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Five things I want to do in my life

November 29, 2012
Iceland House

Someone probably built this house by hand. (Skaftafell Park, Iceland)

I used to have a “30 things to do before I’m 30” list. While I didn’t accomplish everything on it, I gave it a try (25/30). I figure I got the big things done: Before 30 I managed to save up some money (which is allowing me to have an extended unemployment as I find something I really want to do, rather than just jumping back into an unfulfilling role), I established a career, I traveled a lot (celebrating the big 3-0 solo in Japan last year), I fell in love with a man with whom I’d like to explore the rest of my life, and I think I have a better grasp on who I am then I ever did in my 20s.

So instead of having a short-term deadline like last time, I’m looking big picture.

Five things I want to do in my life:

1. Build a house.  While I might get some help for the electrical and plumbing, I want to come up with the design, to nail boards together, to install fixtures, and to paint walls. This sounds like a monumental task.  But I’m obsessed with tiny houses and economical space design.  My last three apartments have been smaller and smaller – even now with two of us here. But we don’t need a lot of space. We need a decent amount of storage, but 600 square feet is plenty for us, potentially spread across two floors.  I love the idea of having a laneway house or taking an old building and turning it into a home.  Needless to say I have watched a lot of Grand Designs. I would make a tiny grand design.

2. Have a garden. I grew up with a huge garden.  My parents have an even bigger one now that they are in retirement mode. Being able to walk into the garden and grab a tomato, half-assedly dust it off, and eat it, is one of life’s great pleasures.  Being an apartment-dweller makes this difficult.  This year I did manage some herbs and tomatoes, but I want more. I want to be more self sufficient during the zombie apocalypse.

3. Make a difference. What a completely general thing to say.  I know. It’s a bit of a cop-out.  I think getting into media, I thought I could bring attention to issues that matter to me. I thought that would make a difference.  I don’t think it did.  Maybe it was the organization I was working for, maybe it was my own disillusionment but stories get out in other ways now. Maybe it means volunteering for an organization I believe in or being more politically involved as actual legislation changes. I don’t know.  But since I have an entire life to fulfill this goal, I’m happy to leave it as such and figure it out.

4. Travel across a continent. (Again.) I’m actually stealing this from my partner’s list of things to do in his life.  I’ve actually done it once before.  At age 20, I took the train from Halifax to Vancouver, hostelling my way through Canada’s major cities.  The train is a fantastic way to travel, and I’d consider it again, especially across Russia from China.  While I’m not a big driver, I do like the idea of driving across the US. Ideally, I’d have a little teardrop trailer on the back so I wouldn’t be sleeping on the ground every night.

(EDIT – Dec. 1, 2012) 4. Visit 50 countries. Why steal something from Orgle’s list. How unoriginal!  How about hitting up another 30 or so countries.  I’ve visited about 20 in the last 10 years. How hard can it be to see 30 more?! I’m also curious about visiting every continent, but I realize Antarctica is not just difficult but very expensive.

5. Love a job.  Maybe this is why I’m taking my sweet time trying to find something right for me.  Yes, money is important to maintain a certain standard of living but I’m happy living on less right now in exchange for more happiness later.  I won’t love every job I do, but I look forward to having a few loves of employment in my life.

Honourable mention:  Marry my Orgle. How traditional I sound!  I guess it comes down to my role models.  My parents continue to stick it out. It hasn’t always been gumdrops and roses but it works.  And when I say marry, I don’t know if I even want a wedding.  Maybe some sort of celebration as I’m an organizational fiend. But the prohibitive cost and the expectations from the most distant of relatives is a level of stress that I don’t want or need. There’s really only one other person I would need at my marriage. Okay, two – someone has to do the job.

Side note: Orgle’s list: Get a dog, own an old car, work with his hands (build a house?), drive across a continent, visit India.

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One comment

  1. Great list. I am turning 30 next year and have similar goals. I would really love of have a vegetable garden someday.



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