My friend J. and I went for a non strenuous hike in Golden Gate Park today starting from the Conservatory of Flowers all the way down to Ocean Beach then back again... ...And we both had things to lament with both of us facing a major (ly traumatic) life marker at the end of the year (among other complaints). But this being the first sunny and warm Saturday we've enjoyed in a long while, we also wanted to focus on what glorious things we have to look forward to. So we brainstormed a list (besides the obvious, mate, children) of what we want to experience one day, things we will do before we die (which, of course is like a hundred years from now).....
1. Go to Norway, Sweden or the Yukon to see the Northern lights.
2. Go to Iceland, Sweden or Greenland in the summer to experience never ending daylight.
3. Club and bar hop in Paris, if single go home with sexy French dude for sort of night one might regret were one to do same here.
4. Go to Greece for week of play and healing.
5. Visit Istanbul, Turkey, see whirling dervishes, etc.
6. Climb Matterhorn in a.m., eat local cheese fondue in p.m.
7. Spend at least one night in a castle and a chateau, preferably one which serves complimentary whiskey or brandy in room on fancy silver tray. And is haunted.
8. Go to goth club dressed like her...
9. Go to Alaska.
10. Go to as many Paris cafe's as possible to sample hot chocolate and to find out once and for all which one serves the best.
11. Go to Prague, eat gigantic apple pastry.
Sadly, we got sidetracked by the idea of hot chocolate and pastry, but since then I've thought of several more...
12. Take cooking and advanced language class somewhere in France.
13. Go to beach anywhere in the Aegean, Indian and Mediterranean oceans, feel the water wash over my bare feet.
14. See Ankor Wat.
15. Go to Dharamsala, hear/see Dalai Lama.
16. Go to Vatican City for Easter Service with Pope.
17. Work on major film project.
18. Publish novel(s) and book(s) of essays.
19. See Bruce Springsteen and U2 in concert.
20. Go to Irish/Scottish pub, see next U2 or Van Morrison play.
21. Spend season in French or English countryside painting masterpieces. Exhibit masterpieces in London and/or Paris.
22. Write and illustrate a children's book.
23. Have an ofuro tub (Japanese soaking tub) beside the shower.
24. Make solo pilgrim's journey somewhere in Europe or Asia.
25. Finally learn to swim.
26. Snorkle in Great Barrier Reefs.
27. Publish Op/Ed piece in New York Times.
28. Go hang gliding and/or hot air ballooning.
29. Volunteer here and abroad to help women and/or children.
30. See every major art museum in the world.
31. Spend night in Quebec's ice hotel.
32. Eat at Napa's French Laundry.
33. Learn Italian, preferably in Italy.
34. Try fried bugs and bamboo worms, etc.
Any suggestions or to do lists of your own? I'd love to read them. Also check out this post come sit by my fire: A Passion for Adventure What an amazing life. I want to have stories like that to tell one day.
Lesson learned: J.'s motto, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." The rest of the quote (by Helen Keller) reads: "To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable." I love that. Comfort is good. We work hard to be comfortable. And if you're of the artistic temperament, as I am, comfort is a treasured thing because the alternatives are so intensely uncomfortable. I don't just feel bored, I feel my life is meaningless. I don't just feel sad, bad or guilty, I writhe in misery looking for something, anything to dull the pain. But, being at a certain stage in my life, I sometimes think, I should have taken more risk. I should have taken that job in Hong Kong. I should have, I should have, I should have. No more. Life is meant to be experienced fully and that's not possible if we fear risk and mistakes and all the discomfort they might cause.
In short: Life's either a daring adventure or a story not worth telling.