There was a book from my childhood that fascinated me, but I couldn’t remember what it was called. Moreover, I didn’t recall enough details that would allow me to locate it in the library. I’ve searched for it, off and on, for years without luck. Item #94 on my Bucket List reads as: Find the mysterious book from my childhood. I was able to locate this lost gem two days ago by utilizing obscure book searches and crowd sourced “help me find my childhood book” type of resources. The 1968 illustrated adventure book is titled The King With Six Friends by Jay Williams. I am elated to both own it, via Amazon, and to cross that item off my list.

Make the most of each moment and love life, living all the way until your very last breath. Memento mori, carpe diem, yolo, sic transit gloria mundi, and all that jazz!

Both of my die-hard, daily readers will recognize the above words from my previous post entitled Memento Mori, or the concept of remember that you have to die. That was my story where I declared my intentions of creating and living a 2017-2018 Bucket List. If you missed it, hop over to that entry when you have some extra time.

Find your catalyst

While the phrase “to kick the bucket” means to die, my objective is complete a set of life goals in the Here and Now—not after retirement, not when I’ve been diagnosed with a rare brain-eating amoeba virus, not when I climb the peak of mid-life crisis. I don’t want to wait until i have a heart attack to start deciding to live. I don’t want to get to retirement and not have a list of goals to accomplish or dreams to live. I want to live now.

There were several catalysts for personal change over the last two years. I got to a breaking point with my own business and I realized that I couldn’t maintain my lifestyle under self-direction and self-employment. When I knew that I had to get a full-time job, there was a metaphorical switch that was flipped in my mind. After I finally got a new job, my reality was modified. I no longer had to hustle for every single cent in order to pay the bills each month. All I had to do was go to my regular job, find contentment, be challenged, and collect my paycheck. With my immediate needs being met, I was free to dream once more and to pursue goals beyond those related to a baseline existence.

Who are you and what have you done with your life thus far?

It seems like I’ve been busy for forty-four years of life, but without any real accomplishments. How did I get to this point? In hindsight, I know the answer: complacency. Without setting specific goals, we become lazy. We become complacent at our workplace, with our health, in our marriage or friendships or relationships. It’s too easy to succumb to the same schedule: every day, every week, every month, and every year. Wash, rinse, repeat. The years glide by one by one. A bucket list will help you break the cycle of monotony.

Compile, write, and live your own list

Think big and small. Write your list down. Otherwise, you won’t remember it, you won’t know what your goals are, and you can’t achieve any of them. Sure, everyone wants to plan the big events like skydiving and traveling to exotic locations. How about spending more time with your kids at the park, zoo, or museum? List everything that you want to do, regardless of how grandiose or mundane. The by-product will be something that helps define who you are and who you want to be. I think that it is important to realize that a bucket list is not entirely about stupid stuff like eating bugs or skydiving or drinking a human toe cocktail, but the sum of those experiences (should you want to touch your lips to a pickled toe) are what makes us Us.

The concept is simple: live intentionally. By recognizing your goals and dreams, you can muster the courage to pursue them. If you are choosing experiences from your own list, in theory, you are living your life quite intentionally.

Share your list

The importance of sharing your bucket list is not to brag or boast, but to express your thoughts, ideas, emotions, hopes, dreams, with other people. You are not the only person in the world with aspirations or fears. Sharing your goals is very personal, yes. Can we share experiences with others while achieving goals from the Big Ol’ Bucket? Can we start a dialog that leads to meaningful conversation with others, besides talking about the relative humidity of the day or soaring temperatures in Summer?

Is it possible that we can ask others for help in accomplishing our goals? Is it possible that your list is bigger than you, bigger than just yourself? A child can’t drive themselves to the zoo to see the giraffes, but they depend on an adult to get them there. Why are adults different? We can’t do everything for ourselves. We don’t have unlimited time, money, and resources.

Multiple Lists?

I do want to differentiate between my multiple lists, and yes I have three. You may say to me, “Brian, why in the world do you have three lists?” I assure you that there is a specific reason.

