Accepting Defeat or Recognizing Greatness

Bucket List Collage

50 unbelievable items spanning 10 countries with extreme adventures and spectacular experiences; that’s my 2013 bucket list. In 11 months, I’ve accomplished great feats and pushed my limits past the edge. But… I have one item left on this year’s list that I’m not sure I’ll cross off. Should I accept defeat or recognize the greatness in my accomplishments? I choose greatness!

Here is my 2013 bucket list. (You can click on the links to read about my experiences):

1. Go on an African Safari
2. Move into our new home and finish decorating
3. Take Athena to swim with dolphins
4. Visit a new state (USA)
5. Visit Petra
6. Drive a NASCAR (Scheduled for November 17th)
7. Swim in the Dead Sea
8. Be in Ottawa on Canada Day
9. Do a manta ray night snorkel
10. Have an encounter with a new animal
11. Go on an all-inclusive family vacation
12. Attend NBA All-Star 2013
13. Go to Magic Mountain in New Brunswick
14. Try Snuba
15. Visit my family in Canada
16. Visit Dominican Republic
17. See an active volcano in Hawaii
18. Visit Jordan
19. Make a friend in another country
20. Do an off-road ATV adventure
21. Visit one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
22. Attend a NASCAR race
23. Visit Lazy 5 Ranch
24. Take Athena ice skating (We’ll do this in Charlotte when the rink is formed)
25. Spend a full morning relaxing
26. Visit Fundy Park in New Brunswick
27. Attend a ballet
28. Visit Discovery Place Kids
29. Stay at Grove Park Inn in Asheville
30. Swim in the Red Sea
31. Go to Hawaii
32. Go to Colorado
33. Take a class
34. Sleep under the stars 
35. Visit Curacao
36. Try skeet shooting
37. Find at least 5 new (to me) authors that I love
38. Ride a camel
39. Attend a press trip
40. Reach 20 million blog views
41. Visit Bermuda
42. Visit the Gulf side of Florida 
43. Have a spa day
44. Tour the World of Coca Cola
45. Do a CNN Studio Tour
46. Take Athena to a zoo
47. Visit Aruba
48. Visit Marseille, France
49. Windsurfing
50. Explore a cave

What’s left: Go on an African Safari

As much as I tried, I don’t think I will be going on an African Safari this year. It was my biggest goal for the year; I wanted it almost as much as all the other items combined but life happened and it continued to happen and I never got there. Should I be discouraged? Should I be disappointed? Part of me says. “YES. You set the goal; you should make it happen.” The other part of me says, “You are living your dream life and an African Safari will be part of that.” I created the list as inspiration, a way to strive harder to make the most of my life. I’ve done that this year. I have explored and discovered and grown in leaps and bounds. Life is more beautiful because of the list so I will not accept defeat because accomplishing 49 amazing, life-changing experiences in one year is far from defeat. It’s not about the items I tick off of my list; it’s about the daily reminder that my life is worth living.

I set my goals, I dream bigger than I ever thought possible, and I make every day count.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Share your bucket list dreams below. What’s on your list? 

105 thoughts on “Accepting Defeat or Recognizing Greatness

  1. Life is not set in concrete. I would not consider it ‘defeat’ to have to postpone one item on a list of fifty. Is that quote at the end from you or someone else?

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    • It is a Mark Twain quote. His name should appear at the end. 🙂

      With a child now, my goals have shifted slightly. I wasn’t such just how much I could cover in one year. While I’m extremely proud of all of my accomplishments, I will be able to better assess this year’s list. 🙂

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    • I am learning that the arrival is less important than the journey. In other words, I agree that recognizing “greatness in my accomplishments” is WAY healthier than regretting what I didn’t accomplish…yet.

      This website is a great place to remember that what is left on the to-do list is the foundation for the next bucket list!

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  2. What is on my bucket list? To have enough money to do even a tenth of what is on your list! Not accomplishing the safari in 2013 doesn’t make you a failure. It gives you something more to look forward to.

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      • I haven’t created one as yet but have read that so many people have one that I think maybe I need to start thinking about it. My number one would be – sitting on the river Ganges during sunrise, somewhere peaceful and not swapped with tourists. I would love to be there during a festival as well. Time to start thinking what else could be achieved…I think India is a few years off so I need to consider things that are achievable in 2014!

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  3. You’ve nicely restated the age-old question, is the glass half-full or half-empty. Only in your case, is the glass 98% full or 2% empty. Everyone can occasionally live in the “empty” camp, but 2% certainly doesn’t put you there. Enjoy the successes and keep adding, and accomplishing, the stretch goals.

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  4. Are you still going on the safari next year?
    Also I think it is a good thing to sometimes remember that no matter how hard we try, not everything always goes out way. But looking at your list Lesley… most things seem to. Have wonderful fun making your 2014 list and I’ll be looking out for it with interest. 🙂

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  5. First thing on my bucketlist would be to write a book. I’ve been told and I feel
    That i have what it takes, but I’m doing anything but acting upon that. If I write my book in 2014, I can die at peace.
    To you, congrats in your edtraordinary way of living your life. It’s a matter of choises and you chose well.
    Best wishes and best of luck with your projects!

