The Dream List

IMG_1612I’ve been thinking a lot lately about bucket lists. This summer we visited *three* amazing national parks that I learned about in my undergrad geology class. I never imagined I would get to see those incredible places in person, and it’s inspired me to dream big and bigger. It’s so true that if we don’t let ourselves imagine things, we’ll never let ourselves do them. When I was working my way through The Artist’s Way a few years ago (one of the best things I ever did for myself, BTW; ever so highly recommended!), a lot of the exercises were about imagining and visualization. What would I do with a day that suddenly became free? A magical two weeks of paid vacation? Where would I want to live if I could live anywhere? What kind of house would it be? How would I spend my free time if I had an endless supply of it? I had so much fun imagining the window seats and sunny kitchens and wildflowers, the bazaars of Istanbul and the spices of Morocco and the mysteries of all the languages I had yet to learn. There’s a power in it, and a beautiful connection to the world within us and the world around us. When it comes down to it, that’s what creativity really is. (And I have been having so much fun putting together a future talk on this topic, heavily peppered with big ideas from my favorite Russians).

Eric’s mom has a bucket list, and I think that is so awesome. She recently went to France by herself on a pilgrimage, and it was her first time abroad. How amazing is that! What an adventurous lady she is, and an inspiring one too. After reading a bit about bucket lists in a library book and pondering all the fun things I’ve been able to do and all the ones that I hope lie ahead of me, I’ve started putting together my own list. I’m calling it my dream list because I just like the ring of it. It’s so much fun!! It’s sort of like being at this amazing buffet of life, and thinking, “Yes, I’ll try that, and, ohh, that looks good, and, oh definitely, I can find some room on my plate for that too!” It makes me feel like I’m living more fully, and that is a gift, even if it takes me some years to tackle anything on the list. So, here’s what I’ve got so far, in no particular order, broken up by pictures of pretty things:

IMG_16801) Visit all 50 states (I think I’ve been to 27 or so thus far). (Update: it’s actually 31! Only 19 to go!)

2) See all the National Parks. Woohoo! There are 408 locations in the National Park Service (59 of them are National Parks), so this will take me a while. And that’s to say nothing of the National Forest Service and State and Regional Parks as well!

3) Learn Turkish. And maybe even Ottoman Turk. This is a big dream and one I’ve made some progress on, but it’s fallen by the wayside for a while. I’d love to pick it up again in the future.

4) Climb a mountain. I think I did this once on a family vacation when I was in early high school? But it’s been so long!

5) Hike a big trail. I’m definitely not ready for the whole Appalachian Trail or anything. But I’d love to train and do some day hiking and maybe even work my way up to a bit of backpacking.
6) Go camping. I never camped much growing up, and my girl scout troop always stayed in cabins. So I would like to really sleep under the stars!

IMG_18697) Swim with the sea turtles again. Holy wow, this was one of the most beautiful experiences of my entire life. I would love to get back to Hawaii (or anywhere else they live!) and glide along with these majestic creatures again. (Also…I will tack on the Great Barrier Reef here because…gorgeous).

8) Learn how to embroider. I can cross-stitch pretty well, but I would really like the learn the stitches of free-hand embroidery. It’s so pretty!

9) Take a pottery class. I did a bit of pottery with my cousin at Montreat when I was in high school, and I cannot get this fantasy of shaping clay on a porch by a lake on a rainy day out of my head. Oh yeah, this is a very specific fantasy.

10) Go to Natchitoches with my Dad. This is the little river town in Louisiana where my Dad was born. They have pretty lights over the river at Christmas, and they are famous for their meat pies, and I have never had one. My Dad has been writing a lot about his childhood on his blog (which is so, so, so sweet), and it has really made me want to experience this special place with him.

11) Develop good posture. Hoo boy, this one will probably take a lifetime. I slouch. It is not good for me. I have been through a bunch of physical therapy for my back troubles, and it is all so preventable if I just do the stuff I learned there. (As a side note, I wonder why it is so hard to do the little things that will improve our health? I *just* started wearing sunscreen every day, and I’m 32. Better late than never, but still! I would like to put all of our wonderful modern knowledge about health and the body to good use).

12) Read some giant novels. I will probably never stop lamenting that my awesome book club read all of Proust right before I met them all and joined the group. I have made it about halfway through the second volume, but I had trouble getting into it (honestly, after reading an awful lot of Dostoevsky, Proust’s narrator just seemed so…whiny. But I shall persevere!) There is nothing I love more than a big fat novel, so I want to tackle a bunch of them. Anyone have suggestions?

IMG_129213) *Really* learn how to sew. I am a sewing dilettante, but I have some great reference guides and e-courses to walk me through it. This one will probably not be tackled in full until the kids are bigger and I have some free time and detail-space in my brain, but I am looking forward to it. Sewing patterns, you shall no longer be a mystery to me!

14) Learn botanical sketching and painting. We are so lucky to have the Huntington Gardens here in Pasadena, and Hillary gave us a free membership!!! They frequently have events and classes on botanical drawing and painting, and it just looks so awesome to me. The level of detail is stunning, and I really want to be able to capture all the bewildering beauty of the world around us.

15) Learn oil painting. I have the supplies, and I have dabbled a bit, but this one requires a bit more planning and time.

16) Read around the world. I heard about this blog a few years ago and have become really intrigued by the idea (and impressed!) This woman read one book from each country, with great recommendations from locals. She includes a list of all the books she considered, and the one that she read. I want to do this! I know a lot about Russian literature, but there are so many other literary traditions about which I know nothing at all. I am ready to armchair travel to Japan and China and India!

17) Take a hip hop/modern dance class. The older I get, the better it feels to really move my body. I love to dance, and I think this would be so much fun.

18) Go white water rafting! This has all the makings of a fantastic and slightly terrifying adventure!

So, that’s what I’ve got so far. Pretty please, tell me what’s on your dream list! I love comparing notes on this endlessly fun stuff.


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