  • 2017-2018 Bucket List: a collection of goals to complete in the duration of this 365 Project—between January 25, 2017 and January 25, 2018. Most of these items are easily completed within normal confines. Some are intentionally more difficult. All are personally meaningful. None of these are wild adventures that I will never complete or have the means to complete.
  • Lifetime Bucket List: a collection of goals to complete within my life span. Typically, these are the “big ones” like distant travel or life objectives and require advanced planning or saving.
  • Reverse Bucket List: a collection of goals that I have already completed. It occurred to me that I should be aware of my past accomplishments to successfully move forward with new ones.

My 2017-2018 Bucket List

Without further ado, here is my refined list of 100 goals for this year. As I complete each goal, it is my intention to update the list. If you want to help me accomplish any of these items, let me know (specifically with item #52)!

Challenge counter: 24 of 100 completed!

  1. Cliff jump into a body of water
  2. Build new pinhole camera and complete a series on solargraphy
  3. Attend a baseball game (read the story)
  4. See U2 in concert (read the story)
  5. Go kayaking
  6. Stop saying NO to new experiences
  7. Fish more often, catch some kind of new fish that I’ve never caught before
  8. Run a 5k
  9. Complete a 365 photo project and compile into printed portfolio/journal format
  10. Get baptized (read the story)
  11. Read the whole Bible (read the story)
  12. Try a new food, try a new drink
  13. Go backpacking
  14. Read 50 books
    1. The Bible
    2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    3. A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins
    4. Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs and Andrew Davidson
    5. Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong
    6. Revenge of Analog by David Sax
    7. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
    8. Magical Thinking: True Stories by Augusten Burroughs
    9. The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson
    10. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
    11. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
    12. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
    13. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
    14. The Shining by Stephen King
    15. The Pearl by John Steinbeck
    16. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    17. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
    18. Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
  15. Shoot with my classic cameras and film
  16. Night swimming
  17. Sleep somewhere exotic: yurt, lighthouse, train, or fire tower
  18. Sleep in a posh hotel
  19. Lose 30 pounds
  20. Visit 9/11 crash site, Flight 93, in Shanksville
  21. Take my girls to their first concert
  22. Take my son to a concert (read the story)
  23. Fit into my wedding ring
  24. Donate blood (read the story)
  25. Get a tattoo
  26. Drive cross country to California
  27. Collect a comic book series (read the story)
  28. Organize my garage
  29. Collect a rare vinyl album
  30. See the Milky Way
  31. Find a geocache in each state that I visit: Maryland, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania
  32. Build something electronic
  33. Learn new programming language
  34. Learn to cook a meal (read the story)
  35. Help someone with a genuine need
  36. Teach someone something that I know
  37. Visit with each of my family members: father, mother, brother, brother
  38. Explore a cave (read the story)
  39. Show someone compassion
  40. Buy a meal for a homeless person (read the story)
  41. Fly on a plane (read the story)
  42. Swim in the Pacific Ocean
  43. Swim in mountain stream/lake
  44. Go out of my comfort zone (read the story)
  45. Learn to hula hoop
  46. Hike somewhere amazing
  47. See an Ansel Adams photograph in person
  48. Ride a train (read the story)
  49. Go to the drive-in
  50. Watch all Hitchcock movies created between 1940 to 1980 (read the story)
    1. Rebecca
    2. Foreign Correspondent
    3. Mr. & Mrs. Smith
    4. Suspicion
    5. Saboteur
    6. Shadow of a Doubt
    7. Lifeboat
    8. Spellbound
    9. Notorious
    10. The Paradine Case
    11. Rope
    12. Under Capricorn
    13. Stage Fright
    14. Strangers on a Train
    15. I Confess
    16. Dial M for Murder
    17. Rear Window
    18. To Catch a Thief
    19. The Trouble with Harry
    20. The Man Who Knew Too Much
    21. The Wrong Man
    22. Vertigo
    23. North by Northwest
    24. Psycho
