The Year 2020 Vs. The Bucket List

Last Winter season, during February 2020, I sent out a post titled “What is on Your Equestrian Bucket List?”. Read the original post at

As someone whose life has taken a number of unexpected twists and turns, I am slowly learning to not attach my sense of happiness to particular outcomes. What happens when I’m TOO hooked on an imagined ending and then arrive at a different real-life ending? This scenario often leads to my getting stuck in a lot of self-recrimination and regret if I don’t hit the exact target. On the other hand, I am pretty goal oriented. I do like to have things to strive for.

I now try to maintain a better balance regarding my drive to meet certain goals. I want to orchestrate them as a guide to help orient me to the general direction of my life, remembering to enjoy the ride along the way, without getting super narrow about the exact destination. The following quote summaries this outlook.

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

Ursula K. Leguin

So when I started this blog in January 2020, I chose not to include a list of specific resolutions tied to 2020. Instead, I included a bucket list of things with no particular time frame for completion. I did end up doing one of the six listed items in 2020. I rode in a couple of walk-trot classes at a “lesson horse only” schooling show earlier this month. But since I’d like to eventually take Shiloh to a local show, too, I am leaving horse showing on my bucket list for future use.

Considering how the pandemic narrowed options for most of us, I feel fortunate to have stayed healthy and stayed regularly in the saddle in 2020 even without completing more bucket list items. I find it interesting that at the end of 2019, I remember really looking forward to 2020. Here’s a quote from my original bucket list post

“… 2020 seems like a great year to try something new or reach for a long-held goal. Those round, even numbers just roll off the tongue when you say them. The numbers call to me somehow. It’s like 2020 wants to be featured prominently as part of my life story.”

As it turns out, 2020 was a difficult year to navigate with the pandemic. Watching people absorb change and loss on a mass scale is daunting. The death toll is enormous. The changes to the economy have real-life repercussions.

Against this backdrop, 2020 on the whole was oddly a good year for me personally for a few reasons:

-My husband no longer works in a different State (read this post if you want the skinny on that story).

– I finally started to make some good riding progress with Shiloh and also completed ten trailer trips off the property.

-Bear, at twenty-five years old with PPID, EMS and arthritis, had a remarkably good year. No emergency vet visits for him in a little over two years now.

So, long story short, my equestrian bucket list still stands as is:

*Ride in a parade
*Ride in a horse fair/expo demo
*Try a “new to me” discipline like maybe endurance riding, mounted archery or jousting
*Adopt another horse
*Work cattle from horseback again
*Ride in a horse show again

Life is both precious and precarious, whether during a pandemic or not. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. And yet some future consideration is warranted in case we do stick around longer than today. May we all learn to find that ideal balance of living fully in each moment today while working towards tomorrow’s goals.