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Forty Before Forty (with a Wanderlist too)

I never been on a railroad, as many times as they pass me by
I never crashed in the desert or seen a rodeo
I don’t know much about the world wars or Vietnam
I’ve yet to read about Uncle Tom
Never climbed a real rock or seen Colorado
Am I the son I think I am
Am I the friend I think I am
Am I the man I think I wanna be – hey
I never had a day where money didn’t get in my way
I never listened to much Elvis
I can’t remember a warm December
Am I the son I think I am
Am I the friend I think I am
Am I the man I think I wanna be – hey
Cause I’m here for my sanity sanity
I am here for you
I’m here for your fantasy sanity, I am here
I am
Am I the son I think I am
Am I the friend I think I am
Am I the man I think I wanna be
Cause I’m here for my sanity sanity I am here for you
Whether or not I’m walkin in
Whether or not I’m walkin out
I’m always here for you

- I Am, Train

The other day, I was sitting on a train making its way north in Vietnam, and this song came on my Ipod.  Something about this song always gets me.  I think all of us want to be a certain type of person, and at some point in your life, you have to either be that person or realize that person just isn’t you.

The irony was not lost on me that now, I do know something about Vietnam.  And the only thing passing me by was the scenery, not railroads.  Not to mention that I can remember a warm December.

I turn 32 today.  And I’m not getting any younger.  If it is one thing taking this trip made me realize, it’s that if there’s something I want in life, it’s up to me to do something about it.

So, I’ve created a list.  A list of dreams, you could say.  I’ve been thinking about creating a list of dreams for a long time.  I think I first read about the concept from Chris, over at Notes from the Trenches (one of the first blogs I ever read and one of my favorites to this day).  Karen at Chookooloonks calls hers a Mighty Life List.  I’m a visual person; I like seeing things spelled out in front of me.  Having it all there in black and white appeals to me.  I don’t view this as a to-do list; I’m sure I will look at some of these things at 40 and laugh.  Many won’t get crossed off.  Maybe some will take me more than eight years.  Half the things on this list are contradictory or just a small seed of thought in the back of my mind.  I’ll probably change my mind a million times, anyway.  But I think it will be interesting, at 40, to see who the 32-year-old me thought she wanted to be.  And writing down your dreams is the first little step to taking that giant one.

Without further adieu, here’s my Forty Before Forty:

1. Figure out what I want to be when I grow up. (Might as well just start with the big one).
2. Find a job that doesn’t make me miserable.
3. Take the plunge and stop being DINKS (or more accurately as of late, NINKS) and have some rugrats.
4. Learn how to drive a stick shift.
5. Live in a house, with original character, that is finished. (Might as well dream big!)
6. Eat smaller portions and less meat.
7. Compost.
8. Grow a flower and vegetable garden.
9. Write a novel.
10. Live in a foreign country for a year.
11. Become fluent in Spanish, preferably by spending some time in a Spanish-speaking country.
12. Make yogurt, mozzarella cheese, and bread from scratch.
13. Make pierogies from scratch with my cousin Karen.
14. Take a photography class.
15. Become scuba certified.
16. Start shooting my camera in manual mode.
17. Can fresh local vegetables for use in winter.
18. Decorate with fresh flowers for Chinese/Vietnamese New Year.
19. Live by the ocean.
20. Own a shop/cafe with fair trade products and tasty treats.
21. Open a bed & breakfast.
22. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Sean, Danielle, Matt and Tony in a different locale each year.
23. Bake apple pie just like my mom’s.
24. Ride a bike to work.
25. Be a tourist in my own city.
26. Become friends with someone who owns a boat.
27. Bind together a book of my blog posts.
28. Create a photo album of our trip.
29. Get caught up and resume making photo albums of everyday life. (I think I’m somewhere in 2008? Who knows).
30. Finish the photo album of our house renovations. (Probably should have done this before we sold the house last year!)
31. Keep blogging after we return home.
32. Join the library again.
33. Stop talking about volunteering and do it.
34. Learn from the Europeans and spend more time appreciating beauty, lingering at cafes, and taking more vacation time.
35. Go on a girls’ trip, finally.
36. See Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band play in Idaho.
37. Live in a walkable community and walk whenever I can.
38. Perfect a chocolate chip cookie recipe.
39. Keep on experiencing my Wanderlist!
40. Be a person who creates happiness instead of a person who complains about not being happy.

And, because all of my travel related dreams often take on a life of their own, I created a sure to be never ending Wanderlist:

1. Stop neglecting Canada. (Because it is true that all I know about Canada I know from HIMYM. And the South Park movie).
2. Take a road trip from Vancouver to LA.
3. Visit “our” bakery in France again.
4. Try all different types of Belgian waffles in Belgium (and eat Pierre Marcolini chocolate again. And since I’m over there, drink lots of beer).
5. Eat my way through Italy.
6. Eat real Mexican in Mexico.
7. Go to Madagascar and see cool animals.
8. See the Great Migration before it disappears.
9. Visit an island in the South Pacific.
10. Go to the Caribbean without being on an all-inclusive trip.
11. Enjoy life in small villages in Spain.
12. Go to Cork, Ireland. (We missed it this time around).
13. Go to Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. (Ditto).
14. Drink beers at breweries throughout the Czech Republic.
15. Return to the Andaman Islands in 10 years.
16. Get the courage and strength to visit India again.
17. Go on a microbrewery tour in the United States.
18. Take a cooking class in Italy, Germany, China, and Mexico.
19. Board the next plane or train going anywhere.
20. Drink malbec in Argentina or Peru; sauvigon blanc in New Zealand; and shiraz in Australia.
21. Drive a VW Beetle throughout Southeast Asia. Or South America. Or Central America. Where ever. I’m not picky.
22. Take a cross-country road trip.
23. Take a trip entirely based on food.
24. Visit all 50 states.
25. Travel in South America, especially Argentina.
26. Learn how to make pastries in France.
27. Explore the Deep South.
28. See koalas and kangaroos in Australia.
29. Go to Thailand during mango season.
30. Explore other boroughs in NYC besides Manhatten.
31. Trace our roots in Germany.
32. Go where the live music is.
33. Go white water rafting at Ohiopyle.

To be continued…


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