Sunday, August 19

On Not Feeling Old

It's a rainy day.  And DSF is out for the afternoon with his family.  This is what happens when my mind is left alone for a few hours....

I've never felt old.  I've always felt considerably young.  I am considerably young.  I'm quite possibly (quite probably) still only in the first quarter of my life.  Nevertheless, I've got shit to do.  I've got shit to do before I start to feel old.

Since my birthday is approaching, and it's a rainy day, and I'm all alone in the house, the stars have aligned and I've actually for the first time ever finished my 1-year bucket list before my big day.  This is a list of 26 things to do before I turn 27.  Things I am (mostly) very well capable of doing.  Things that, on the day that I start to feel old, will keep me from feeling that I've wasted my youth on Netflix and Cornhole.  I considered adding to the list "Blog about the 26 Before 27 List", but then decided that blogging isn't necessarily something I want to "achieve" in my youth.  I do, however hope that in crossing off the items on my list, I will document them in some way.

So here goes.  In no particular order:

26 Before 27

1. Travel to 3 new states.  When I say this, I mean I want to travel to these states, not through them.  When I was 16, I went on a cross-country tour of the U.S. and traveled through 21 states.  While it was way cool at the time (saw a lot, did a lot), I look back and fear that I gained/learned nothing from this trip.  I consider myself to have visited each of those states as much as I have visited Texas... in which I've only ever seen through the windows of the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport.  With the exception of North Carolina, I will consider any of those 21 states "new" states.

2. Travel to 2 new countries.  Come on, it's 2012, traveling somewhere a passport is required is about as easy as brushing your teeth.  There shouldn't be any reason I can't drive into Canada or fly to Europe.

3.  Travel to 1 new continent.  I know.  It's a lot of traveling packed into one year.  But hey, I will try my absolute best to get my butt to South America or Australia or Africa....

4.  Travel alone.  Ok, I don't have to go to Antarctica alone, but I feel there is a lot to gain from going somewhere on your own... fending for yourself in an unknown place.  A few years ago I traveled to and around the Big Island of Hawaii by myself.  I think being alone for this adventure gave me the opportunity to really take it in.  Some of the most vivid memories I have of traveling anywhere are of places and people I saw in Hawaii.  And perhaps, in recounting the places I'd been or people I'd seen to those I missed back at home, I kept a better memory of everything.  Either way, whether it's taking a road trip across the country to see my sister, or taking a flight to somewhere new and exciting, I think it's well worth the uncertainty.

5.  Run a half-marathon.  Gotta keep myself in shape...

6.  Run a half-marathon in better time than before.  Just a few seconds quicker... that's all I want!

7.  Sew a new swimsuit.  When I made the last one (and only one I've ever made), I got my size completely wrong and ended up having to "take it in."  Now, I'm no seamstress,  so taking it in was quite an experience.  Don't get me wrong, it's a sweet little bathing suit, but I rarely wear it out in public.  I hope to try, try again until I am satisfied.

8.  Crochet a full scarf.  I say it every year, and yet I still have the same unfinished scarf I started 5 years ago laying around with the crochet needles still poking through it.  Rather than adding an inch to the length before deciding I'd like to try new techniques, which then distracts me long enough for the rest of the winter that I never actually finish anything, I'll be satisfied with a simple, basic, beginners scarf... as long as it is long enough to wear.  Only then, shall I move on to new techniques or venture into that book of sweaters and blankets I bought several years ago...

9.  Visit friends.  Now that we've all grown up, we're everywhere.  Why shouldn't I take time to
go spend some time with them?!

10.  Cut my hair... super short.  Go bold or go home, right?  I might as well just shave my head Britney Spears style...

11.  Couch Surf.  First a coworker told me about it.  Then I read about it in The New Yorker.  I'm intrigued.  Plus, if I travel as much as this list says I'm going to, I'm going to need a LOT of free places to sleep in the next year.

12.  Learn a new language.  What better way to become more worldly than to learn a totally new language... like Arabic.  Alright, I probably won't go so obscure, but perhaps something closer to the Spanish that I already somewhat know, like Italian.  Maybe in 10 years I can stumble my way through a handful of languages...

13.  Eat more vegetables.  I'm talking backyard, pick it, slice it, and cook it right then, Michael Pollan kind of stuff.  Not just eat it, but grow it - winter, spring, summer, fall.

14.  Drink less alcohol.  My brain cells will thank me for it.

15.  Paint something.  I'll settle for a paint-by-numbers kit, just put the damn paintbrush in my hand!

16.  Take more pictures.  My cameras have become a little too dusty over the last couple years. It's time to shake off those cobwebs and get snapping again!  While I'm at it, maybe I can actually put together those photo books I've been meaning to make.

17.  Go rock-climbing.  Since my sister already does this on a regular basis, I feel that this is a must.  She's already got the gear, she already knows where to go, and besides, she's been begging me to visit for years now.  My sister can do it, my brother can do it, I think I can do it too.

18.  Lose the flab.  Hopefully numbers 5, 6, 13, 14, 17, 19, 21, and 25 will help me with this one!  I'm not interested in weights or dress sizes.  I just want to look like an Olympic athlete one day.

19.  Lift weights regularly.  I'm a weakling.  Always have been.  Besides having nicely toned arms one day, I would really like to be able to win an arm wrestling challenge one day.

20.  Read.  Moby Dick.  Huckleberry Finn.  Great Gatsby.  The Iliad.  Pride and Prejudice.  The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  Macbeth.  Ivanhoe.  Dante's Inferno.  The list goes on.  By the time I'm 27, I hope to be a genuine bookworm.

21.  Learn to surf.  Better to do it now, while I live by the beach.

22.  Attend a music festival.  Floydfest?  Lollapalooza?  As long as I know at least 3 of the performers and I can spend at least one night in a tent.

23.  Dress like a "grown-up".  Really, how much longer can I shop at Forever 21?  It's time to start dressing my age!  Maybe this is the year I'll buy the clothes that I keep so long that I tell my children, "I wore this before you were even born!".

24.  Keep a dream journal.  I've got crazy dreams.  Really crazy dreams.  If I start writing them down, It's possible that one day I could publish them and get rich off my own sub-conscious.

25.  Learn to dance the tango really well.  I want to break into the tango at any given restaurant if the music starts to play.  Like they do in the movies.

26.  Do something crazy unexpected.  What better way to feel full of life than to do something totally out of the ordinary?!  Keep things fresh, keep things new, keep things exciting.  Who knows what it'll be, but I'm bound to do it.

And there it is.  If that doesn't keep me busy for the next year, I don't know what will.  But I sure as hell am excited to get started!

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