I Don’t Believe In Bucket Lists

by Mandy Weger on February 28, 2014

There’s something about the term “bucket list” that rubs me the wrong way. It seems to imply that in order to do the things you actually want to do with your life, you have to be scared of your impending or eventual death.

That’s bullshit.

It also rubs me the wrong way because instead of making plans to fulfill their dreams right now, bucket-listers put their wish lists off until “some day” where more often than not, they then get too old and tired or less passionate to go and live out their younger, distant dreams. Putting your deepest wishes on a pedestal instead of just going for it and living the life you want to live seems like a waste of time to me.

Mike and I recently had a life or death scare, where the ship Mike was on for work was hit by a drone. All of his possessions were destroyed in the blast, including the chair he had been sitting in not 30 minutes before. He was completely unharmed, but also, strangely, unfazed. Mike said if he had died, well…he went out in an interesting way and had lived a wonderful life with no regrets.

I, on the other hand, was much more affected by the “what-ifs” and the possibilities of if things had been slightly different…it was a torturous and unproductive exercise, but nearly impossible to avoid in these circumstances.

But after taking a step back from the initial shock of it all, I realized that if I died rightthissecond, I’d be sad that I wouldn’t be able to live longer, but I would die without regrets and without any wish for my life to have been different.

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Me in Turkey, April 2013

That’s a very powerful and empowering realization. At 27 years old, I live my life exactly as I want, no fears or regrets.

Granted, I’m a privileged person with the financial means to make it happen, which makes a huge difference, but I’ve also been open to the right opportunities and have worked hard to get where I want to go. Knowing my priorities in life make decisions easy for me–will I regret not doing this? Yes? Then I’m going to do it. If I work extraordinarily hard at my job, will it open up more opportunities, freedom and flexibility? Yes? Then I’ll do that too.

One of my goals when we moved to Spain was to live in the present. To stop looking so far ahead that I forgot to live and appreciate the now. All of the traveling that we were able to do during those short 10 months very much made that possible for me. I can say that I’ve accomplished my goal (for the most part, I have my moments of course) and am a much happier person for it.

In order to fulfill that promise to myself to live in the present, that means bucket lists are not a part of it. Goals and dreams are definitely a part of my life, but they are actionable and I always feel as if it’s not a matter of “some day” but a matter of “when.”

Also, after a scare like we had, life is just too short to do anything else.

How do you feel about bucket lists? Do they inspire you to go, do, or are they distant dreams?

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Book Discussion: The Circle by Dave Eggers

by Mandy Weger on February 26, 2014

Recently I read “The Circle” by Dave Eggers and it’s one of those books that has stuck with me.

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The Circle by Dave Eggers

It’s a dystopian novel set in the not-so-far digitally transparent future.The book follows Mae Holland, who is thrilled at her luck in getting a job at The Circle. The Circle is essentially a tech company and social platform that combines Google, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal and meshes them with the world of physical, wearable technology. This fictional world is one where peoples’ online and offline lives merge together as one identity and sharing every detail of one’s life is the norm.

The mantras of “The Circlers” are:

  • ALL THAT HAPPENS MUST BE KNOWN
  • PRIVACY IS THEFT
  • SECRETS ARE LIES, and
  • SHARING IS CARING.

It takes the idea of privacy in our ever-increasing digitally transparent world and brings all of the walls down. Politicians’ every word and move are captured on camera, leading the trend to go “clear” in mainstream society by wearing cameras to broadcast one’s life to an audience of strangers.

Mae is quickly sucked into this world, where the benefits to give up privacy start to outweigh the drawbacks, and we get a glimpse into what the world might look like if all of our personal data were held by a private company and available for the world to see.

My Thoughts:

I found The Circle fascinating as I have often talked with Mike about getting “microchipped” so that I’m never lost or abducted, or when the first cancerous cell strikes my body, my mobile phone alerts me and my doctors immediately. I’m always fascinated and intrigued by wearable technology and have considered on multiple occasions to get a Jawbone/FitBit or something of that sort. I have even looked into wearable cameras that take a photo every 30 seconds or wearable video cameras.

Because of my open attitude in terms of privacy (I blog under my real name, I have connected social accounts without a lot of privacy settings, I check in on FourSquare, Tweet and Instagram my food, etc) there were many times in the book where I loved the forward-thinking technology and thought about how much better our lives might be if we only had [fill in the blank here].

But there is a dark side to having those amazing technologies connected to our every move. I couldn’t stand the way that boundaries were never drawn and that being “always on” for cameras and an audience disconnected Mae from everyone in her real life. The extremes portrayed around this disconnection were a bit ridiculous, but served the point well that our online connections do not always enhance our lives or make us happier people – it’s the physical, “in real life” connections that do.

The book is written as a warning sign in many ways, illustrating that the connections that social media gives us are often meaningless or add unnecessary stress to our lives. If we’re always “performing” for an audience, does it mean that we are forced to be our better selves and be held accountable as human beings, or does it mean giving up our authentic selves? If we continue making superficial connections online, will we eventually lose the ability to make real connections in-person?

The Circle was certainly a thought-provoking book, though at times a little proselytizing when I just wanted to make up my own mind one way or another. I still believe I lean more in the direction of having more information at our fingertips than less, even if it means that I give up a little privacy. I suppose that I’m a prime candidate for the way of life in “The Circle,” though I do set boundaries and don’t always care to broadcast my personal life.

I absolutely recommend The Circle to those who work in social media or technology, or who just love it and live it the way that I do. It’s not a great work of literature, and the characters and relationships are shallow, but they are so to prove a point. Weeks after finishing the book, I still think back to passages and certain technologies, having internal debates with myself about the future of connected technology in our world.

What is your attitude toward privacy in this ever-increasing digitally transparent world?

