is on my bucket list is a true gift. I know that. I am aware of that and feel blessed and lucky. I AM livin’ the dream. But what happens when you try for your bucket list and fail?
Aconcagua has been on my list for years. Ever since I first started climbing mountains in Oregon 10 years ago, Aconcagua has been on my list. I remember when I took my mountaineering course, hearing tales of Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America, I thought… I want to do that. A large part of this year, the planning and scheduling of it, was based off of climbing Aconcagua. I wanted that summit. Maybe too much.
So, what happens when you try and you fail?
I have had my fair share of frustrations, missed opportunities, disappointments. Jobs, relationships, friends, students, men, plans, etc. The list can go on and on, right? We all have. But it is what we do with those disappointments, how close we hold on to them. How much we regret them. How much we second guess those ‘red-button’ decisions, those decisions that decide the fate of your dreams.
So, no. We did not make it to the summit. Aconcagua does not get to be checked off my bucket list. Today I am sitting with my disappointment, waiting for it to dissipate. Working on letting go and adding it back to the bucket list and letting that be ok.
Trip report is coming. I promise!