Guest Post: Penelope of Penelope’s Oasis, on Her New Bucket List

guzman lede

An oasis is a spot in a desert where water is found.

It’s a respite, a lifesaver. It’s sometimes a mirage, though, a spot in desolation you see hope, but it’s only fleeting. For today’s guest poster, it’s anything but a mirage. Penelope Guzman writes the blog Penelope’s Oasis, and it really is a place for beautiful things.

(Que YouTube video of “Wonderwall.”)

Today, Penelope is here on the CD to share a story about a letter she wrote to herself when she was 16.

On her blog, she tells of the oasis she strives to create for her family, a spot to find safety, happiness and love. She quotes James Faust’s words: “A woman can have it all, sequentially.” As a pharmacist/writer/photographer/mom, she lives it all.

Please give Penelope a warm welcome, and be sure to visit her place, too.

photo credit: Envelope via photopin (license)
photo credit: Envelope via photopin (license)

When I was 16 I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish in my life, folded it up into an envelope and sealed it to open up again one day and see how much of it I accomplished. I put it away somewhere and didn’t think about it again, and eventually forgot it.

A few years later I made a Life Bucket List of things I wanted to accomplish in my life at any time, 100 items, and kept it readily visible. By the time I was 25 I completed everything on it- I went to Egypt, bought my own place (a one bedroom condo) and car (a Toyota Camry I still drive today), ran in a marathon, learned a third language, and much more. I found myself depressed that a lifetime of goals was completed by the time I was 25, and I felt like I had nothing left to look forward to. I tried to write a second Bucket List, but there wasn’t 100 big things I wanted to do left. I came up with about 20-something, and didn’t find myself very motivated because it wasn’t a complete list.

A few years later I met my husband, got married, had two sons, and we bought a home that had more than one bedroom to house our larger family. I was cleaning out my stuff to pack it all up and move into a home, when I came upon the list I created as a teenager of 16. I tore open the envelope and found a list written in juvenile scripty handwriting with hearts dotting the i’s. I was very amused to see what my 16 year old self had as life goals, and was shocked that the time table I had for these goals- buy a car by 22, a home by 25, get married after 28 but have all my children before 35, were all exactly as things happened. I’m a strong believer in the power of conjuring up a life we want just by focusing on it and being open to possibilities that can make it happen, but some things you really can’t control, like having two boys. I had that on the list. My 16 year old self wanted to have two boys, and I did.

After you get married and have children, you definitely find a lot of what you want sort of put on the back burner. I was so happy to have two healthy, beautiful creatures that were mine that I really devoted myself to being a good mom, and would remind myself that one day, they wouldn’t be around so much, so to enjoy every moment. My sons are starting school now, and I actually have been finding myself with free time again, but it’s in bits and pieces and sort of fritters past, wasted. I was recently chatting with Eli, who asked me what I’d do to change my stars this January, and I knew it was to organize myself to make time to finally get back to two things I love: photography and travel. What is really incredible is that having a family doesn’t hinder them, and they can be included in both.

I feel like this is my year to really get back to the things I love, and big things are going to happen. I told Eli this. What I didn’t tell him is that after we spoke, I was inspired to sit down and write another Life Bucket List. I easily came up with 100 new things I never did and want to do. Many include my family, and many do not, but either way. I can’t wait to get started.

What’s one thing on your bucket list?

bucket list quotes


40 thoughts on “Guest Post: Penelope of Penelope’s Oasis, on Her New Bucket List

  1. Wishing you tons of luck with this your latest bucket list and I admit I am not sure what kind of letter my own 16 year old self would have written, but am pretty sure it would be highly entertaining to see if I did unearth something like this.

  2. Bless… what a lovely post! I’m pretty sure my 16-year-old self had no such lofty or sensible goals. Her list would have read more like, grow another 3 inches so you don’t look so darned average (because WILLING it to happen will surely make it happen – haha!), move to New York, stay single, never marry, never have kids, star in a Broadway Musical, sing a duet with Barbra Streisand before you’re 30, and play Carnegie Hall at least once in your life.

    So here I am at 49, married 30 years, a mother, a grandmother, living on a farm in England with chickens and all manner of wildlife on my doorstep, never more happy in my life.

    What did 16-year-old me know, anyway? πŸ™‚

  3. Oh what a fascinating post Penelope! Although these days I often write letters to the future me, I never did it when I was younger. What a treasure to peek back into your adolescent mind AND see what an amazing manifesting master you became. And I love that you’re found current inspiration and created another bucket list – how expansive and wonderful is that?! I’ve never done a bucket list, but recently I’ve become very enamored of Iceland and I’d definitely put a visit there on my list. Here’s to having a fabulous time crossing items off your new list.

    1. I love that you are doing this now! I actually save things my sons do because one day I want to gift them to their children…not only is what we did interesting to us years later, but imagine how interesting it would be to see how our parents thought in their youth and teens! It’s fun πŸ™‚

  4. Wow! I’m also a strong believer in the power of conjuring up a life we want just by focusing on it and being open to possibilities that can make it happen. I have always had the strangest intuitions with wanting people, places and things who were not quite ready for me.. until they were. I’d share some of those stories but I just submitted some to a book so I can’t yet!
    I’m glad you found 100 more. May you always find 100 things to dream about.
    Photography and travel are at the top of my list and I’m two years into a photography business right now.
    The traveling will happen. I think.
    I also said I wanted two daughters and a son. I have a son and a daughter. Yikes!

  5. Wow, I am stunned about all the facts that were on your teenager list that turned out exactly as you wished for. Then you went and achieved 100 things on your before 25 list! How on earth do you do that?

    I am not a long-term goal person, OK, I am not a goal setting person, period. Maybe I should make a goal to make goals?

    I do love your new big passions, especially as they go hand in hand. All the pics you can take on your travels πŸ™‚

    Did you know there is a website that lets you write to your future self?

    1. That is really cool! I’ve never tried writing to my future self, but when I write down a goal, I notice I’m very aware of opportunities that arise that can make it happen…so of course, I’m a HUGE list person, to do lists everywhere, it’s always kept me on track πŸ™‚

      1. technically, we are 10 degrees (in the minus!) colder than Anchorage, Alaska at this very minute. Gosh — it would be like going on a balmy holiday!! πŸ™‚

      2. Some parts are actually warm…there are rain forests in Alaska πŸ™‚ I never would have known before I visited…I saw all the extremes (even walked on a glacier and rode huskies- the whole “mush! mush!’ thing) and canoed across a lake around their rain forest…it’s just AMAZING and you should start planning to go Rory!

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