Make your own future

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“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.” – Dalai Lama

Do you keep a diary?

If you don’t, I highly recommend it. I guarantee that the stuff you write about will blow your mind one day.

Reading a past entry is like looking at a snapshot of your past self. What happened this time last year? How did you feel about it? It’s fascinating, some of the things that you cared so much about that you would dedicate so many pages and so much of your time ranting about.

But now, you read back, and  you realise that the things that happened to you back then, that seemed like such a big deal at the time, don’t seem so big any more, do they?

That’s because everything changes with time. It’s the nature of impermanence.

2012, an epic year indeed

I choose to see it as a sign of growth. People tend to say that they’re the same person they’ve always been, but the truth is, everybody changes over time. Sure, there are a few things, like core values and beliefs that are difficult to change, but all the rest of you, your likes and dislikes, how you spend your time, they way you move or speak, your knowledge, and of course your appearance, are always changing.

In 2012, I did a lot of changing. I went from only being able to run 3 miles at the most to completing a half marathon in less than 2 hours. I went on retreat to southern France, where I learned more about life in a week than I did in my entire lifetime. I travelled around China, where I met new people, and together we ate, saw, learned and experienced so many new things. I somehow even managed to throw in learning a new language and how to swim properly, amongst many other things, big and small. This year was one of the most exciting years I have been lucky enough to have.

There’s still growing up to do, but before I die…

As another year passes by, I realise one more change. It happens every year, but many of us don’t seem to notice.

We have one less year left to live. 

There are still so many things I want to see, people to meet, relationships to deepen, skills to learn, goals to achieve, places to go, experiences to have, new things to try, it’s unbelievable how much I have yet to do.

It would be such a shame to let a moment go to waste.

Like a lot of people, I keep track of all of these things with a bucket list. It’s simple, if I keep it somewhere obvious and I see it almost every day, I will be reminded about the goals I’m aiming for, the things that really matter. Then, as I accomplish each one, I proudly draw a big black line through it.

For 2013, I have decided to publish my list. I have created a page to make myself publicly accountable for my lifetime goals. Hopefully, this will motivate me to get out there and just do it! Feel free to check it out The List.

Screw it, just do it

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln

Who knows what the future has to bring? The best thing you can do is take control of it yourself. Decide for your own what you want to happen, then make it happen.

I have been working on it for a few years now, and I’ve managed to cross off a few things already. Even so, the list keeps growing, and at a much faster rate than I can keep up with. Even if I can’t complete every single thing on the list, I wouldn’t mind, as long as I know that I’ve truly tried to. Some of the things will take a long time, years even, but as long as I keep in mind my reasons, I’m sure I can do it. Some of the things will take an immense amount of time, effort and courage, I hope I can live up to the challenge.


Nevertheless, I will never forget what an amazing year this has been. Both the good and bad things that have happened have made me a stronger and better person. I know that when I read back on my diary for the past twelve months, I’ll be happy to know that I have already experienced so much.

Thanks 2012 for being such an epic year, and here’s hoping 2013 will be even better!

  • May good health be your faithful companion, peace your guarded ally, and love your perpetual guide in the New Year!

  • Peter

    Hey Jessica, long time since you wrote here, I’m really glad that so many good things happened to you in 2012 and may they continue this year as well, Happy New Year! 🙂

  • Kelly Carlson

    I love, love, love your blog.
    I think you are very lucky to have discovered this lifestyle so early in life.
    Best of luck to you, I will continue to follow your posts.

  • thank you for sharing, jessica 🙂
    this makes me want to revisit my own list, which i started yeeears ago on 43 things:
    i’d love to chat about your list of english classics ~ do you have one written yet?
    xandra ★

    • Hey xandra, thanks for your comment! I checked out your list, it looks like we have a lot of things we want to do in common 🙂

      As for my list of English classics, it would be nice to have read most of Jane Austen’s work, as well as Shakespeare’s, and Dickens too. A little cliché, I know, but I read a BBC news article before about how a guy read 20-30 of Dicken’s novels in one year, and because of that, he was able to get an amazing insight into Victorian life. It would be nice to get into poetry as well, I have a very close friend who graduated in English Literature, I suggest you find someone like this, they are very good motivators and can suggest the best titles!

      I’m also very into Japanese literature, there have been so many Nobel prize for literature winners/nominations for Japanese writers, I’m looking forward to spending an entire summer getting stuck in 🙂

      Good luck with your list!

  • Carolyn

    Hi Jessica,

    I also keep a diary. I don’t get he Janice to write everyday, it’s more on a monthly basis, but I’ve been doing this for many years now, and it definitely does show how much I’ve changed, and I laugh at trivial things that I used to care so much about. I always analyze myself and how to become a better person and this definitely helps especially when I see that I have change in a positive way, and if it’s negative, I could make it positive.

    I love your bucket list. We share many things, and I actually learned something new: “zorbing.” That sounds so fun, definitely adding that to my bucket list.

    Great post as always, looking forward to the next one.

  • Len Inouie

    I keep a diary too.. too big back then seems small now. Anyway, I saw one of the things I wrote. I couldn’t even recognize the person who wrote it until I saw names and location and some details of what had happened in the past. How sad and terrible my situation was. Gosh! It is scary.. but I am glad that I made it. I am glad that I found you website.

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  • Lindsay

    Surely bucket lists and the search for experience is an attachment in itself. Further, irrespective of how lightly one travels, travelling on purpose for “experience” is just another desire one seeks to satisfy. Not to mention how “ungreen” international air travel is. Can you not find meaning in your own backyard?

    • Hi Linsay, thanks very much for your comment. You make some really good points, you’ve prompted me to write a blog post about this to clarify! Please see :

      Your comment really helped me to think more carefully about what I mean by making a list. Just to add, yes, I think that travelling in order to ‘experience’ something is indeed a desire that one seeks to satisfy. However, this kind of seeking can mean many things, and it’s not necessarily bad if what you seek is not to confirm your prejudices about a place (because then you will be disappointed) but to learn more about the world.

      I hope you find my newest post helpful in answering your questions 🙂