“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”—The Princess Bride
I am an obvious romantic. Spontaneous to a flaw at times. These are not new traits, but rather old traits finally given the freedom to come bubbling back to the surface.
This morning it hits me: I am nearly three months from turning thirty-five. Three months and nine days, actually. I believe it is this deadline, this unspoken milestone, that I can either harness or buckle under. I’m choosing to harness it.
A very dear friend of mine, also undergoing a mid-life crisis, spoke to someone about it. “Ahhhh,” the therapist said, “A mid-life crisis. Yes. Those are great. They move you forward.”
I am moving forward.
Earlier this year, I remembered my “bucket-list” that I wrote at the tender age of 22. I shuffled through my journals, pages and pages of angst and written pathetic poetry, to find the list of fifty things I thought important enough to accomplish before I die. I’ve since modified this list, only slightly, to include bigger, more worldly ideas and sometimes smaller, more reasonable ones.
I will, in part, take from this list in the next three months to move forward before I hit thirty-five.*
It is in this vein that I plan to accomplish the following. I say this out loud, to you, because so many of you are part of this list. My boot-camp girls, My yoga instructor. My parents. My sister. My spouse. My village. My online-community. You each hold value in my life beyond written words and unspoken thanks. You help me achieve, encourage, and love. Without you, there could be no list.
1. It is always been a goal to be in, arguably, the best shape of my life by thirty-five. I will… WILL… accomplish this. I have Ashley here, my village at bootcamp, my yoga instructor, my friend Theron, my undergraduate degree (it must be worth something, right? exercise and sports science must be a tiny bit applicable here) and my motivation. There is no excuse. None.
2. I will have the book outlined, started, and submitted to several publishers. (If it was up to me, I would write here, “Accepted by a publisher” but instead, I will focus on things that *I* can control.) I’m changing this slightly, as I will eventually get my PhD but for now, I have a variation on a theme to submit a more public, user-friendly book on a topic I am passionate about. Too many of you offered to buy my pathetically dry dissertation. I would never do that to you. You inspired me to write something you might, possibly, maybe, slightly enjoy. Thank you.
3. I will return to Europe before my birthday. Since I was five, I’ve wanted to go to Germany. Growing up hearing about Germany and the years my parents lived there, it is by far the One.Single.Place I must go. In some ways it’s where I was born. Or, rather, in truth, “created.”
4. My focus will be on Yoga, breathing, knowing. Kayaking. Hiking more. Camping. Enjoying. These are things that always bring me peace and are crucial to cultivating the person I want to be.
5. I will accomplish all these things completely, totally, utterly sober. By the time my birthday rolls around again, I will have a lovely birthday party with my closest friends and we will drink and celebrate these accomplishments. I will serve strong drink, we will laugh heartily, and I may pass out after one. But I will be able to say, with absolute certainty, it is the best most lovely tasting drink in three months.
Here’s to three months and nine days. I promise to write too often, too in depth, too much information. After all of your personal letters about your own mid-life crisis, I can only offer this: You are not alone. We are never alone.
*Here is the list in entirety:
- 1. Be a teacher at a college(Started 6/1999)
- 2. Get a Master’s Degree(July 2004)
- 3. Live in a cabin in the woods(10/2002-10/2003)
- 4. Get a dog(3/2003)
- 5. Run or walk a marathon
- 6. Go to Alaska and play in the midnight sun
- 7. Sky Dive(June, 2000)
- 8. See the Northern Lights
- 9. Kayak the San Juan Islands
- 10. Learn how to rock climb(4/1999)
- 11. Climb a mountain(St. Helens, 1998)
- 12. Have no debt
- 13. Get a postcard from every state in the U.S.
- 14. Take a train, or drive, across the country
- 15. Visit Yellowstone
- 16. Visit Yosemite
- 17. Live in a flat in England for a summer
- 18. Visit Ireland(With Gma and Mom, 9/2001)
- 19. Visit Paris(With Travis, October, 2009)
- 20. Plant a tree on my birthday
- 21. Go Snowshoeing(Cascade Nat’ll Park, 1999)
- 22. Backpack one week in the mountains
- 23. Read "Walden", by Thoreau(finished 1999)
- 24. See the Swiss Alps
- 25. Bike across a state
- 26. Kayak in Nova Scotia
- 27. Take the Zip Line in Whistler
- 28. Do 10 pull ups on my own
- 29. Use Xcountry skis to get to work
- 30. Skinny Dip
- 31. Watch the sunrise on Mt. Baker(1/24/1999, with Bob)
- 32. Go back to Whistler(7/4/2000, with Bob)
- 33. Go to a NY Broadway Show
- 34. Do a triathlon (mini) (To Be Done: August 2011)
- 35. Take photography
- 36. Watch "Gone with the Wind"
- 37. Horseback Ride
- 38. Plant a garden
- 39. Visit Germany- the town I was “made” in
- 40. Surf
- 41. Ice Skate Outside
- 42. Ride a motorcycle
- 43. Visit Thailand
- 44. Swing Dance(Took Swing Class 1999)
- 45. See "An affair to remember"(6/1999)
46. Live without cable (or satellite)(8/2000-8/2001)
- 47. Go to the Olympic Nat’l Park(1/18/1999, with Bob)
- 48. Take the train, a boat, or drive, to Alaska (do not fly)
- 49. Move to a new place for at least 1 year(2/1999-6/2000)
- 50. Publish a book.