Thursday, March 25, 2010

Transition/Life list

Life is weird right now. This is the first time since I was about five years old that I have not been in school full time. Just for reference, that's nineteen years. Ryan and I are living in Boston, which is lovely and trippy and remarkably not that cold (touch wood). It's an college town filled with all kinds of academics, and suddenly, I'm not one of them any more. Well, technically I'm on filing fee (writing up my Master's thesis) with UC Davis, but it's not really the same.

Right now, I'm not totally sure I want to be an academic. Don't get me wrong, I really miss wonderful community it provides, and the obsession with things I love it fosters. I doubt I'll ever be able to turn the part of my brain that puts everything in an evolutionary context off, but I'm not quite so sure what I want to do with that part of my head any more. I have this wonderful (and terrifying) sense that there's a lot more options that I could pursue--chosing one is the problem.

All of which is making me think more about my life list. Hi, anyone who happens to be dropping by from Mighty Girl! (and Thanks! to Maggie for linking to me!). I hope there are some of you coming by, because I have a question for you: Is it fair to revise your life list? What if you don't want to do the things you thought you wanted to do? Have you lost your most authentic life, or just one version of it? How do you decide what to let go of? Would love to have you leave answers in the comments.

In case the idea of a life list is new to you, it's a list of one hundred things to do before you die. Here's mine (with the really private ones redacted), and Maggie has posted tons of other good examples as well.

1. Visit every continent
2. Live in Europe for at least a month
3. Eat a dinner at a 3 star restaurant
4. Build a home to my specifications
5. Live totally alone for a few weeks
6. Write a book
7. Get a PhD
8. Join a band
9. Travel overseas with close friends
10. Learn how to make a cappuccino
11. Raise livestock
12. Travel overseas with my mother
13. Send my son where he wants to go to school
14. Publish a first author paper in American Naturalist, and another in Science or Nature
15. Take guitar lessons
16. Adopt a dog from another country
17. Get my college friends together when we're older and act like we're still in college, but with more money
18. Brew a beer with my best friend, a passionate home brewer
19. Buy a pair of designer shoes
20. Learn to ride a horse, western style
21. Climb one of of the seven summits
22. Tour French wine country
23. Go on safari in South Africa
24. See every great ape in the wild
25. Get a tattoo (SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY!)
26. Treat myself to a spa day
27. Help someone get their PhD
28. Start a scholarship fund
29. Give my family a year of ridiculously generous birthday gifts
30. Camp in the back country of an American National Park for a weekend
31. Have beautiful skin
32. spend a whole week doing nothing going to the beach and reading fun books.
33. make quilts for all the beds in my house
34. knit a favorite sweater
35. teach my son how to cook
36. know exactly where all of my money is going and what it's doing for me
37. Live up to my middle name (Grace).
38. Visit Israel
39. Visit ethiopia
40. see the wildebeest migration in both the Masai Mara and the Serenghetti
41. sleep under the stars with my husband
42. Live in New York city
43. Learn more about partial differential equations
44. Have a room set aside as a library
45. ***redacted***
46. ***redacted***
47. have my own office
48. learn to bake without recipes
49. get paid to speak publicly
50. sing pub songs in Ireland
51. inspire someone to something great
52. do yoga every day
53. visit Prague
54. introduce myself to a famous author and have an interesting conversation
55. learn to program in C++
56. memorize every country in the world, so that I can list them on the spot
57. visit New Zealand and find an empty place to hang out in for a while
58. see Celtic ruins on the solstice
59. scuba dive on the great barrier reef
60. attend a Japanese tea ceremony
61. learn to surf
62. live in a house by the sea
63. learn to drive a stick shift
64. Go on an Isak-Dinesen-style-adventure
65. paint an oil painting
66. Become a professor
67. Get tenure
68. build a lab culture that makes a great place to work
69. teach a large course that students really like
70. cook and serve a 10 course meal
71. see Machu Picchu
72. circumnavigate
73. travel to space
74. celebrate my anniversary with my husband AND with our friends
75. learn better focus
76. read all of darwin's books
77. read lord of the rings
78. build a tree house
79. make turkduckin for holiday dinner
80. run a five k at a non-embarasing rate
81. keep fresh flowers in the house at all times
82. have window boxes
83. Visit Alaska with my close friend from Alaska
84. Go to a black-tie benefit with my friend who's already working on charity boards in her early twenties
85. buy myself nice jewelry
86. go to carnival in Rio
87. see the northern lights
88. travel somewhere so remote that you have to fly and land on a non-runway
89. get good at keeping in touch with people
90. ***redacted***
91. learn fair isle knitting
92. climb trees with my son
93. Make deliberate choices about when and how I work
94. walk on hot coals
95. Celebrate the solstice somewhere it doesn't really get dark
96. See the daily show, live
97. perform a strip tease, and do it well
98. learn to use my camera without presets
99. Travel to desert cultural sights on camel
100. Bid exorbitantly at a charity auction.