( This Post was originally published on 09/05/13)
YOU NEVER KNOW YOUR IMPACT ON SOMEONE ELSE!
Back in February of 2013, I was lucky enough to meet group of great people from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Amoung this group of people was a young woman named Amy Larsen. Though she was full of spirit, she seemed to be struggling with her life. So I shared the story of my Bucket List Project with her. Then something remarkable happened…SHE ACTED! Within the next couple of months I would chat with her and she developed her own Bucket List. She decided to take control of her life and persue all of her dreams of travel, Personal Growth, and overall Living!
Back on August 17th, Amy gave a speech at a Young Adult “Seekers” retreat in Grand Teton National Park. Below is part of what she shared with the 22 Young adults who were in their mid 20’s to 40’s.
Excerpt from Amy Larsen’s Speech:
“On Jan 21st of this year my whole entire world forever changed. My grandparents had passed away in Sept and October, which has been a struggle as I was extremely close to them, plus my mom had passed way 10 years ago, so all that was left in her family now was her brother and her sister, who is developmentally disabled. On Jan 21st, my uncle passed away suddenly, which just left my aunt Kathy, a 63 year old- 6 year old. I had always been told that at some point I would be the guardian of Kathy, I just didn’t think it would be now and I certainly didn’t think I would be doing it on my own. My life was no longer my own and my decisions are no longer about just me, I have to consider her. Who is going to watch her while I am gone, does she have what she needs, how is she grieving loosing her entire family! Does she really need dog food? For the first time in her life she will be living on her own (in an independent retirement community), making decision about what she wants to do with her organization, and having to rely on me! The rest of her life she is looking to me to take care of her every need, and I am not going to lie it has been a little overwhelming. Both of us have had a steep learning curve! I know I have failed and succeeded, but we are somehow figuring this all out.
Loosing so much family so quickly, and gaining so much responsibility has caused me to re-evaluate what I thought was important in my life, what I truly wanted out of life. I knew something needed to change, life was too short. In Feb I had a chance meeting with what would become a new friend, and a mentor of sort. I met Eric and he had created a bucket list and was living it out! I became obsessed by this idea of a bucket list and have spent hours facebooking with him about it, making my list, trying to come up with 100 things, based on what was of value and importance to me. I no longer wanted to talk about living a life, I was going to do it! I wanted to have a real bucket list, one that I checked things off of, one that were my hopes and dreams, the things that would make me a better person. So with the help of Eric the bucket list was born, the planning began and items started to be checked off. I did my first 5K, I kayaked with the Orca Whales in the San Juan Island, I did an adventure race, I saw Les Miserable. These things are not just something to throw into a conversation, to “talk” about, to be trendy, to prove something to someone! This is me, doing what is important to me, living my life! My #1 item is in the works, The Camino de Santiago.
I made my new favorite quote “You don’t choose a life. You live one.” my motto! To date I have marked off some significant items. It has been fun to put my dreams on paper, work towards them and to date, have friends share in those bucket list items with me. It gives me purpose, something to work towards, something to accomplish, something to say “Yes! I lived.” Eric introduced me to actually “doing” life. He said to me one time “Its your story, make it worth the read.” How great of a statement is that!
Well, life has been crazy busy between work, play and family and at the beginning of August as my friends and I were driving up to the mountains to watch the meteor shower we got to talking about the “bucket list” and how right now it just feels weird not working towards something. Well, moments later we had what was probably the closest I have ever been to a near death experience. A truck was coming down the hill, in our lane! Mind you we were out in the middle of nowhere, so the only lights were those on our vehicles. As the truck was getting closer we realized he wasn’t moving over, didn’t slow down, just kept going. Thankfully the driver recognized what was going on, and with seconds to spare, was able to pull off the road. We all sat there in silence for a minute, and thanked him for saving our lives! Needless to say when we got to where we were watching the stars, just lying there between two of my close friends, the sky looked different, somehow more clear, that moment with them seemed more important than the things I wasn’t doing, or the work that needed to be done. When I got home, I pulled out my bucket list because to me, what had happened that night, was God reminding me to keep living, keep dreaming, and keep writing my story.
So I went back to my bucket list, started to pick out what my next check would be. It was then that I noticed a few things. I always thought the adventures, hopes and dreams were what was important to me, and they are, but what is more important is that almost all of my items involve someone else, they are all things I want to share with other people. The best part of my bucket list adventures so far has been sharing it with other people! I had put my hopes and dreams down on paper, held myself accountable and in between the lines spelled out how important being in relationship was to me. Not only do I want to write my incredible story, but I am excited to include the amazing characters that I will take and encounter along the way. “
~Amy Larsen is the Assistant Director of Pastoral Ministries at the Diocese of Cheyenne & she currently Lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming!