And then I want to do this!
Bearing that in mind, I (knowing, and accepting only grudgingly that I am mortal) have decided that this is what I want to do before I die. It is my ultimate personal list. You will have to devise your own. I'd love to hear about yours.
1) I want to go back to Rarotonga. I want to go back without the duress of 9/11, as happened last time I was in that tropical paradise. I want to go back to see if I can get more of that Pacific within me. And when I've done that, I want to explore more of that same Pacific. So, my simple requests: an unlimited amount of time; an unlimited amount of money; and wings of my own to glide over that ocean.
2) I must return to Kauai as many times as I am allowed tby longevityty, health and money. It's my blessed place. How can I therefore deny it?
3) I want to have my book published, and then I want to write others. As many others as 'my' time will permit. I want their sales to make me stinking rich. Oh well, if not stinking rich, then to earn me at least enough so that it doesn't really matter if I have another published.
4) I want to travel the whole of North America by train. I've gone across Canada, and all over Europe, so I want to familiarize myself with the rest of the continent while sitting back in a comfortable compartment, beverage in hand, good book beside me, and watching the world go by.
5) I'd like to read War and Peace and Ulysses in their entiretybuttI know I won't. Not this time around, anyway. Like most other readers, I have perused the dirty parts of Ulysses, and I suppose that if you consider the midnight musings of Molly Bloom to be the only part of note, because they are horny, then really the task is done.
6) I once thought I wanted to make love to every attractive woman I ever happened upon, and especially those of my acquaintance whom I happened to 'like' very very much. And God knows I gave it the college try in the past. I don't think I want to do that any longer. I'll cut the 'every' down to just a select few in my fantasy realm.
7) I'd like to win big on the lottery, just so that I wouldn't need to worry at all about money for the rest of my life, and then I would be able to devote my waking hours to worrying other things.
8) I'd like to travel to many, many places. I recently heard from a close friend who had just returned from a trip to Laredo, Texas to visit her grown daughter who works on a horse ranch down there. She said she now has itchy feet. Her professing that gave me itchy feet by proxy. I'd like to go to Laredo, too. Not that I'd ever thought of Laredo in the past, but yeah, it seems like a nice idea. And, if I had a friend who had just returned from Sarasota or Helsinki, or anywhere else I haven't been, I'd like to go there, too. In fact, I'd like to go virtually anywhere that I never before considered. But, maybe I don't have the time. I have another friend who is near the end of a two-year sabbatical in Egypt. She is divorced, her kids are grown, and when the opportunity arose for her, she just said: "Fuck it, I'm going." Actually, I do not know if she said, "Fuck it," because she's quite lady-like, but that is what I would have said. Anyway, she is loving it all, and writes to tell me all about the bazaars, the oases, the caftan-covered creeps who slathered over her beautiful adult daughter when the girl came to visit Mom, and the noise and clutter of the streets of Cairo. Now, when her stay is over, she is going to South Korea for a year. I admire her so much for doing that, and am ashamed to admit that I might not have the chutzpah to do such a thing, and that makes me admire her all the more.
9) I would like to be free from all fear. I would cherish reaching a state of full acceptance of the perversities of life, and attain a Zen-like state of seeing it all as a manifestation of a natural order. This has grown to be an increasingly pressing desire as I've aged. At the same time, I am less afraid of such trivia as making or not making the grade socially. It is not that I think I am socially undesirable; I just give less of a damn about such irrelevant matters as making a good impression.
10) I would like to recapture some of my losses. Not financial losses. Money lost is experience gained. Good and bad experience. But there are people losses I regret. Sometimes the contacts in our lives are at different levels at the same time. While a soul connection may have existed, the other stuff wasn't a fit. We have all kissed friends and lovers goodbye in the past, probably not prematurely, but at just the right point. Problem is, we change and grow and reach a point where we know instinctively the thing would now work. But, the time has passed, and now it wouldn't work for the other. We fall into the "if only" trap, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it other than to bask in a reminiscence of a time past. A mark of maturity is to recognize that a then can rarely become a now. Don't try to get it back. The potential for heartache is too great. So, before I die, I am not going to try to "go back".
11) I want to be confident that despite all the wrong things I've done in my life, I'm held in decent esteem, and I hope that the good I've accomplished will outweigh the bad when the final tally is made. This is nothing to do with ego, but what I consider a functional human being's purpose. We have to be here for some reason. Hope i is s a good one. If we have a purpose, then part of it has to be our role in helping others; making a dent, as it were. In that context, maybe I can then hope, if I have need, that somebody might help me. That is a pretty fair trade-off.
12) I want to quit wasting time. Throughout my life I have spent a lot of time in FTD pursuits. FTD is less politely known as Fucking the Dog. Or, as the more refined amongst you would have it; having carnal knowledge of the canine. Wasting precious moments and harboring an attitude that suggests I'm gonna live forever, so I can procrastinate, I can defer decisions, I can be steeped in reality denial, I cannot be bothered to fix what can be fixed. Then one day -- and it sneaks up on you gradually when you are wasting time and you realize the time is running out. All the 'things' you wanted to get to are demanding more time than you might have. It is a sensation that assumes omnipresence past a certain age; I'm not certain just how much time I do have left. That was always actually the case, but earlier I was less aware of a looming figure, shrouded in black and carrying a scythe. So, I don't want to waste any more time.
I want to do the things I've a mind to do, and I want to do them as soon as possible. A while ago I got back to painting. Years ago I did watercolors and, while they weren't necessarily of Louvre quality in their artistry,they were OK. I liked them. Even a few others liked them. But, more importantly, this act of creativity took me away from my other stuff and I could get immersed in a world over which I had control, since I have no control whatsoever over the 'real' world. Then, for whatever reason, about a dozen years ago, I stopped doing my art. I didn't consciously stop doing it; I just didn't get around to it. My paints got hard and worthless, and God only knows what happened to my brushes. Some of my favorite paintings I gave as gifts to a former wife and she, as testament to some sort of support for my dubious talent, I guess, refused to return them to me when we parted our ways. A backhanded compliment in a way. She may not have liked me very much, but she did like my work. Something in the context of Dylan Thomas being a loathsome boor of a human being who happened to write divine poetry. About two years ago I got back to painting.
At first my hand was shaky and initially I lacked confidence that I could do it at this later stage in my life. My first attempts were, in my esteem, pretty pathetic, and amateurish. But then, slowly, my renderings became more respectable. Dare I say "good?" No, I don't yet dare say that. But, "satisfactory", maybe even OK would work. Satisfactory for me, at least. In the area of painting, therefore, I had stopped wasting time. It felt, and continues to feel good, and now we are running out of wall-space and I'm thinking of calling the Louvre, or at least Joe's Art Gallery and Small Engine Repair.