By Lisa Manterfield
Ever since I was as young girl besotted by the weekly children’s program “Record Breakers”, I’ve had a dream of making it into the Guinness Book of World Records. I’d fantasize about some of the crazy things I could do, given that I wasn’t born exceptionally tall or flexible or fast.
As the years passed, I let go of this childish fantasy and got on with life, but last year, in the middle of re-evaluating my life and setting some fun goals for myself, I created a Bucket List. Along with becoming a New York Times Best Seller (currently working on this) and growing my hair long one last time (working on this also), I included “Be a Guinness World Record Holder” on my list. Then, last summer I got the chance to go for that goal.
We succeeded in beating the existing record, but we still had to wait for verification from Guinness. Four months later, we got the news. We did it. I was officially a World Record Holder. And to prove it, I could order (for a small fee) a certificate of accomplishment.
I was so excited at the prospect of have my World Record Holder certificate, but as I sat down to place my order, I had a thought. “What’s the point? What am I going to do with this certificate?”
If I were a mother, I’d do it for my kids. I’d be excited and proud. Maybe my kids would have taken me and my certificate to Show and Tell, where I could have shared what I’d learned about setting and achieving goals, no matter how far-fetched, and about the importance of making life fun.
But I don’t have that.
I sat there imagining my certificate arriving. Maybe I’d show it to Mr. Fab and maybe he’d be appropriately impressed, but then what? Would I frame it and hang it on my wall? Or would I stuff it in a drawer and forget about it?
I almost canceled the order, but then I thought, “Sod it!” I don’t need to do this for anyone else but me. I’m proud of me and that’s enough. Yes, maybe it will get stuffed in a box, but maybe when I’m old I’ll look back fondly and remember that day. Maybe whoever gets to rummage through my stuff when I’m gone will find it and be surprised. Who knows? And who cares?
I remember writing somewhere once, “I’m not dead; I’m infertile” and I need to remember that mantra. Just because I didn’t have children doesn’t mean I don’t still get to have a life. And when I look back on that life, I want it to be full and amazing—officially or otherwise.