These days, perusing any news aggregator for “news” is an exercise in defeat. It really is. This evening I found myself on msn.com, and it had a feature, after the court clerk who got fired for helping save an innocent man, and the “latest news” (Hi, NSA!), of the twenty things you should do (EVERYONE should do, it proclaims!). Ok, then. Challenge accepted.
For the record, they are:
1. Own your own business: check. I ran a freelance business from 1995-2002. Small, yes, but required separate taxes. For the record, I started one six months ago and if you would like consultation on your software choices as a business I have very reasonable rates. And at one point I sold Mary Kay cosmetics.
2. Live in a foreign country: check. Six months in Australia. You can never go home. You realize what makes you foreign, and what makes you accepting. Further business trips to London, Rome, and Geneva emphasized this.
3. Buy a home. Check. Twice. moving on…
4. Drive coast to coast. Nope. Would love to, as I love to drive. But it takes time. Who’s with me?? Girls trip?
5. Get your heart broken. Bitch please…
6. Be cheered by a crowd: I remember, about 7 years ago, a friend took me to karaoke. I wasn’t good. I wasn’t awful. I was passable, but before I started I pretty much declared my insecurities, offered my apologies, and launched into a Sublime song. My faith in my fellow man was restored, and I remember it to this day.
7. Keep a journal. Hello, that’s what this is. There was another one, it’s under a pseudonym. If you’re friend, and you don’t know, hit me up and I’ll let you know. If you’re foe, or I don’t know, my previous blog is one you’ll not know.
8. Take a leap of faith: again, Bitch please. I don’t have faith. But I’ve attempted a reasonable facsimile when I thought the occasion warranted it. Some instances were not worthy.
9. Give Something Back: yes. YES. I don’t give a (bleep!) what your reference point is, you know of a way to improve your fellow man and/or his/her circumstance. Rewarding.
10. Design and build a house. Nope. Does planning to count?
11. Make a meal with food you raised yourself. Close! so close! Not all of the food, but most! The only human I know who has done this was my Nana (God Rest her Soul!) and my friend the StidBomb. Hey if anyone has seen/heard from the StidBomb let me know, okay? In the meantime, no. The male person won’t let me have chickens. For the record, I’ve caught and cleaned (and eaten) a fish. So, there’s the protein. The veggies are simpler.
12. Buy a piece of art because you love it. ZERO contest. In November, 2005, I was in Yakima with my best friend. We went wine tasting. That wine tasting will remain epic in Yakima because there is still a winery who remembers me, and it’s been 8 years, folks. Anyway, we saw a gal painting pictoral landscapes. And I bought one. Anyone whos’ been to my house? It’s the one called “the Valley”.
13. Go Wilderness camping. Nope, sorry. Have been camping. Have been camping without a cell phone, and in the middle of nowhere, but I didn’t have to hike far, and it wasn’t the real deal. Maybe…
14. Take a sabbatical… I’m sorry, these words look like English but they’re not. Moving on…
15. Make a piece of furniture. NO! but I’d love to. Chairs are the hardest and that sounds like fun. My idea of “fun” is warped. But no, I haven’t done this and yes, it’s on the list.
16. Go snorkeling or scuba diving. Oh, wow. So for those of you NEW to me, I got certified at 16, I have dove to 220′. I am AOW certified and a butt’s breadth from Rescue Diver. I have dove with sharks, with whales, with whale sharks. I have done a 60′ free ascent, I panicked at 30′. I have wreck dove, cave dove, dove in 5′ vis and dove in visibility as far as I could see on land. I’ve dove the Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii, Cozumel, La Paz/Cabo, and pretty much the major hit points in the Pacific NW. The only lesson I offer is this: don’t dive on ego.
17. Adopt a pet. Have done. Multiple times. My only advice is be cognizant of what you’re getting in to.
18. Do something that really scares you. Again, multiple times. Fear is an evolution, you conquer one and another one comes up, like a weird videogame where the bad guys regenerate. Doesn’t mean you should stop, it just means when you face the next one, grin with the previous ones you conquered.
19. Take a stand. Done, still doing. Washington state (and hi, the US!) needs to properly fund education. That’s straight economics.
20. Do work you really care about. This is an interesting one. I didn’t care about most of my jobs growing up: they were a means to a fiscal end. The first job I really CARED about was at Expedia. I remember sending a six-paragraph email missive to my VP about why a particular person’s view on a report about inventory (Inventory of all things) was messed up. I met with him for our 1:1 and it started with him reading the email to me and asking “what is this??”. And I realized that Dan Pink was right: sometimes it’s not about the money.
Since then I have not settled for a job I don’t care for. I give them the college try: you look like you’re worth it, prove to me you’re worth it. And so far, it hasn’t been disappointing.
So what I take from this is, I need to make a piece of furniture (wait till I tell my Dad about this), go wilderness camping (no idea where this is going to go), design and build a house (okay, I have visio…) and drive coast to coast. And then my life is complete…
…according to a website.