Unfinished Business!

I suppose one naturally assumes that writing a blog post about your Unfinished Business at 37 is a sure sign of a healthy mind! ;p Well, if you think this is another bucket list where I very originally envisage swimming with dolphins followed closely by bungee jumping in Machu Picchu, this is where you should hit the exit key! I can’t swim and I’m rather given to caution when I hear that the risks of a fatal accident from bungee jumping are roughly 1 in 500,000. That statistic actually scares me…yeah, I’m a real gambler at heart- I buy into the odds that the 1 in 500,000 could be ME!

venice, unfinished business, bucket lists, meaningful living,  travel, machu picchu

I tread a bit sceptically when it comes to regarding most published bucket lists; for frankly, entries like “falling in love” (mentioned in an astounding 87% of lists) is hardly something that happens as a result of a carefully engineered plan! I once (as part of my job) attended a marketing seminar that spoke about concretely visualising your goals as being a way of making sure they happen. We all came away with a pack of large, brightly coloured Post-it’s, (no points for guessing who one of the big sponsors were ;)) and for a long time, I stuck post-it’s everywhere, about everything (including telling myself that I’m gorgeous-drop dead gorgeous!)…And you know what? They actually did the job (bet the drop dead gorgeous one is still somewhere within reach–work in progress, that! ) But, apparently, writing down a goal gives you a 30% increased chance of achieving the target because a thought is not recognised as a call to action by your subconscious mind as is print, therefore the motivation you have toward that task is maximised by putting it in writing! Very compelling reasons for making lists – I know!

I often think of the industries that have come into existence to cater to the sole need of awkward, yet highly individualistic behaviour that needs to do things that veer away from the ‘sameyness’ of everyone’s life! Frankly, I find that very debatable when a sizeable population also wants to be a part of the ‘same’ , virtually identical, acquisitive lifestyle! Of course, the fuel that keeps the embers glowing is an attempt to surpass yourself – the acceptable face of competition! To go up higher, to win bigger, to attempt to answer the call for meaning and structure and silence the ancient questioning within.  And in our quest to complete this perfect picture of our victory-rich lives, we exist as a generation of urban ‘individualists’ bounding (at a skydiving pace, nonetheless) towards a collective end– alone!

venice, unfinished business, bucket lists, meaningful living,  travel, machu picchu
Exotic tea parlour!

Well, having just rubbished what at least a couple of million people take quite seriously, let me tell you what my unfinished business is about – and it’s not wanting to change the world- I gave up on that in my 20’s! I now just attempt to change the 6 square- feet of earth that I call mine, and hope that the ripple effect from there exponentially gives me street cred in the ‘change the world’ business!

I want to stop being a city girl, and by that I mean ‘cerebral’, I grew up in a small nuclear family with “Mattel” being the one of the most important words in my vocabulary, in a city that does not sleep! I know the names of a few flowers, recognize three trees to be precise and constantly feel like an outsider in nature. I want to feel a ccommunion – (no, I’m not in need of skirts made of hay and tie ‘n die kaftans despite loving Janis Joplin and most things Woodstock!)

I want to romance food – I’ve always had an unhealthy relationship with food. I’ve either feared food or I’ve craved it…I’ve never approached it as a friend who’ll nurture me and whose embrace I can accept with no strings attached! I think our culture’s taken that from us and the slew of magazines that celebrate food, even just bread in it’s rudimentary form is evidence of the fact that we’ve lost a deep connection with sustenance – of the most basic kind!


murano, burano, lace, venetian masks, venice, unfinished business, bucket lists, meaningful living,  travel, machu picchu

I want to raise compassionate, self-assured, spirited daughters who will not make mistakes that cost them their whole life to put right! I want them to know the value of asking for things politely and stopping to say thank you. Entitled, thankless people are the scourge of our times! I want them to have the strength to get up every time life knocks them down and say “Right, where were we again?!” and I hope that they’ll make good partners and good mums, and be loved enough by their families to be forgiven the mistakes they’ll make…

