If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Life Lists

I've been thinking about life lists (or the more depressing version - bucket lists) lately.  I've never had an official one but I've always had things that I knew I would eventually experience or accomplish.  I've been thinking about what is left on that list lately.  I think a combination of (a) acquiring tenure, (b) being an empty-nester, and (c) passing that dividing line between early forties and late forties, has initiated a mini-mid-life crisis.

Also the opportunity has arisen for me to join b on his epic adventure this summer.  If you recall, b will be driving clear across country to The Last Frontier.  There he will meet up with a good friend (he's gone from 9 interested companions to one friend who was never part of the original group) and paddle the Inside Passage.  Because of the change in group membership, he will be able to leave earlier and paddle faster.  This means he will be off the water in enough time for me to meet him there and drive back home across the country together before my semester starts.

Yesterday I developed an itinerary for the homeward drive that has us going through parts of Canada I've always wanted to visit and seeing some of the major national parks.  This is a trip I've always wanted to do but never knew when or how it would happen.

I am very excited.

But it has also gotten me thinking about life lists.  This will be one I can cross off of my non-existent list.  Below are some of the other items I could cross off right now (in chronological order):

  • Getting my black belt
  • Becoming a mother
  • Getting published
  • Getting a grant
  • Finding my life partner
  • Getting my doctorate
  • Becoming a professor
  • Traveling abroad
  • Buying a house
  • Getting tenure
  • Watching a birth

There are a few things that are still on the list but the possibility of them occurring is out of my hands:

  • Dancing at Angel's wedding
  • Becoming a grandmother
  • Helping Pumpkin give birth

There are one or two things that are in my control that are definitely on the list:

  • Writing a book
  • Hooding my doctoral students
Other than these things, I have no clue what should be on the list.  Sure there are things I've thought of doing or places I would like to go, but none of them really seem important enough to make a life list.  Is this a good thing?  It is great to have accomplished/experienced so many things that are important to me but the thought of living without significant possibilities or goals ahead of me is a little depressing. I feel like I'm in a similar spot with Angel right now--we're both trying to figure out what we want to do with the rest of our lives. 


Joan Kane Nichols said...

My bucket list is still so long that if i don't get hustling soon, I'll kick it. (And I don't mean the list.)

Maybe your trip to the Last Frontier will inspire you with a new goal. You haven't been President of the U.S. yet.

Annie said...

Hi Brigindo,
Speaking from experience, those couple of years leading up to fifty, and those couple of years after, are rough ones; and that mini mid-life crisis is inevitable. It’s a good thing, though, to re-evaluate, and to try to figure out what to do with the rest of your life. For me, I decided it was writing, and reaching out to like minded people. It’s a worthwhile process still in progress, and it involves life long learning, something I know you are good at. I’m glad you’ll get an opportunity for your cross country trip. My husband and I did that back when I was 30, traveling and visiting national parks throughout the country for a period of 10 weeks. Two years before that, I joined him for a couple of weeks, after he’d been on his own for two months, similar to what you and your husband are doing. Seeing the country is definitely renewing. You have many significant possibilities and goals ahead of you, I’m sure; and you can be proud of your accomplishments. Every day, you make a difference, in the lives of your students, your family, and your friends. Hoping you find that next thing soon, to see you through...

Catherine said...

How about officiating at a wedding?

phd me said...

You have definitely accomplished some great things so far! But I can relate. I turn 40 next year, and while I'm not exactly writing out my last will and testament, it does give me pause. I feel like age and circumstance give me reason to consider what else I'd like to accomplish or experience but, never having been a very forward thinking person, I'm not quite sure where to start. Maybe it's okay to just see where life goes and be happy with where it takes me...