    25. The Birds
    26. Marnie
    27. Torn Curtain
    28. Topaz
    29. Frenzy
    30. Family Plot
  51. Walk 25,000 steps in one day (read the story)
  52. Drive a classic VW Beetle
  53. Restore my canoe or else give it away
  54. Learn woodblock printmaking
  55. Make my own cappuccino or latte
  56. Find a terrific independent coffee shop (read the story)
  57. Program a website with my son
  58. Learn five songs on the ukulele and/or Telecaster
  59. Start a garage band with my family and record a song/video for YouTube
  60. Weekend vacation with just my wife
  61. Stand in four states at one time
  62. Shoot a handgun
  63. Visit every record store in Pittsburgh, PA
    1. Attic Record Store (Millvale)
    2. Get Hip (Northside)
    3. Eide’s (Downtown)
    4. The Exchange (two locations Downtown)
    5. Amazing Books & Records (Downtown)
    6. The Exchange (Oakland)
    7. Desolation Row (Oakland)
    8. Dave’s Music Mine (Southside)
    9. The Exchange (Southside)
    10. The Exchange (Dormont)
    11. Rather Ripped Records (Brookline)
    12. Dane C. Olevian Numismatic Rarities (Strip District)
    13. Mind Cure Records (Strip District)
    14. Juke Records (Bloomfield)
    15. Dorsey’s Record Shop (Homewood)
    16. Up Beat Records (Wilkinsburg)
    17. The Exchange (Squirrel Hill)
    18. Amazing Books & Records (Squirrel Hill)
    19. Jerry’s Records (Squirrel Hill) (read the story)
  64. Complete a video game from start to finish
  65. Overnight bicycling/camping trip
  66. Run in the desert
  67. Visit both the lowest and highest spots in the US, accessible by car
  68. Plan an unexpected trip
  69. Go on a married couple double date
  70. Ride a roller coaster that scares me to death
  71. Walk in the rain without worries of getting soaked to the bone
  72. Buy new glasses (read the story)
  73. Host a backyard BBQ party
  74. Create a backyard drive-in
  75. Ride every single Kennywood ride (excluding Kiddyland) in one summer season
    1. Jack Rabbit
    2. Racer
    3. Thunderbolt
    4. Exterminator
    5. Phantom’s Revenge
    6. Sky Rocket
    7. Aero 360
    8. Auto Race
    9. Bayern Kurve
    10. Black Widow
    11. Cosmic Chaos
    12. Gran Prix
    13. Kangaroo
    14. Grand Carousel
    15. Musik Express
    16. Paratrooper
    17. Pirate
    18. Swing Shot
    19. Turtle
    20. Volcano
    21. Wave Swinger
    22. Whip
    23. Garfield’s Nightmare
    24. Ghostwood Estate
    25. 4-D Theater
    26. Noah’s Ark
    27. Log Jammer
    28. Pittsburg Plunge
    29. Raging Rapids
    30. Olde Kennywood Railroad
  76. Buy flowers for my wife for no reason
  77. Ride one of the longest escalators (read the story)
  78. Pay the toll for a stranger behind me on a highway
  79. Sling hammock, read a book
  80. Stargaze
  81. Make coffee from scratch in wild
  82. Catalog my personal book library
  83. Play an epic board game
  84. Catch, kill, cook, and eat a fish
  85. Grow a respectable full beard
  86. Listen to every major Pink Floyd release (read the story)
    1. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
    2. A Saucerful of Secrets
    3. More
    4. Ummagumma
    5. Atom Heart Mother
    6. Meddle
    7. Obscured by Clouds
    8. The Dark Side of the Moon on vinyl
    9. Wish You Were Here on vinyl
    10. Animals on vinyl
    11. The Wall on vinyl
    12. The Final Cut on vinyl
    13. A Momentary Lapse of Reason on vinyl
    14. The Division Bell on vinyl
    15. The Endless River
  87. Collect an original piece of art
  88. Stop taking things personally (read the story)
  89. Give birthday gift to each of my family members: father, mother, brother, brother, niece, nephew
  90. Send birthday card to each family member’s spouse: father, mother, brother, brother
  91. Complete one item from Lifetime Bucket List
  92. Simplify life by removing distractions
  93. Inspire someone to create a legitimate bucket list then help them to achieve one goal
  94. Find the mysterious book from my childhood
  95. Do a good deed for someone else that will really make their day
  96. Go to Pittsburgh Zoo with my daughter
  97. Ride incline to Mt Washington, walk along overlook at night with my wife
  98. Order cheesecake and coffee in a retro diner (read the story)
  99. Mend a broken relationship
  100. Remember that there are things that I can’t imagine, that I can’t plan, that I can’t control: be spontaneous

And there you have it. Challenging? Yes, but I see opportunities for adventure and discovery. Make the most of each moment and love life, living all the way until your very last breath. Memento mori, carpe diem, yolo, sic transit gloria mundi, and all that jazz!