I have a confession to make: I’m closing in on the big 4-0. Yes, I know I’ve been telling many of you that I was 40 for a few years now. I lied. Forgive me. Now that we’ve gotten past that, let’s move on to the subject of this post. I’m re-vamping my “Things To Do Before I Die” list. Let me refresh your memory from an old post…
I was 17 and a senior in high school when I got hitched and was 23 years old when my divorce from the sailor was finalized. After six years masquerading as a Midwestern housewife, I was free to be Me. Trouble was, the definition of “Me” had yet to be determined. I decided this huge upheaval of my life would not be for naught. I would reclaim my lost youth by creating a list oh-so-creatively titled “Things To Do Before I Die.” However, I never had a plan on how I would accomplish a single thing.
Ten years later, during a move to a new apartment in New York City, I purged lots of old journals, letters and pictures and came across this list. I was tempted to throw it out; some of my items were downright embarrassing. “Be serenaded.” Really? I assure you, I didn’t want that then, and I most definitely don’t want it now.* I clearly wanted to be loved.
In looking closer, though, I was pretty astounded at how earnest and mundane most of the items were. Ride a train, eat sushi, see a parade — check, check, check.
Growing up in the woods, being responsible for myself, working full time at a very young age, I simply hadn’t done anything. See a Broadway play, learn to golf, vote, ride the subway, have my hair styled, handcraft pottery, learn to bike, go on a cruise, picnic, ice skate. Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check.
A week to the day the auction ended in which I sold my memoir to Random House, I remembered my List. I dug out the journal and scoured the numbered items and found:
8. Write my autobiography.
Seeing it written so plainly in my earnest naivete — as though writing a book were as simple as riding a train, eating sushi, or seeing a parade — makes me marvel at one’s ability to get things done. Other “never in a million years would this ever happen to me” stuff I listed did, in fact, happen: walk the red carpet, attend a movie premiere, and be self employed.
I’m proud of having broken free and carving out a pretty interesting, varied life for myself. That said, there is still quite a bit of simple stuff on my list I have yet to accomplish. There is no other time like now to “get busy living or get busy dying”. Thoughts DO become things and so I want to write a new list of things to do. Below are some to get me started:
Ride on the Orient Express.
Master the ukulele.
Compose a song.
Get a pedicure.
Get a massage.
Drive across the U.S.
Build a snowman.
Participate in a rally.
Ride a camel.
See the Grand Canyon.
Go sled riding.
I’d love to know what’s on YOUR list and input on what should be on mine.
*Was “serenaded” to by my husband on our 4th wedding anniversary. He sang “Any Way You Want It” by Journey during karaoke at Sunswick in Astoria at my behest. Now THAT is more my speed.