I came across my bucket list recently while sorting through my computer. I had last updated the list in early 2018 and was surprised to see that a couple of the items I had unknowingly accomplished in the past year and a half. Otherwise, everything else on the list still applies — That is, I still want to accomplish them. One item reads, “eat a banana off a tree,” another, “write a book,” a third, “design a shoe.”
But as I was reviewing the items, many of which were quite profound (have children, develop lifelong friendships), it occurred to me that this list was incomplete. If a bucket list is a list of items we believe will change us, provide us with some kind of enrichment we cannot die without having experienced, then my list lacked something which recently opened my world and has completely altered me.
This past summer, I enrolled in my first Meisner Technique and Scene Study acting classes. In any other city, I may have stumbled upon a fun, introductory acting course for beginners. But having just moved to New York, I accidentally enrolled in advanced level courses. In being surrounded by serious professionals dedicated to the craft of acting, I’ve been challenged to unlearn the social politeness that I’ve built up the past 27 years to instead reconnect with my truthful feelings in the moment. I have learned to connect to my honest experience of the world in every interaction, thereby connecting to my emotional core and essential instincts.
I discovered that the emotional work I’ve developed in therapy, the years of contemplating people as characters, and the insatiable habit of reading psychology in every second of my spare time all laid an expert foundation for slipping into the skin of a complex human being — a practice of deep empathy. I have started obsessively reading plays, digging into the darker sides of human experience while also appreciating the need for the lighter, joyous moments. In the process, my heart has opened up to people as I synchronize myself with them through authentic understanding.
Through the character of Masha, I learned how to embrace self-assurance and power; Through Irina I learned of my own inner lightness. Through my acting partner Paul I learned that core human truths are truly timeless, known as far back as Jung, Chekhov, and Ancient Greece; Through my acting partner Bobo I learned about my own pattern in relationships and friendships, as well as my essential core values.
I added a new section under my Bucket list that reads “Things I didn’t even know were on my bucket list until they happened,” and the first item under there is : “Find a new passion and change as a person because of it.”