The List That Changed Our Lives: Guest Post with Olivia Beirne

When I read Olivia Beirne’s The List that Changed my Life, I started thinking about my own bucket list. What would I add on? What is never going on it ever? What’s on Olivia’s bucket list? I sat down and put my own list together, and I asked Olivia if she had a list for herself.

Luckily, Olivia has quite the list to bring to us. Take a look at how The List that Changed my Life came about, and what would appear on her own list.

Hi, I’m Olivia and my debut novel, The List That Changed My Life is out in paperback on the 21st February.

Without quite realising, it took my brain four years to drum up the plot of The List That Changed My Life, and in that time, I was subconsciously living out many elements of Georgia. In short, I never ventured out of my comfort zone. I stepped out, sure. Sometimes I stuck my little toe in and strayed from my standard order at Pizza Express (wild), but I never did anything I wasn’t comfortable with. I didn’t mean to, I just never really thought about it. Then, each year would tick by and I’d be back on New Year’s Day thinking, where the hell did that year go? More importantly, what did I even do?

This is where the character of Georgia was formed, along with the idea of someone watching you from the side lines, desperate for you to go and grab life. The character of Amy was formed from my inner monologue, when I was having another internal battle about whether I should go to Zumba or binge watch Desperate Housewives (I’ll let you guess which one I did). Slowly, as I started to piece together the puzzle of my plot, The List That Changed My Life evolved.

It goes without saying that I love lists. Shopping lists, to-do lists, hit lists (joke)… you name it, I’ll enjoy writing it. Writing Amy’s list for Georgia was fun, because I sat down and thought ‘what would I hate to do’. Although the final version of the list does not match my own personal one… I will say that it is on my own personal bucket list to jump out of a plane. I think. I’m not sure. It’s written in pencil. Lightly.

My personal list changes every day, I think I currently have about seven on the go. I know I want to run 10k for The MS Society (if you know, you know) and I would love to be able to successfully pull off a fantastic dinner party that nobody saw coming (because, why not? What an excellent chance to gallop around on a shocker of a high horse for an entire evening) and yes, I do think that skate boarding at Southbank may be quite fun (although, me falling off and snapping my limbs may not be) but the biggest thing I want to complete in life is to enter The X Factor and win the entire thing.

… Joking. The main thing that stays firmly on my list is to ‘say yes’ to every experience that comes my way (within reason, obviously) and to embrace each bump, dip and somersault along the way. I think if I channel that mentality, I’ll end up ticking some amazing things off my list before I’ve even had the chance to write them down, in pen or pencil.

And as for my own list . . .

There is so much in my life I want to accomplish, but who knows how long it could take me!

  • Host a dinner party for my friends – at least five courses.
  • Visit six of the seven continents.
  • Become fluent in German.
  • Worry less about the little things.
  • Actually go to the gym once in a while.
  • Travel alone and be comfortable with it.
  • Start and finish a note book.
  • Cook something new once a week from my vast collection of saved recipes.

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