Chicago Cubs World Series Victory Parade in Grant Park, Chicago.

The Cubs and those bucket list items you can’t control.

Most of the things on our bucket lists are things we can, to at least some degree, control.

If you want to learn Spanish you can take a class, you can download an app, you can check a book out at the library.

If you want to see Machu Picchu you can book a flight. You can book a tour. You can plan that vacation.

If you want to lose weight, if you want to buy a house, if you want to publish a book. You can actively work towards those goals.

Many times, the only things holding us back are ourselves.

But, there are some bucket list experiences you just can’t control. There are some bucket list experiences that you can do nothing else but hope for. Wish for. Pray for. Like whether or not you will ever witness your favorite baseball team winning the World Series.

You’re most likely not a coach. You’re most likely not a Major League player. You’re most likely just a fan, watching from your couch or a bar or a stadium. And you watching has no influence on which way the game will go. You watching, no matter how hard you wish it did, has no effect on who will win. No matter how hard your hope is. You have no control over who will win, how a season will end. And most of the players have no control either. No matter how hard they work towards it.

Last week The Cubs won their first World Series since 1908.


The Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years.

There are some bucket list experiences that you can do nothing else but hope for. Click To Tweet



I have to admit: I’m not the most sports-minded person. In the past few weeks I’ve had to ask my coworkers what game we were on, what that game meant, how many games were left, who we were playing, and what, exactly, did “Fly the W” mean. I grew up a White Sox fan and that only because my dad was, I never actually cared. And, while I’ve gone to a few Cubs games before, it’s always been mostly for the company (and the hot dogs and nacho helmets). I’ve just never been much of a sports fan.

But it was hard to ignore the excitement permeating Chicago over the past few weeks as the Cubs came closer and closer to winning it all. To doing something they hadn’t done in 108 years. As Chicagoans came closer and closer to experiencing something that none of them had experienced in all that time.


My friends and I at the Cubs victory parade.

My friends and I at the Cubs victory parade.


108 years is certainly longer than most of us will live. Most fans had been waiting their whole lives to see the Cubs win the World Series. And many never got to see it happen.

That’s what hit me the most last Wednesday. To so many people, that night was everything. That night everyone was finally experiencing something they’d been waiting years, decades, lifetimes for.

And everyone probably knew someone who they only could wish got to experience it too.

Stories were all over the news about fans who waited, literally, their entires lives for that moment. And stories were all over the news about fans for whom it was their last chance. My friend Emily’s grandfather was living to see his last World Series. And a man in Iowa passed away just hours after watching the final game.

But there were also people who hoped for that moment their whole lives and didn’t live to see it. We hear about the man who died three hours after the moment he’s waited his whole life for. But we never hear about the man who died three hours before.



After the Cubs won, fans were bringing memorabilia to loved ones’ graves and chalking their names on the walls of Wrigley Field. Those fans knew how much that moment meant to them. And they knew how much that moment would have meant to their family and friends who were no longer there.

It’s easy to say that you can do, see, experience, anything you want in life if you put your mind or you strength or money towards it. But that’s not true for every goal. Just ask any Cubs fan who had held their breath year after year, battled a curse, and watched loss upon loss.

Some things just really might be once in a lifetime. If that.

And, for those things, all you can do is keep holding out hope. Wishing. Praying. Waiting. Watching.

And trying not to suck.




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What are the bucket list items beyond your control?

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

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