Revising The Bucket List

I started writing again. Not like this. Fiction. With a friend. It’s the sort of project that requires a bit of inner time travel. Maybe for a better writer it wouldn’t – but this is me, and this is how I work.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this assignment I had in the tenth grade. I remember that our teacher handed out blank sheets of yellow ruled paper – the kind I now know is prone to fading and disintegrating if it isn’t stored properly in a dry, temperature controlled environment. The kind of paper that important things like dreams and half-incorrect spelling quizzes are written out on. The kind of paper that only lives on in memory and never survives more than two months at the bottom of school bags.

The assignment was to write out our life goals. Not our Five Year Plans. Not where we planned to go to school or what we wanted to do for work after that. What we really wanted to do. That is a tough question to ask a fifteen year old. At fifteen you live for other people. Teachers. Family. Peers. So it’s a much harder assignment than it might appear to be.

I remember writing that I wanted to live in a large empty space that I could fill with thought. I was really into zen as a kid. I’ve also done that now. It was terrifying.

I wrote that I wanted to live in Boston for a while. Check. And in Portland. Also, check. I wanted to go to New York. Have done, and quite often. I wanted to tour with a band – yup, just not mine. There was probably some other stuff about falling in love which, sure. All of that seems deeply important to a teenage dreamer who hasn’t seen the world yet.

It’s still really important.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of the “bucket list”, and how important it is to not lose sight of dreams (I’ll spare you the Langston Hughes quotes). I’ve also ticked off a few things on the original list, and I think it might be time to aim a bit higher. So, here it is. The revised bucket list:

1. Go to Paris. Because I want to, and haven’t, and I’m tired of people who have been “abroad” telling me that I simply can’t be a great writer/artist/human being if I haven’t seen Paris. (Fuck those people, by the way).

2. Live in New York. See above, basically.

3. Go to London. Find TARDIS. Touch TARDIS. Or go to Cardiff and touch a TARDIS there. Whatever.

4. Sing with a live orchestra. No loop holes. Actually rehearse and perform with an orchestra, not sing along from the audience. I’ve done that already. My seatmates hate me.

5. Write something big, actually finish said big thing. Get thing made into bigger thing. This seems reasonable, right?

6. See the Grand Canyon. I really don’t think I need to say why.

7. Touch the Pacific. See above.

8. Learn how to dance an honest-to-goodness waltz.

It beats yellow ruled paper. At least this will live forever on the servers over at the Internet Archive.

Here goes nothin’.

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