Friday, November 11, 2011

15 Things To Do In This Life

My friend Megan asked, out of the blue, on Twitter the other day to tell her 15 things we, her followers, should like to do in our lifetime so as not to be the martyred slaves of time.  Much like New Year's Resolutions, she mentioned how clicking off a "bucket list" seems kind of horrible and, I would add, might leave one at the end feeling a bit like Alexander (weeping over the dearth of worlds left to conquer at almost precisely my own age, by the way.)

So, I thought it might be an interesting thought experiment to explore what sprung to mind in my own skull.  I find it interesting that so few of my choices revolved around things having little to do with virtue per se.  Rather than that pointing to a bad direction, I found it indicative of moving in directions in my personal life that speak to a life being well lived.  These are "frosting."  I am fairly content with the current state of my life and the seeming future direction thereof.

A few words on do-ability: my experience has been that the experiment mutates rapidly.  So much of my biography has shifted in ways I never would have imagined.  I consider nothing on this list outside of the realm of possibility and, as is so often true in life, may offer a few of those much needed fences in further life choices. 

But, enough.  On with the list.

1. Visit India- I have a deep love for India and its people.  I think it is a beautiful culture.  I also have friends I should very much like to see.  This was an easy #1 choice for me.

2. Attend the Bayreuth Festival- The Mecca for Wagnerites.  Wagner himself supervised the design and construction of the theater.  To see a Ring Cycle at Bayreuth would be near to one of the peak experiences possible for me on this planet.

3. Tour the Vatican- As an art lover, a theology and church history student, and an aesthete, I would love to tour the Vatican.  I know Laurie would too.

4.  See one of my plays produced- Strictly speaking, this has already happened, but not in a profit making environment and only with a one-man show.  I would love to have the play I am currently writing be produced by a professional theater company.

5.  Finish the Harvard Classics Library- which will happen if I simply live long enough to make it through.  I am working on it.  I would hazard a guess that I still have years in front of me to go, but if Augustine didn't stall the project, nothing shall.

6. Meet - One of my living heroes and, I think, one of the more fascinating people alive.

7.  Also would like to visit Athens- Having already trod the streets where Shakespeare, Wilde, and countless others had trod, I can only imagine the hallowed feeling of the truly ancient beneath one's feet. 

8.  Master Greek and Latin- I don't know about mastering, but this is another project that I am working on.  I am currently at a very stumbly level of Latin.  Laurie and I plan on learning Greek together one of these days.  She has some experience in that classic language.  I have none.  One of these days we will take it up.

9.  Create a mixed drink- Wouldn't it be fun to have a signature drink?  Or having a dessert or sandwich named after one's self?  Maybe it's gauche to think so, but I think it would be a hoot!

10.  Have a poem of mine in the Norton Anthology- Yes, I'll admit vestigial and highly unlikely wishes to join the immortals of literature.

11.  Name a star or asteroid after Laurie- While there is no permanence in this universe, I have plans to buy a high-powered telescope when Ezekiel gets a little older to take out into the wild and look out at the wonder of the macro.  I would love to be able to find Laurie Mathers in the heavens.  In case you haven't guess by now, I am a silly and romantic marshmallow of a man.

12.  Have a rose garden- We should always have roses.

13.  Own an Irish Wolfhound- Such majestic canines!  I am drawn to their temperament as well as their stunning presence. 

14.  Reconcile with everyone- Life is short.  The Living are just the Dead on vacation.  People should live gently and be quick to forgive.

15.  Die before Dementia- Ending on a characteristically dark note, my vocation has taught me the horror of Dementia/Alzheimer's.  It is an awful disease and I should like to go without experiencing it firsthand.  I encourage everyone to get informed about it and, where they can, search and see if there is some place in the world where they can improve life for another.

1 comment:

  1. Candid and interesting list of wishes, some of which are easily attainable with wealth, others revealing your essentially love of the good life. I've visited the Vatican and Athens. You share a love of Bayrueth with Stephen Fry who is from this part of England, a share-holder in our local football team and a flag-waver for Norwich and Norfolk.
    Time is definitely on your side Paul being relatively young, the noblest wish here being reconciliation at no material cost, the asteroid the most romantic wish.