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Woman’s Day Annual Red Dress Awards

by Mandy Weger on February 24, 2014

This year, I was privileged to attend the Woman’s Day 2014 Red Dress Awards for the second year in a row. The Red Dress Awards honors and recognizes those who do extraordinary work to raise awareness of heart disease in women.

I made my way to NYC, where I stayed at the London hotel and this was my view:

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I go to New York probably about a half a dozen times a year at least, but there is still always something about the city that gives me a thrill. I don’t think I’d want to live in NYC, but I appreciate it for what it is.

I ate at The Modern dining room at MOMA:

The-Modern

Bread with cow’s milk and goat’s milk butter; amuse bouche; Jerusalem Artichoke soup with sweetbreads and an egg with black truffle coulis; Oven Roasted Trumpet Mushrooms, mussels, Harissa vinaigrette, jamon iberico; Quail in its jus, winter vegetables, foie croquettes and fried quail legs; concord grape ice cream, vanilla meringue, pistachio ice cream.

I highly recommend the Modern, I will definitely be going back because all of the food was just wonderful and there was so much more on the menu that I wanted to try.

I got back to the hotel, dressed up in my new red dress and headed to the awards at the Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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It’s always a beautiful sight to see so many women and men dressed in red, having fun but dedicated to a wonderful cause.

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Plus, the view from my seat once we got into the auditorium wasn’t bad. ;)

Then, low and behold, a few rows in front of me is TOM HANKS!

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Yeah, it’s blurry, but it’s him! I was about to claw my way over the seats just to say hi, but I restrained myself. It was difficult because Tom Hanks is one of my favorite actors, someone I’ve always wanted to meet, and let’s face it: I have grown up watching this man’s movies. I feel like I know him!

Tom was there supporting his wife, Rita who was the host of the evening. She sang a couple of songs (who knew she sang?) and he adorably bopped his head along to her songs and looked with a loving gaze at her the whole time. He’s just as romantic in real life as he is in the movies, guys.

But then, the evening got even more exciting when former President Bill Clinton took to the stage!

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It was wonderful to hear him speak, as I had the opportunity to hear former Vice President Al Gore speak last year. Check this administration off for me! President Clinton spoke about childhood obesity and measures his foundation is taking to raise awareness to families and to give them the tools to prevent it. After his speech, he didn’t stick around, but it was still quite thrilling to see him.

Sara Barielles took the stage and sang four songs. I know a couple of her popular songs, of course, but I’m not very familiar with her. After seeing her live though, I can tell you that she has an adorable personality and is very talented.

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After her first song, she stopped and said to the audience, “I’m really nervous. It might be because Tom Hanks is sitting right in front of me.” And then Tom Hanks threw his head back in laughter.

Overall, it was a great, fun night dedicated to the fight against Heart Disease but the excitement of the celebrity attendees was a wonderful addition and surprise.

I also got to walk the red carpet, which was fun!

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Of course, I had the opportunity to do this through Campbell, so I was working during the event, live tweeting as the awards occurred. Campbell provided some delicious and heart-healthy appetizers that were really fun! Our culinary team does a great job and I love seeing what they can do with our products.

See my write-up of the event on Campbell’s corporate newsroom here.  (and, shameless plug: feel free to leave a comment there too!)

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Kitchen Renovation, September 2013

February 21, 2014

We moved in to our house in 2008, when I was only 21 years old, and we decided right away to paint the kitchen bright orange and yellow (later, these colors would become our wedding colors). It was bright, it was bold, and while it was a somewhat sloppy DIY paint-job, we were proud and […]

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Our Next Trip: Ecuador, April 2014

February 19, 2014

If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll notice that I’ve started a board on Ecuador and if it isn’t obvious, it’s because we’re planning our next vacation there! We’re taking about 9 days to explore Ecuador. Ecuador is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, which means that Mike and I get to […]

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Juggling a Blog

February 17, 2014

In the year and four months since I started working at Campbell, my blogging dropped like a rock. There is the primary reason, being that I just don’t have the same amount of time that I used to (you know, when I didn’t have a job) to write. There’s also the fact that I live on […]

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An Open Letter to My Husband on our Third Wedding Anniversary

October 10, 2013

Dear Mike, We didn’t get each other gifts this year, so I decided to write you a blog post. You have always been my biggest fan and advocate for my writing and unfortunately in the last year since I began my job, blogging fell to the wayside and probably no one wants to read it […]

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New Year, New Adventures

January 6, 2013

Yesterday, this happened: We booked a trip to Turkey for April 6-19 of this year. The Blue Mosque, Istanbul Hot Springs “Cotton Castle” in Pammukale Hot Air Balloon Rides in Cappadocia I was the one who pushed for this trip, researched it and booked it, and it’s the first time that I’ve truly taken “ownership” […]

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#WEverb12: Reminisce, Read, Recharge, Communicate & Delight

December 24, 2012

Reminisce: What distant memory/time did you find yourself longing for in 2012? I thought about this prompt for a very long time, but I couldn’t think of much I reminisced about this past year. I sometimes longed for home or sometimes longed for Spain once I got back, but for the most part, I really focused […]

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#WEverb12: Exercise

December 20, 2012

Exercise: How did you live actively in 2012? What will you change in 2013? It seems fitting that the one post I procrastinated on and didn’t get written in time for yesterday was on the exercise prompt. Story of my life. I don’t exercise, and apparently I don’t write about it either. It’s on my mind […]

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#WEverb12: Soak

December 18, 2012

Soak: What have you soaked in this year? (Baths, sun, ideas?) How did it affect your mentality? In 2012, I soaked in a more positive outlook on life. I’m sure you’ve noticed in my posts if you’ve been following along with this month’s prompts, but I’ve been kind of gushing about my life lately. I didn’t […]

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