She’s had it up to about here—I’m creating a hand motion now, that you can’t see, that is level with my eyebrow—with my bucket list shenanigans. Her basic theory is that I have obnoxiously become a slave to completing a nonsensical list of goals for the year. And perhaps, I’m not admitting it 100%, she may be on to something.

To complete a goal, for the simple sake of completing a challenge, seems to be a waste of time. And, yes, at times I have felt that some of my bucket list items for the year were superfluous, for one reason or another. I am going to credit that realization with the fact that people change—I changed, over the course of a year—and your opinion toward something that you may feel is important, can change over weeks or months or years.

Additionally, when I attempted to imagine one-hundred things that I wanted to accomplish in a year, I must admit that I wasn’t all that thorough with the forethought associated to each task. Oh well, live and learn.

And I have—lived and learned. I feel that I’ve made some terrific progress, during my one-year of self-managed personal therapy. So much so, that I’m applying the wisdom and lessons learned from 2017 toward the upcoming year.

Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave. ~ Mary Tyler Moore

Within the last day or so, my spouse and I have completed the following conversation—she’s referring to my bucket list goals for 2017—or something that closely resembles said conversation.

She: “I can’t wait for you to be done with all of your shenanigans. You’ve been such a slave to that thing all year long.”

Me: “Hmm, but I have a new list for 2018. A completely new list.”

Her eyes immediately roll around in their sockets. The noise can be likened to a bowling ball, thrusted down the hardwood lane, curving toward direct impact on the one pin.

She: “I wish your goals didn’t cost any money.”

Me: “You mean like feeding the ducks at the pond?”

She: “Yes, we can just give them the moldy left overs.”

Moments, not materialism, Part I

If you didn’t read every single one of my stories for the year, I don’t blame you; it really was a ton of words. No worries. We’re still cool, in my book.

You can still arrive at the end of one year’s introspection, and appreciate the conclusion that I have come to regarding life, the universe, and everything: life is all about adventure, moments in time, and experiences in this world—shared with people whom you love.

The antithesis, materialism and the acquisition of more and more and more stuff, is the root of all unhappiness—despite the backwards logic that declares: the more that you have, the happier you will be.

Believe me, this is a beautiful conclusion that I have arrived at, after all of the stories, and thousands of words that I’ve written and penned words of ponderment, ad nauseam. It’s a conclusion that is so outside the realm of my normal character that you may doubt my sincerity, although I assure you that I’m 100% serious.

Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show. ~ Unknown

Now, you may be wondering how this new-found realization of Moments, Not Materialism will manifest itself. Honestly, I don’t know, and that will be the focus of 2018. From a basic level, I know that I need to assess all of the stuff in my life: books, magazines, music, movies, knick-knacks, fishing rods, etc. A major decluttering process needs to happen, and I’ve actually already begun that process by slimming down my book collection from approximately 800 titles to my top 500 favorites. I will have to complete a similar exercise with all of my other media.

But a major attitude change is scheduled for 2018, with my decluttering and subsequent organization process to flow into all portions of my life and home—garage, closets, bathroom cabinets, laundry room. Believe me, I’m terrified of the outcome, and a bit overwhelmed by the required work, although I know that this is the next step for me.

Moments, not materialism, Part II

To take the theory further, I am a big proponent of this idea, you must plan adventures and allow new experiences to happen to you. That last part of the sentence may seem unusual, but—yes, indeed—we have to be open to new experiences; otherwise, we’d never meet new people, try new foods, or visit a new vacation destination.

At the conclusion of Project 365, I have decided to continue with another personal project, a new endeavor. I am titling the new project as 52 Tiny Adventures, and the purpose of the yearly project should be self-explanatory. Once again, between my birthdays—January 25th, 2018, and January 25th, 2019—I will focus on completing fifty-two adventures, small in scale. I’m thinking of it as a 52 Tiny Adventures to Complete at 45 Years of Age.

Some goals that I really wanted to complete, but couldn’t complete, will rollover from Project 365 to the new year; examples include: firing a handgun, kayaking, weekend trip with my wife, and cliff jumping. Challenges that were on the former list, that just didn’t make the cut, will be moved to my Lifetime Bucket List. Notable challenges that meet this criteria include: collect a rare vinyl album, swim in the Pacific Ocean, and drive a classic VW Beetle.

As for the new goals, and motivation behind each, well, I guess you’ll just have to stick around for the start of that new body of work. I can tell you that today’s image is directly related to one specific goal: Start a sketchbook.

Instead of writing daily, which is an incredibly difficult task, I will reserve my blogging for only 52 entries—one per designated goal on my list. Additionally, I really wanted to return to my creative roots, and photograph with traditional film and mechanical, manual cameras. Without a daily photograph to worry about, 52 Tiny Adventures will be the perfect opportunity to achieve that personal goal as well.

The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure ~ Christopher McCandless

In conclusion, life is too short to collect memorabilia, and we should be collecting moments, instead. At least that’s the conclusion that I’ve arrive at, and if you think differently, I can’t fault you for that either. My new focus is to spend quality time with the people that I love and enjoy, completing activities, experiences, or adventures that will enrich my (our) life.

That’s going to be my new focus, and I intend on documenting it throughout the new year. I hope you’ll join me on a physical adventure, or at the very least, by following my adventures in a digital space and format.