I want to know – and not just bookishly, that pine cones react differently to different temperatures and times of day; and that there are ways of living happily without a blow dryer or straighteners and an internet connection that allows me to upload a 10mb file in under five minutes! With every apocolyptic, dystopic film I watch, I realise how ill-suited most of us are to “living off the land”. I want to be able to grow my own anything really- coriander will do! And I want to grow my children up with a deeper connection to the earth than I will ever, naturally have!

venice, unfinished business, bucket lists, meaningful living,  travel, machu picchu

You know how all of us have events, people – choices that we made that served no purpose other than prove to us that we are totally capable of making ut-ter-ly rubbish decisions; (yeah, those)..I wish that someday I can truly lay the memory of them to rest! To be at peace with it without oscillating between the regret or the indifference…

I bet that some clever PR person somewhere thought that it might be nice to create some hype about people swimming with dolphins, and laughed his way to the bank just as filmmakers did with travel chick flicks…but naiively, I do yearn to be lost within a different culture- for a long enough time to not have to choose between identities.  And yes, I know that culturally and politically, there is no real way that will ever happen to me- but seriously, neither will watching a lunar eclipse while mattress-surfing happen to the poor bucket-lister who wishes it upon himself! The more I read, hear and discuss people’s plans as they course through life with carefully ‘curated’ lists; I wonder if maybe it is important that we live our lives in a quest for ‘organic’ meaning and ‘granular’ experience – but equally important too, is to realise that some “dreams” are intended to remain just that…dreams!

What do you dream about doing? Tell me, I’m listening … x

You might also enjoy reading :

“Arrivederci Roma!” – A Photo-essay.

Retro-Chic and the Cult of Neo-Sobriety!


*The pics used in this post were taken by me in Venice, Murano and Burano and used in an essay titled “The portrait of ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns!'”  long before the birth of The Intrepid Misadventurer x


  1. says

    In my early twenties I suffered several panic attacks as a result of living alone, with a mortgage and bills to pay, working 70 hour weeks being violently attacked ny mental health patients and having some ner-do-we’ll decide to try and ruin my life with viscous rumours. At that point, I changed my life and stopped wishing, I started doing. I had all the post its on my mirrors telling me I was beautiful and intelligent etc, but the main thing was deciding to be master of my own destiny. I moved jobs, moved house, got a lodger to ease the financial pressure and set about creating my space as a positive, bright place in which to live. I met my now husband and all the dreams started becoming reality, but I genuinely believe none of them would have, had I not made the changes I could instead of fantiscising that a knight in shining armour would rescue me!
    I also dream of growing my own, although anything but coriander, can’t stand the stuff 😉 xx

  2. says

    What a great post. I’m bored of reading regular bucket lists but it is good to have goals, and even better when they have more substance behind them than something silly you’ve been told you ought to do before you die so many times that you actually start to believe it. Swimming with dolphins is pretty cool too though 🙂 xx

  3. Kanchan Char says

    Wow, Hannah! That’s so much to go through and you’re so right in having taken control of your own life! That’s what I think is important, having goals that are more than adrenaline fixes. I see so many hipster friends who go from one thrill to another, it’s like living back to back against these tick-off itineraries they’ve built for themselves…I find it so hard to palate. I couldn’t be happier for you finding Phil and building this beautiful life together. I really wisg you every good thing, you very beautiful and very intellingent person! No need for any post-it’s there…the writing’s on the wall! x

  4. Kanchan Char says

    LOL about the dolphins, I bet one of my children are going to have it as a life goal, just because I’ve rubbished it! 😛 You know what kids are like!! I feel ‘old’ when I read bucket lists that are thrill-seeking, I’m one of those boring people who gets scared of ferris wheel rides, so there….strike off the entire bucket-list industry for me 🙂 Thank you for liking the post… so glad I didn’t send you snoozing ;P xx

  5. says

    I did a day zero list which was quite cool, although I didn’t complete it in the 1001 days required, but I did manage some things.

