Live Your Life With Arms Wide Open


Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words
That you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin

No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips

Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
To the years where your book begins
Feel the rain on your skin

No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips

-Lyrics from “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield

IMG_1029Marissa, my oldest daughter, inspires me. I think of her outlook on life a lot these days as I approach a transition point in my life where my kids will be moving on and out. She approaches life with an uncommon zest and enthusiasm as well as an unconquerable spirit which motivates me to live in a similar way. With the second part of my life beginning soon, I hope to imitate her lively, can-do outlook on life.

Marissa has a rather lengthy bucket list which includes items such as sky diving, visiting all of the continents, participating in a humanitarian mission, going on a safari, hiking to Machu Picchu, and about 300 other things. One of her greatest fears is that she will be a person who talks about all the things she wants to do, but never actually does them. Well, no need to worry there; here is where Marissa really shines.

Being a college student, Marissa is broke. Crossing items off of a bucket list typically costs money so she works multiple jobs and saves every penny to afford this. Spending money for things not on her list literally brings her pain. When she had to buy a new laptop, fat tears rolled down her cheeks as she was making the purchase. Some of her jobs have included nannying, hostessing at a restaurant, cleaning beds at a tanning salon, and telemarketer.

IMG_1033With the money she earned from these jobs, Marissa was able to start knocking items off of her bucket list. After her freshman year in college Marissa went skydiving. She was able to finance a semester abroad in Switzerland her junior year. She also traveled to Kenya where she went on a land and water safari as well as participated in a humanitarian mission. This May, Marissa will travel to Peru where she will go white water rafting, zip line through a jungle and hike to Machu Picchu. Then, she will start all over again, building up her savings and planning out what’s next. The sense of accomplishment Marissa feels over paving her own way and making things happen is very empowering to her. It is certainly empowering for me to watch!

IMG_0987My plan for my up and coming kids-out-of-the-house-future is to follow in Marissa’s footsteps by living life with her no-excuses, anything is possible, live like there’s no tomorrow attitude. Checking things off of my own bucket list regularly will be part of my strategy. Items on my bucket list include: visiting a working Amish farm, hiking along the coastal cliffs in Hawaii, visiting Auschwitz or Dachau, cross country skiing, white water rafting, trips to India, Greece, and Africa, visiting all of the National Parks, seeing/hiking the Rocky Mountains, becoming a USO volunteer…to name a few.

Whenever I feel “stuck” in my own life, I just think of Marissa. It is certainly hard to make any excuses when I see how much my tenacious 21 year old has accomplished and the lengths to which she will go to make her own dreams come true.

31 thoughts on “Live Your Life With Arms Wide Open

  1. There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than witnessing my daughters’ accomplishments and watching them achieve their dreams. I am so glad you are experiencing the same. We learn so much from our children, don’t we? My bucket list also includes extensive traveling, now I just have to wait until my husband retires so I can start checking destinations off of the list! 🙂

  2. She is lucky that she knows what is important at such a young age. Many of us were so tied into education, marriage and family that we came second. Congrats to spreading your wings now! We definitely are on the same page!

    • I hear you! I got married when I was 23 and started having children soon after. It didn’t occur to me at the time how tied down I would be once I got married and started a family. I can’t say that I would change it, but I am ready to go out and explore!!

  3. I’m also inspired by my kids. I’ve had to actively push myself out of my comfort zone over the last few years, and I’ve checked some things off my bucket list and added a few more. It’s so easy to get in a rut as we age, but I find myself rediscovering little bits of the person I used to be.
    Your daughter sounds like an amazing person. But I’m sure her parents get some of the credit for that 😉

    • A lot of the time I don’t even remember who I used to be!! Sometimes I try to write about it, but not much comes to mind. I think I was very undefined at my daughter’s age which is one reason it makes me so happy to see Marissa’s sharp focus on what is important to her as well as her boundless energy in pursuing those things.

  4. Ah to be 21 again! Would I do it differently if I got the chance to do it all again? Undoubtedly.

    Listening to your children’s dreams and knowing that they will go out into the world and live them is one of the best thing about parenting (honestly we wouldn’t be living here in Turkey if it wasn’t for Daughter, after all it was her idea). Your daughter will no doubt do it all.

  5. She sounds amazing! I’ve always wished I was a little more like that- sometimes I pretend I am, but it’s not in my bones like it is for her. Good for her.

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