The other day my kids were talking about a trip some other kids were planning… an epic trip. It lead to an interesting discussion about what epic means and whether or not we are doing epic things.

This is where my mind was wandering during this discussion with my children… what have we done that’s epic? what do we want to do that’s epic? what does epic even mean?

As one starts to wonder if you’re living an epic life it’s easy to compare your situation to another and feel like you have somehow missed the boat… the other option is to dismiss the actions or efforts of others as stupid or ridiculous. But what if there is another option?

What if doing epic things has nothing to do with how BIG, expensive, or socially noteworthy they are? What if you can live an epic life no matter what your circumstances or situation?

As a family we decided that doing epic things would mean purposefully creating memories. Doing things we will remember – maybe fondly, maybe not – but setting out to live with intention. With this in mind we started making a list of things we’d like to do this year.

  • go on a picnic
  • ride a horse
  • Stand in 4 states at once
  • Dip our toes in all the Great Lakes
  • Iceskating
  • Hike in the Grand Canyon
  • Jump out of an airplane
  • ride a mechanical bull
  • watch for shooting stars

Our list has big things and little things on it, but the key to a it being epic will be HOW we do them. It will be about attitude and thoughts, not about the action itself. If we just chase around checking off a bucket list, but don’t take the time to savor and enjoy each moment, including the work that goes into arriving at the moment, we can miss or even destroy the memory, instead it becomes something we want to forget.

I’ve spent way to much time over the years frantically preparing, planning, and attacking goals in my life. Rushing to create the perfect Christmas, birthday party, or vacation and after the fact thought, what was that all for? I’ve hated every minute, because I was stressed and overwhelmed instead of realizing that from beginning to end, from conception to execution I was creating the memory. All I really succeeded in doing was making memories of how grouchy mom was at Christmas time, or my meltdown if things didn’t go according to my imagined reality.

So whether you’re planning a road trip across the United States or a picnic at the park, both have seeds of epicness in them. Your children will look back and remember the moment for what it was – they will remember if you were there, and if you weren’t, what they felt, heard, and saw. One of the most epic memories I have with my father was a time that he took me and my sisters for a drive and we climbed Mount Topless. As we were driving he pulled off the side of the road and led us up the side of a mountain. I’m not even sure there was a trail… as we climbed we had an amazing view of the inlet. We were young, and the mountain never seemed to end, thus we dubbed it mount topless. That’s all I remember, and yet, more than 30 years later I remember it fondly. It was an epic moment in my childhood.

This is the magic… no matter how big or small the things we set out to do each day, week, month, or year, what I know from experience is that it will be the unintentional byproducts of our actions that will hold the true seeds of lasting memories. And in the end, those memories will define our epic life.