    I’d like to have simple things…a family holiday (as my OH works 7 days a week and has never really been out with us as a family anywhere, let along on hols), a nice family photo – or in fact any family photo that’s in focus!

    But then I’ve also had childhood dreams – ice skating in central park (missed that opportunity so maybe I’ll manage the outdoor skating this year now N’s a bit older).
    Emma T recently posted…Trendy Thursday’s purple hazeMy Profile

  6. Kanchan Char says

    Thank you for understanding that my rant wasn’t about not having aspirations! 🙂 I really hope that you do get to ice-skate in Central Park, it’s a phenomenal, if daunting experience! And of course, the family holiday 😉 xx

  7. says

    My dreams? Hmm not very exciting really just for my life to continue as it is, no wait that is exciting for me at least because I love where my life is at right now. Oh and I hate lists, even if they are big business in fact because they are big business that is more likely to make me run a mile in the opposite direction………and just because I can I just posted about lists!
    sustainablemum recently posted…ListsMy Profile

  8. says

    Time for a little comment here too 😉
    I couldn’t agree more, as I’ve already told you. For quite a long time I just thought I was unable to succeed in anything because I find goal setting so difficult – I even wrote a post about it, setting little goals for July, or rather tiny steps to finding meaning in life.
    I can totally relate to the goals/intentions you have set for yourself (the one about being a city girl made me smile…) and mine look much the same. Ultimately, I think, I strive to lead a life with purpose and intention, and not being pushed into one way or another by the noise coming from social media, friends, family, work mates, and sometimes even my own aspirations.
    So, and now I’ll get to work on handing in that overdue assignment that has been haunting me all week… Have a lovely weekend! X

  9. Kanchan Char says

    So pleased to meet you here, Elisabeth! 🙂 When I read your little goals for June, I said to myself I had better use the same steps mainly because I am a dreamer, and a very, very disorganised one at that! It helps compartmentalizing things and making sure you stick to it. I think I’m going to assign one day a week to switching off from the internet, I wonder what that would even feel like! 🙂 x

  10. Kanchan Char says

    This is just what I was saying on my Instagram feed, Jen..that life experience seems to obliterate the need for this meticulous planning and ordering of life. Being ill, of course is one of the big ways you realise you are not in control of your future! My bug bear with bucket listing is the total death of in-the-minute living, it’s altogether too planned and lacking spontaneity for me. That said, to each his own, I suppose to those that do it, our perspective must seem out of sync with meaning 🙂 x

  11. Roopa says

    This is becoming my favourite reading spot 🙂 Some things are best left undone. And my hope is to make peace with that. Prone to drifting and dreaming, I struggle with having to recognize a fantasy for what it is – and just let it be. Not one to ‘seek out dolphins’ I’ve learnt to find anchorage in the here and now.

  12. says

    Awesome post Kanchan! I love your thoughts on the kind of life you want to live and the parent you want to be, and agree with you about the ridiculousness of many bucket lists. I’ve taken a slightly different view to them.

    I was bedridden/ housebound for a number of years back in the late 90’s and into the 00’s. On one hand that made me realise and appreciate just how awesome everyday life is, and made me incredibly content living a “normal” life. I’m grateful for it every single day. Saying that, it also made me more inclined to go after my dreams. Not just dream them, but go after them. So I have a list of goals that I call a life list. I find that term a whole lot more affirming than bucket list. It’s not really a thrill-seeking one, but a simple list of goals (and manageable steps to help me reach them) to help me live the life I feel I was meant for (not in a narcissistic entitled sort of way, just making the most of my skills and interests to be comfortable in my own skin and help others)

    Sorry for the novel (well you did say you were interested in my response 😉 )
    Carin recently posted…Reflections on Britmums Live 2014My Profile

