“The Greeks didn’t write obituaries when someone died…they just asked one question….”Did he have passion?” From the Movie Serendipity
50 Things to do before you die
In 1999 I read an article in Reader’s Digest that changed my life. It was called “50 Things to do before you die”
Wendy Swallow Williams, the author suggested writing a list of things you’d like to see happen.
This was 10 years before The Bucket List craze.
Anything could be on the list.
It revealed much about the person.
As you would write the list, don’t let money be a factor; just take some time to dream. Before you die, If God would make a way, what are fifty things you’d like to do?
Maybe you’d like to take a trip…or several trips.
Maybe you’d like to learn how to play the piano or ride in a helicopter.
Maybe you’d take a 6 month extended trip across the United States and see people and places.
The key was to take some quiet time and let your mind dream. Wendy had listed several places she wanted to visit, skills she wanted to acquire, etc.
I spent some time and identified 25 things I wanted to do…if you’ve never done this sort of thing before, it is not as easy as it sounds.
It’s been 13 years since that first list…here is a portion of my current list:
1. Take a cross country motorcycle trip
(I did end up getting an 800 CC Suzuki Intruder/ got my license…rode it for a couple of years then changed my mind…too many people locally were getting killed on bikes. I’m not so concerned about dying. It’s getting into a motorcycle accident and living the rest of my life in a wheel chair...that concerned me.
2. Work on a potter’s wheel (done)
3. Take a trip to Ireland
4, Write a book (done)
5. Run the mile without stopping
6. Learn how to swim
7. Take an extended trip (several months if possible) across the US and see people and places
8. Record a song (done)
9. Take a painting class (done)
10. Have a Bed and breakfast (done)
11. Speak in front of a large crowd (I’m thinking @ least 5000 ) (I love to push that fear envelope)
12. Take a class in self -defense (done)
13. Learn how to make wine
14. Visit Germany, the areas of our family’s heritage
15. Visit New Zealand
16. Host an outdoor concert among our apple trees (done)…( and we’ve had 7 of them since I first wrote this list)
17. Be totally out of debt including our mortgage ( 99% done on this one)
18. Go whitewater rafting, (done)
19. Float down our local river until it connects to the Mississippi River.
20 . Take up kayaking w/ my wife
21. learn to fence (as in swords)
22. sing or perform in a band or music group that sounds excellent
23. plant apple trees and beautify our grounds (done)
24. get up close to a gorilla/ look into his eyes.
25. ride 1 day @ least in RAGBRAI (it is a week long bike ride across Iowa)
26. not be overweight and keep it off (I dropped 35 pounds 2 years ago/ got too thin/ I’m just 5 pounds above where I’d like to be currently)
27. complete a Narnia display on our property complete with a wardrobe and false back door leading into the woods
28. learn how to play fiddle
29. scuba dive with tanks
30. get a really good camera w/ a zoom and close up lens so I can perfect my picture taking abilities
31. grow 75% of our own food
32. learn how to butcher a large animal
33. visit Muir Woods
34. Ride the train from Saint Paul to Seattle too see friends
35. Take a road trip down the coast of Oregon from Seattle into California
Hopefully you’ll not come away with the thought I’m advocating a ‘health, wealth, and prosperity gospel” because I’m not. On the other hand, some of us have gone to the other extreme, thinking it would be nonspiritual to have such a list.
As much as anything, my bucket list has enriched my life 10 fold. It has allowed me to channel my energy (passion) for life and see tangible fruit.
My mother-in-law was in her mid 60′s when she passed away. She told me just a few years before she died of brain cancer not to wait until I was her age to travel and do those things she’d always wanted to do but never seemed to find the time or money to pull off. Her husband (my father-in law) and already died @ this point..he was in his early 60′s when he’d died….so at the time of my conversation with her, she was planning a trip to Ireland with a girl friend…
“Doug, she said, do those things you want to do while you can…there is no guarantee you’ll be able to later….look at me..Jack and I planned to travel and do these things when he retired…we never made it….”
That conversation gave me permission to pursue my life with even more passion, if that is possible…
Someone with passion