Friday, April 10, 2009

listing through a midlife crisis

Whether we write them down or not, we all keep some kind of list of what we want to do with our lives. Last week, my friend Andromeda posted her list of books to read in the next 5 years to fill in the gaps, so to speak. Classics, more recent fiction, future award winners. I like the idea of the future books because the quintessential book for this decade may still be just an outline on a yet-unknown author's laptop.

Now, I'm not typically a list maker. Even when I do make a list, it's sometimes just so I can cross off things I've already done. Laundry: check! But lists have a place in our lives as a way to sort our thoughts. The very fact that I'm not good at lists probably means I need them more than anyone. Without them, my days off work slip by until I'm another year older and haven't done, well, that thing that's on my long-term list.

This year will be another milestone year. I'm in the midst of the decade for midlife crises, the perfect time to start lists, right? So, I'll try to make this brief. My list is for places I want to visit. Because one thing I'd like to do is to fill my passport so that I'll need a new one. Now that Canada is a passport-required country, I'll start there:
1) Western Canada - I'd like to visit my friends Mary & Peter in Whitehorse.
2) Eastern Canada - I'd also like to visit Nova Scotia & Newfoundland.
3) Japan - In high school I became good friends with a girl from Japan. We've lost and found and lost each other over the years. Once I find her again, I'm going.
4) Ireland - ah, the mother country to some of the ancestors. On my list since I was a kid.
5) England - because it's right on the way, I'm part English and just because.
6) Morocco - because I want to see and feel northern Africa for myself.
7) Germany & Poland - I feel drawn to visit and I'll explain when I get back.
8) Italy - It's only this far down on the list because I was there a year ago. I want to go back with Jon to bicycle around. Or backpack. And sit at a cafe table in a piazza watching a water fountain.
9) France - by bicycle. Eating, drinking and pedaling.
10) Russia - starting with St Petersburg, and beyond, on the condition that our Russian-speaking friend can join us and translate!

Part 2 - I know I mentioned biking in the first section, but here's my Where I want to bike tour list (for some I won't even need a passport):
1) Continental Divide trail. I want to ride the entire length in one season.
2) Northern U.S. - I'd like to ride across the country, the northern route (with some variations).
3) China, Nepal, Tibet, India. By bike or backpack, I want to visit these countries.
4) Australia - I like the idea of going to a southern hemisphere country during our winter (as we did with New Zealand a few years back) for a bike tour.
5) ...

This is just a start of my list. But when I began it the other day, it surprised me how much better I felt about this upcoming summer bike season and the goals I've set for myself. I no longer feel that I won't have time to visit these places before the body starts its decline into old age (quiet, you people who haven't hit four-oh yet!) In fact it all seems very organized. Now, if I could only decide what book to read next.

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