Tag Archives: reading the bible

Tips for Adulthood: Five Things To Do Before You Die

bible

bibleOn occasional Wednesdays, I offer tips for adulthood.

We all have those lists, whether formalized or not. One of my friends wants to run a marathon on all seven continents. (I think he’s up to four or five by now.) Another has sworn that she’ll open her own coffee import/export business.

Obviously, every person’s bucket list will be different. So the advice here is really to create your own list and then figure out how you can begin moving towards realizing some of your goals.

I’ll go first.

Read the rest of this post over on Better After 50

Image: Bible by Nick Youngson via the Blue Diamond Gallery

Tips For Adulthood: Five Things To Do Before You Die

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

Over on Middle-Age Cranky, Howard Baldwin has a great post entitled Oh, The Places You’ll Go. In it, he lists all the places he’s always wanted to visit but which for various reasons – political strife, travel restrictions, inertia – have remained “off limits.” And now, as he settles into middle age, he wonders if he’ll ever actually make it to any of them.

I loved this post because it reminds us that as we get older, we start to fashion our proverbial “bucket lists” –  a list of all the things we want to do before we  die. I’m not talking here about the small stuff – e.g. losing five pounds, finally visiting Great Aunt Sally on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I’m talking about those bigger, more daunting challenges that we set for ourselves because they speak to some deep-seated desire or personal quest.

We all have those lists, whether formalized or not. One of my friends wants to run a marathon on all seven continents. (I think he’s up to four or five by now.) Another has sworn that she’ll open her own coffee import/export business.

These Wednesday posts are meant to serve as advice, but obviously, every person’s bucket list will be different. So the advice here is really to create your own list and then figure out how you can begin moving towards realizing some of your goals.

I’ll go first:

1. Read the bible. Yeah, I realize that this might sound kind of pedantic. But the fact is, while I’ve read assorted sections of the bible – and attended religious education classes for something like 12 years – I don’t really feel like I have a very good handle on the Good Book in its entirety. So I’d actually like to sit down and read it – start to finish – and see what I make of it. (And yes, I do know that I could just use David Plotz’ book as crib notes, but that feels like cheating.)

2. Perform In Community Theater. Coming from someone who has openly admitted her fondness for Show Tunes and her abiding love of Glee!, this particular goal shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise. But this is one of those elusive goals that keeps getting away from me. I took a drama class a few years back and one of my classmates now performs at various small venues around London. He’s kept his day job (as a banker) but he has clearly made drama a priority in his life. And every time he invites me to one of his performances, I feel simultaneously happy for him that he’s pursued this goal…and envious.

3. Take a safari. I’m not a big animal lover. But the idea of taking a Safari through Africa and seeing all those animals out in the wild has always captured my imagination. Who knows? Perhaps I’m just secretly hoping that a monkey will take a photograph of me.

4. Learn a new language. I love languages. I majored in Spanish and French in college. But I’d love to really challenge myself and learn a really difficult language, like Arabic or Chinese, as an adult. Or even Finnish. And then go spend a lot of time in a country that speaks that language. Oh to be 21 again.

5. Learn to Drive In the U.K. Enough said.

What’s crazy about this list is that – with the possible exception of the Safari – these are all eminently doable. And yet, I still haven’t managed to get any of them done. Which I suspect may be true for others as well.

So spill it. What’s on your bucket list? Tap Dancing? Machu Picchu? Cordon Bleu?

Do tell.

 

Image: 2011.01.01 Bible by Gerard’s World via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Revealed Preferences: Why You (Really) Don't Have Photo Albums

Judith Warner had a nice post the other day on her blog, Domestic Disturbances.

The topic was expectations.

In recounting three different conversations she’d had that week, she’d come to terms with the fact that there were several areas in her life where she just wasn’t doing what she “ought” to be doing:

The weeds choking the garden. The hundreds of digital photos that no one has ever seen. The kid-art that hasn’t been hung. All these undone things, all these instances in which I Fail to Meet Expectations (according to the imaginary report card I update every day), derive their urgency for me from the sense that, if did meet performance standards, then I would be living my life to the fullest.

I could relate. I, too, walk around with what I call my “Panel of Elders” – a semi-circle of aging wise men who collectively monitor my every move. The Supreme Court meets Mt. Rushmore, if you will.

And there’s a lot to be said for Warner’s punchline:  that we just need to let go. Stop letting the perfect be the enemy of the good and all that.

Amen, sister.

Upon reflection, however, I think that the take-away point here extends beyond just lowering the bar. I think it’s also about being honest with ourselves about what we really enjoy and letting the rest fall by the wayside.

Economists have a wonderful concept – revealed preferences – which, in layman’s terms, means something like: “What you want is revealed by what you do, not by what you say.”

To take one of Warner’s examples, I actually know plenty of people who keep up-to-date photo albums or figure out some ingenious (and eye-catching) mechanism for storing their kids’ art projects. I’m just not one of them. Having never been a terribly “crafty” person, I just don’t like that sort of thing. (Which may explain why my own kids’ art projects currently spill haplessly out of a makeshift cardboard box. From time to time, rather than sort them out I simply dump a few into the trash, at which point my 5 year old invariably fishes them out as proof that I don’t really love her.)

By the same token, I always feel like I should be doing some combination of:  taking an art appreciation course…deciding what religion I ought to be…learning how to swim properly…re-reading the bible (Thank heavens David Plotz already has that last one covered for me.) The list goes on.

But when I’m honest with myself about who I really am (every third Thursday of every second month in leap year), I  recognize that I don’t actually enjoy most of those things. Or at least I don’t enjoy them enough to already be doing them. Or I would be.

So the next time you find yourself at war with your super ego over that avant garde French Film course you really should be taking (Is that just me??) – catch yourself and just say “no.” Or simply: “I don’t prefer.”

Image: Hand Made Photo Album by bettysoo via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.