The Occasions Lady and a Bucket List for the New Year
by Audrey Poff
I have been looking forward to the beginning of a new year for several weeks. With the recent loss of my dad, there are plenty of sad moments, but I find some comfort in looking forward to the clean slate that a new year presents.
Recently, I put together a bucket list for 2024. I’m not a great planner or organizer, but I realize that setting goals can make it easier to accomplish new things in the coming year, so why not create a personal bucket list? Plans are less easily dismissed when they make their way onto paper.
Starting the new year with a bucket list may be just what I need to make the most of the next trip around the sun. Make your own list, and see if it makes a difference in what you accomplish in 2024.
Visit: North Carolina
My niece and her family moved to North Carolina several years ago (in between hurricanes), and I also have a longtime friend who has relocated to the area. I’m hoping to see both and spend some time on the Carolina coast in 2024.
Read: “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”
Written by Neil Gaiman, I purchased this book at Verb Bookstore around Thanksgiving. I’m not sure when I thought I would have time to read a book with the holidays approaching and the number of events to attend multiplying, but I was optimistic. The optimism has given way to realism: I’ve decided it will be the first book I read in the new year.
Eat: More fruit
When we have a supply of fresh fruit available, I will often choose it instead of unhealthy snacks. Grapes, blueberries, apples with Tajin sprinkled on top, clementines and watermelon are a few of my favorites. If fruit had the shelf life of a box of Little Debbies, I think I would be in really great shape.
Watch: “The Color Purple”
The 1985 film directed by Steven Spielberg is one of my all-time favorites, so I am excited to see the remake released on Christmas Day 2023. I often find myself quoting some of the powerful lines from the original movie including:
• “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.”
• “‘Till you do right by me, everything you think about is gonna’ crumble.”
For the last few years, life has been a rolling ball of stress. I love art and hope to take a pottery and painting class this year. I have zero expectations other than finding new ways to relax. If I create a wonky vase, I'm good with it.
Cook: More family recipes
I have an antique file box given to me by a favorite aunt years ago. It is full of recipes, many of them given to me by my sister, who passed away in 2006, and my mom, who is no longer able to cook. The handwritten recipe cards bring back memories of each of them, and I hope to share them with others in the family. At the top of my list - my mother's chocolate pie.
The natural state has some amazing waterfalls, but I have only seen a few of them. I’m pretty sure I could get lost for days visiting and photographing waterfalls across Arkansas.
Play: More Golf and Pickleball
Rodney and I have been playing golf together since we began dating in 2009. I enjoy time on the course with him (when it’s not too hot or too cold), but family obligations kept us off the course during most of 2023. We began playing pickleball in January 2023, and then life happened. We enjoy the fact that you can find all generations on the court and have found most players to be very welcoming. An added bonus: Because it’s a game, it doesn’t feel so much like a workout.
Enjoy: More time with family
Three members of our family work crazy schedules at hospitals in Little Rock and another lives in Oklahoma with his wife and three young boys. Trying to get everyone together for even a meal is a significant challenge. If we start planning in January, maybe we can plan ahead and find a way to spend more time together in 2024.
Travel: The Florida Keys
A trip to the Florida Keys has been on my bucket list for a long time. I would love to visit as many of the keys as possible on a road trip from Miami to Key West, especially the ones featured in the Netflix series “Bloodline.” Maybe 2024 will be the year we make it happen.