  13. Kanchan Char says

    I so understand what you mean Roops… I do feel that people have lost contact with the here and now and it’s all about the future…or maybe because we’re all reduced to numbers and “profiles”, we feel the need to assert individuality in an unprecedented way. Here and now babes, here and now 😉

  14. Kanchan Char says

    Carin, thank you for taking the post in the spirit it was meant…I mentioned earlier to Jen that (comment below) that experience does away with this sort of premeditated living. You never know how your life will be nothing stronger to drive home that point that illness! All of us have goals, we’re not zombies floating through a thoughtless existance, but meaning is being reduced to experiences, and from personal experience, a lot of these tick-off bullet points leave you feeling decimated in an unprecedented way! I have lists in my head, I want to go live in Scandinavia, you have to know me five minutes for me to mention that ;P I bet I’ve told you at BML 🙂 I thought you were an intelligent, warm person with a very generous personality, so glad our paths crossed! Give me the novel, I asked for it and I enjoyed it, thank you for taking the time! 🙂 x

  15. Lorraine Seb says

    This is such a beautifully worded post, every word you said in your conclusion completely resonated with me. I wish more people thought a bit more about the real and organic meaning they wish to incorporate into their lives… We have so much to learn, everyday, by just being open to life.

  16. Kanchan Char says

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Lorraine! To be open to life and the myriad opportunities that are available to rise above the regular! X

  17. says

    I’m thrilled that this spoke to you, Merlinda 🙂 I seriously believe that most of us want the same things out of life, and that we are so, so similar, it’s foolish to build all he barriers we do! x

  18. says

    Those are some wonderful goals! I think all too often we look at the material things we aspire to gain, yet forget about the importance of nature, manners, community and family. Thank you for reminding me!
    Visiting you from brilliant blog posts
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  19. Kanchan Char says

    Nature, family, manners, community and family — what more could one really need?! thank you for stopping by Kyla, I love a new face 🙂 xx

  20. says

    This was just beautiful-thoughtful, poignant, reflective as much as foreward thinking, dreams and yearning.

    I think holidays allow me to lose myself within different cultures and identities as do my screenplays and filmmaking when I have chance to do/work on those.

    I get to be shaymanistic, appropriate different personas and live vicariously through my characters and subjects.

    I think it’s always a balancing act of placing and pursuing dreams within your reality but I’ll never stop dreaming so please don’t you! There is so, so much I want to achieve and experience. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts
    Honest Mum recently posted…Papa G’s Birthday PartyMy Profile

  21. says

    Thank you Vicki, amazing that you get to do all these totally fantastic things! Totally agree about grounding dreams within reality, and no…I’m way too whimsical to ever stop living in some fantasy land 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. xx

  22. says

    I love that you dream of resilience and spirit for your daughters EXACTLY what I wish for mine (and not ever to partner up with anyone lazy or selfsih or unkind) I want them to know who they are and not be a slave to trends yes I too want them to be thankful and grateful and to pause and look at and love life. And you have made me cry! Thanks for joining the britmums carnival
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  23. says

    Ahh I was wondering about the photos!
    It’s timely that I read this, as I consider making a family adventure bucket list, and revamp my pinterest boards to reflect our new desires. I can’t believe 87% of bucket lists contain falling in love! Just goes to show that most of them must be written by teenagers – and what on earth do the young need with a bucket list??
    I think a bucket list is probably something that needs to be undertaken at regular intervals in life. We have just arrived at a point where our children are old enough to enjoy more adventurous travels, eat more like an adult, but still young enough to want to be with their parents. I plan to make the most of this phase. Beyond that, I haven’t really thought about it 🙂
    Actually Mummy… recently posted…Expressions #14: Extreme thrills on the Flowrider!My Profile

  24. says

    I agree with you Helen, you do have to rethink lists/priorities to adjust to real life situations. And sadly, the 87% also include a large percentage of adults… love probably eludes us a lot more these days 😉 We’re at the same stage with our girls and so I get what you mean about getting a bit braver with the travels!x


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