“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” - Émile Zola
About 10 years ago, when I worked at a bookstore in Newport Beach, California, often spending my paycheck before I left work, I picked up a little blue book called "2,001 Things to Do Before You Die," (apparently, it's not in print anymore, but you can get it used at Amazon.com with a different cover that I like a lot). I used to buy a lot of random books like that. Come to think of it, I still do.
The remarkable thing about this book was how many things I checked off right away ... things I had forgotten I had ever done... other things that were among my favorite memories... some very specific things like this one:
* Drink mulled wine on a snowy night in Prague.
I was oh-so-excited to be able to check that off the day I bought the book. And I still remember that night; I was wandering with friends through the Christmas Market in Old Town Square, sipping mulled wine. The booths were lit up with strings of colored lights and there were just a few snowflakes fluttering through the air. Magical.
And then I guess I forgot to keep checking things off. Today, Kim Kotecki's post about life lists at her blog Swingset Reflections reminded me of this book and I just pulled it off the shelf. I haven't looked at it in a long time.
First we'll start with the things I probably won't ever do:
* Swallow a goldfish
* Throw my panties at Tom Jones
* Ride a boxcar for a couple of days
* Grow a beard
* Shave off my beard
* Quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys (I don't think my husband would ever speak to me again)
* Be a Dallas Cowboy's cheerleader (He might speak to me again if I did this, but it would take a while)
* Tear a phone book in half with your bare hands
* Ride a motorcycle south on U.S. 1 in California (North, sure. South, no.)
* Eat pufferfish sushi (I did read a great line about this in an old Nat Geo, though: One man's poisson is another man's poison.)
* Be Woody Allen's therapist
Things I've done:
* Drink the milk from a coconut with a straw (at Angkor Wat on the hottest day ever).
* Shake hands with someone famous.
* Decoupage a table
* Learn French, German or Swahili (interesting choices).
* Travel Route 66
* Savor moonshine
* Pretend you don't speak English (this is always fun).
* Wear a feather boa to work
* Travel alone
* Love a teddy bear
* Have delusions of grandeur
* Play croquet
* Attend the Olympics (1984 equestrian events. They were very low-key. We brought our own lawn chairs. I don't think we even had tickets)
* Ride Space Mountain
* Learn to say the alphabet backward
* Watch a baby being born
* Kiss the Blarney Stone
* Predict a trend
* Squeeze a glass of fresh orange juice
Things I would love do to:
* Teach English as a Second Language
* Run a used bookstore
* Attend the seventh game of the World Series
* Learn to sew
* Hot-air balloon over a desert
* Learn to sail
* Drive a Maserati
* Swim in each of the Seven Seas (I guess I've got to choose from the following nine:
- Adriatic Sea
- Aegean Sea
- Arabian Sea
- Black Sea
- Caspian Sea
- Indian Ocean
- Mediterranean Sea
- Persian Gulf
- Red Sea
* Build a tree house
* Stomp grapes in Tuscany
* Finish your dissertation (after I start one, of course)
* Ride a gondola in Venice
* Sing and dance with gypsies
* Memorize "Who's on First?" (if you scroll all the way down, you can hear an audio version)
* Research your family tree
And the funniest thing in the whole book?
* Cornrow your Westie
Now I think I'll get around to actually making my own "life list." I've made many lists before, but never quite a comprehensive one.
What would be on your list?
"LIfe is either a daring adventure or it is nothing" -- Helen Keller