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!
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!
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!
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!
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
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*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