I have now lived in the same location longer than I have since moving out of my parents house 8 years ago. I didn’t realize this when I moved out, but I quickly became comfortable moving in, packing out and changing location to a point where that became the norm. I feel like I have to compensate for not moving by traveling or exploring in some way.
I was sitting, thinking about what I am really looking for. I realized I have many adventures in my head, but no conception of what it would actually take to make any of them happen. Thus, the list was born.
The list contains two columns, and many things that I want to do before I die. Among these are adventures varying from starting a Hobie Cat Class in the Duluth Sailing Association to climbing Mt Denali.
On the right (apparently I am writing right to left now…) I listed the things that I think I ought to do before settling down and having a family. I haven’t decided yet if these are things that I could do in a relationship before kids or if they need to be things I do completely on my own, but I guess that depends on who finds me.
On the left, I wrote the things that I could conceivably do while raising kids and having a family. These are generally more moderate things, and it will probably make some of you laugh out loud when you hear the things that I think I can do while there are toddlers pooping and screaming and running around at home. Once again, I suppose it depends on who I decide to live with.
Since making the list a couple weeks ago, several things have already been added. I have no doubt that I will never complete all the things that I put on the list. There are simply too many things to do in the world, but it does give me a good chunk of activities to work for each weekend.
Some of the items on the right side of the paper include: living in Alaska, climbing Denali, sail in the ocean in the Caribbean, and big wall climbing. The things like climbing and sailing lend themselves well to participating with other people, although I am not counting on them being the same people.
On the left side, I wrote, among other things: exploring glacial caves in Greenland/AK, Running 100 miles, starting a sailing club for small catamarans, getting a masters degree, and teaching abroad for an international school. Now that I put these down, I see that I probably won’t be bringing any children into the glacial caves, but that’s why I write things. I can see how ridiculous they are before I try them. Now I have time to recategorize that and do it sooner.
Another reason this list exists is because of all the people I see getting sucked into the daily grind. “The daily grind” shouldn’t exist at all. The fact that it is a thing that people say, and that I say, is a glaring indicator that I need to rethink the way that I am approaching my work and my life. Good things aren’t always easy, and I realize that teaching isn’t as hunky-dory as we all thought it was going to be when we were in college, but it shouldn’t be a grind. This led me to the question that I have been chasing since I started college and discovered that I could choose to do literally anything:
If you have a choice between boring and Awesome, why do so many people choose boring? How can I choose Awesome?
So many people look at explorers and adventurers and say, “Wow! I wish I could do that.” The only thing stopping you from that is yourself not going and doing it! Maybe there are some financial or physical boundaries, but you can get pretty damn close to doing whatever you want–you just have to actually go do the stuff.
So of course I start getting all worried. What if I am living my life boring? I decided I’m not, but I’m also not quite living my life amazing either. I am doing pretty good, but there’s lots of room for improvement. The last few summers, I have been mostly based at home. While Duluth is great, and I always plan to return, it is important to get out and live somewhere else for some time. I have lived in Germany, on the Gunflint and in Tucson. I don’t know where I am going next, but I know that I’m not done traveling.
Here’s to celebrating the places we’ve been, and to the places we’ll go.