My Fortune


El Cóndor Pasa


For reasons I cannot explain
There’s some part of me wants to see Graceland,
And I may be obliged to defend
Every love every ending
Or maybe there’s no obligations now.
Maybe I’ve a reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland.

OK, I don’t really have any great desire to see Graceland.

But I would kind of like to hear “Graceland.”

I don’t know that I’ll get the chance, but I’m really not concerned about it. Today, I’m buying my ticket to see Simon & Garfunkel in April.

I had a conversation over a year ago about places I would want to travel, and I really didn’t have an answer as far as destinations. Part of that was that at that point I was less excited about traveling; part of it was that up to that point my life really hadn’t been conducive to it, so I hadn’t given it a lot of thought; and part of it was something that I really wasn’t able to put words to until I watched Slumdog Millionaire a few months later. It would never have occurred to me to want to go to the places in that movie; there’s no way they would have made it onto any sort of list. But if I’m ever going to travel overseas, and I do hope to someday, I want to go somewhere different. I’m less interested in what I see than what I experience. Yeah, it would be cool to see Big Ben or the Great Pyramids or the Mona Lisa in person, but I’d be less interested than seeing the reality of things I’ve seen photos of than in experiencing something totally alien to me, something that has nothing to do with my world and my life.

Now, granted, I say that as someone who, at least when it comes to other countries, has done neither. Actually seeing the Eiffel Tower may be cool in ways that I couldn’t understand until I do so, and I’m willing to acknowledge that possibility.

But, pressured during the conversation way back when to come up with an answer, I said I would want to go see Paul Simon. Not really a destination, to be sure, but something I want to do, and something that would involve travel.

I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had the chance to see most of my favorite artists in person, from U2 down to Sarah Masen. A few months before that conversation, I had the chance to see Lori McKenna, pretty much completing my list, save for Paul Simon.

I’ve had several concert-related conversations recently, and that reminded me about that discussion, and so I decided, OK, I need to get serious about doing this. And, like I said, next month, I will.

To be honest, I would have preferred to see him solo, but, you know, I’m not gonna complain about the chance to see Simon & Garfunkel together. I can live with that.

It’s already been a pretty decent year. I’ve finally seen a shuttle night launch. I’ve finally seen B.B. King do a real concert. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon. I’ve finally eaten at a Brazilian-style restaurant. All since January 1. Not bad.

I’ve never had a Bucket List, a list of stuff to do before I die. Part of that is because I’m not that imaginative — I couldn’t come up with cool things to do, and I do cooler things that I could come up with. (The Zero G flight? Yeah, never would have dared dream that one. I road the Goliath roller coaster at Six Flags just the year before the flight, and firmly believed that would be as close to weightlessness as I would ever get.)

But the B.B. King concert and the Brazilian lunch come close; those have both been things I’ve been interested in for years. The shuttle launch in general had been a long-standing goal, but I crossed that off last May, and the night launch had only been a goal since then. The Grand Canyon was just completely lagniappe.

The last year of my life, and particularly 2010, however, have made me start thinking a little bit more about the idea of a bucket list. Like I said, I’ve never really been one to dream big, and part of that is because there are so many reasons not to do the cool things. In the last year, though, I’ve started finding out what happens if you stop letting those things stop you.

So what do I populate that list with? The trick is, I want them to be things I want to do, and I want them to be doable. I would love to visit the space station, but I’m not going to put that on the list, because realistically there’s a decent chance it’s not going to happen. And I don’t want to populate the list with things that I don’t really expect to do; it would make it easier to write off the others as well. The trick is to know what’s a reasonable constraint, and what’s just naysaying and fear.

I want to, and will, see Paul Simon.

I want to skydive. (I think — back in October, I found I was unable to jump from a rope swing into a lake. For some reason, I think skydiving would be easier, but that may be stupid.) It would be a cool experience, and it’s something I could realistically do.

I want to go on an overnight hiking trip. I’ve started hiking in the past year, but the Walls of Jericho is the most “serious” hiking I’ve done, and that’s really pretty low-end. I want to do something that is really a different type of experience from what I’ve been doing.

On the far end, I want to leave the country. I have no idea what that looks like yet, so it’s not officially on the list. I’ve been thinking about a foreign mission trip, but feel like I need a greater call before doing that. I’d be interested in doing a Carribean cruise at some point, but that’s still a ways off, and depending on where it goes, don’t know if that would qualify as adequately “foreign.” So this one’s still in development.

So there’s the very rough beginnings of thinking about a list.

What’s on yours?

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