My mother had died at 49. I was 25, the oldest of 4. My sister was the youngest at 16. My mother was ill but still a fighter. She wanted to write a book, she wanted to make a quilt, and she wanted to drive around the country with my Dad in a huge cross-country van when the kids were out of the house. My Mom died when she was still busy raising children. She never got the chance to grow old or tackle her bucket list. However, my mother left me a gift. The gift was being aware that I didn’t want to die without doing something (s) on my own bucket list.
For most of my life I was good at doing what was expected of me. I was a good student, an achiever, and tried not to rock the boat. After I became a Mom I was the best Mom I knew how to be. I supported and drove and organized and bought and cooked. At 46 I found myself with children almost fully grown. I felt “freedom” on the horizon. So I did what any middle-aged woman paranoid she might die early like her Mom did; I got out my bucket list.
Before I tell you what I did I need to go back a few years. I started with violin in 5th grade, went onto piano, clarinet, and finally hand bells. I have played an instrument most of my life. I love music. I became a pompon girl in high school and then also in college. I love dancing. From this love of music and dance I learned that I could stand in front of people and be dramatic and be seen. It was awesome.
So what was first on my bucket list? I took a ballroom dance lesson. I put on a dress for the first time in years. I brought shoes with a strap so they wouldn’t fall off when I was moving around. I was scared out of my mind but the studio was close to my home and the people that went in and out of the studio always looked so happy. And I always wanted to know how to ballroom dance.
It has been 6 years and I haven’t looked back once. Stepping into the dance studio was a big deal for me. It was indulgent. I was admitting that I liked attention, and glittery clothes, and was a bit un-traditional. However, I felt like I was going home – to myself. I competed in my first ballroom dance competition at the age of 49 on the anniversary of the day my Mom died -at the age my mom died. I like to think she looked down and smiled.
I started doing Intuitive Eating a few years later. I suppose it was part of my transformation of starting to listen to what I wanted and needed. Dancing requires you to be present and in your body and so does Intuitive Eating. Intuitive Eating asks you to listen to your body for hunger and fullness. It also asks you to meet your needs. Intuitive Eating also encourages joy in movement. Dancing easily met that step. Dancing and Intuitive Eating were part of my transformation into a person who listens to her needs, accepts them, and meets them as best she can. Thanks Mom.
What’s on your bucket list?
Intuitive Eating is a program developed by Elvelyn Tribole, MS, RD, and Elyse Resch , MS, RD, FADA, CEDRD. Intuitiveeating.com
Sarah Gold is an intuitive eater, dietitian, chocolate lover, and dog lover,