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  6. You already know what the answer is…. all I can add is that only you can decide if you are a failure or a success… nobody else can decide that for you!

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  7. Awesome list, and I am glad you got to do most. I knocked off #1 and #2 on my list: Visit Komodo National Park and Machu Picchu.
    BTW, isn’t “visit Petra” and “visit one of the new 7 wonders” the same thing? I too love this list. I have been to 4/7 and 2/7 of the new 7 natural wonders.

    You inspire me a lot.

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  8. Has been fun this year watchin ya guys travel round an have the most fun ya could…
    all it takes is a few bucks huh LoL…My Bucket List is Big..Although My Pocket Book is Slim..So as a result i’ll jest fly round the rockies here this year,,,here an dere’ Keep on Keepin ON ! One day at a time me ladee…to u and urs have a great NO V Ember 🙂 … Q 🙂

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  9. Bucket list . . . first on the list is the same as yours: Safari in Africa. A short ten would be that Safari, 2. Publish the four books sitting on my desk, 3. Go back to Paris, 4. Buy a beach house for retirement so I can write in glorious peace, 5. Raft down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, 6. Swim with the dolphins in Bimini, 7. Visit Someplace in South America, 8. See the gorillas in their natural habitat, 9. Volunteer at an elephant camp, and 10. Drive a race car on a fast track.

    You’ve proven that bucket lists are do-able. You’re living the dream!

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  10. My view is that you were able to accomplish so much in so little time is incredible – I would call that winning. Heck, my bucket list could include going to the moon within a year. Would it be defeat that I couldn’t make it that year? I don’t know how you were able to afford all that you did… that would be first on my bucket list! Affording to do my bucket list!! ~SueBee

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  11. I would regard the African Safari as a strategic rescheduling. Africa has so much more to offer than the traditional canned experience if one can plan to take maximum benefit from the experiences. Just to mention one thing as an example, the ideal game-viewing vehicle is a horse …

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  12. Your blog is so inspirational. The amazing things that you have accomplished this year really are memories that you will remember forever! Congrats on making all those hopes and dreams come true in 2013. Best of luck with getting to go an African Safari…that is a trip of a lifetime!

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  13. Leslie, I can definitely relate to your contentment in travelling. It is such a big world out there and I believe we should discover as much of it as we can. I am happiest when I’m on the road experiencing something new. I would rather have less materialistic things in my life and more treasured memories of different places and interesting people. Driving a race car is on my list too, but I will wait to hear about your experience first. 🙂
    Congrats on making your dreams a reality!

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  14. Recognize Greatness!!
    You should be so proud to have inspired so many of us with your blog and yearly bucket lists. You were the first person to comment on my blog I started almost a year ago. I started with a simple bucket list of things I wanted to see before I moved away from Florida where I had lived for 25 years. Since your comment and after checking out your blog, you have inspired me to make my own travel bucket list. We made the move to another country (Finland) and my family and I have visited six countries this year!

    Looking forward to reading your 2014 Bucket List for some more inspiration next year! 🙂

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  15. I have been in this sort of limbo this past month or so of just going through the motions and this list makes me realize that I have let my last dark month run me into the ground – thank you for inspiring me to take the reigns back. I feel like I need to go do something, anything(!) right now to break out of this shell I have made for myself.

    Loving you always,
    Kiera

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  16. Wow your list is so inspiring and to think you completed almost all of it is amazing and a great achievement and one that you should cherish and be proud of. Life is for exploring, experiencing and enjoying and it sure sounds like you are doing just that! I have a saying; “Make this life the best story ever!” And I think your book would be a great read! Look forward to hearing about your next adventures. 🙂 p.s. if you get to do an African Safari next year, I definitely recommend the Masai Mara, I’ve been to several game parks in Africa and that is the best for seeing everything.

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  17. G’day! As the Eternal Optimist (one of the nicknames my friends call me), a frown is a smile inside out, true!
    What a Bucket List you set for yourself and I hope you can appreciate what you have accomplished in a short amount of time….life has its ebbs and flows and if it’s meant to be, one day you may be on your African Safari…hope you do…but everything in its own time and something not getting what one wants or accomplishing what wants to do is actually a blessing in disguise, but at the time, we all don’t know that! Cheers! Joanne

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  18. The mere fact that you have such an ambitious bucket list each year, and accomplish the vast majority of items, screams success. Everything happens for a reason. If African Safari does not happen this year, it will happen the next year or the one after that. Based on your track record, it’s obvious you will make it there when the time is right. Can’t wait to read all about it when you do! 🙂

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  19. You are definatley living this life wonderfully whether you have a list or not. You are not waiting for it to happen , you are making it happen , good on you. I have been too Africa many times, once you have been it is hard to resist going back again and again. Spend as much time as possible , Africa deserves it.
    Good Luck

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