Stock photo.

From the Editor: The Write Stuff

When I started brainstorming for this editor’s note, I wanted to share with all of you a snapshot of my bucket list. A glimpse into my hopes and dreams. But here’s the thing: I don’t have a bucket list.

Photo by Jordan Hefler

What I do have is a complicated relationship with writing things down. I always have.

It wasn’t until I started my job at inRegister that I was willing to write in pen, and that’s only because I felt silly using a pencil at a big-girl job. There has always been something about the permanence of using ink that has made me just a little bit—or more than a little bit—uncomfortable.

I remember when I got my first school planner in fourth grade. The excitement of such an important apparatus for record keeping was too much for me. I couldn’t settle on what “font” I should write in—curls on each letter or just hearts in place of the typical dots—and I was terrible at remembering to actually, you know, write things down.

I never wanted to make a mistake. I never wanted to have a lasting record of something that I had failed to do or just didn’t want to remember.

Now, as a mom, there are pages and pages that are unfilled in each of my sons’ baby books. And the reason I haven’t written in them haunts me daily: they are growing up. Writing down their milestones—while they are happy ones—makes me sad. Of course I want to remember the first food they ate, the first song they danced to, and that funny thing they said in the car. But jotting those things down outside of the Notes app on my phone makes my heart ache. It all feels so final.

Nowadays, paper is much less permanent than the internet. A wild concept for someone still so hung up on using an ink pen. But it’s true.

They say the internet is forever. But I can simply rip up a piece of paper and move on—even if it’s written in Sharpie. My younger self can’t imagine it.

This month, we’re taking a deep dive into bucket list trips, as defined by three local travel advisors: Kristin Diehl, Caitlin Stolzenthaler and Tiffany Ellis. Even for these seasoned professionals, though, divulging the once-in-a-lifetime adventures that occupy thier dreams was no simple task. And that brings me comfort.

Writing things down is hard, especially when those things are the experiences that will supposedly define your life. But maybe that is dramatic.

No trip will define your entire life. And no experience will either. I hope, anyway.

Bucket lists are fun. They push us to try new things, accomplish our dreams and reach for the stars—all that jazz. But they aren’t everything.

I am a firm believer in spontaneous adventures and finding joy in everything. But maybe that’s because I am unwilling to write anything down.

Feel free to email me with your suggestions for what I should put on my bucket list. I’m making a note on my phone right now. And maybe—just maybe—I’ll eventually write this list in ink.