Bucket List

If you’ve never watched the movie The Bucket List, you’re missing out.  I bought it on sale at Borders a couple weeks ago because I remembered how much I had loved it in the theaters.  I’d forgotten that it was one of those movies that’s both uplifting and gut-wrenchingly depressing at the same time, but that’s beside the point….. Anyway, a Bucket List is a list of things you want to accomplish before you, well, kick the bucket.  They can be lifelong goals or specific experiences, whatever suits your fancy.

 

I’ve had one in my head for a while, but I decided to finally write it down on paper (electronic paper, anyway).  I divided it into three categories: Non-Negotiables, Dreams, and Wishes, in order of their importance to me.  Non-negotiable is pretty self- explanatory.  Dreams are the things I would really, really, really love to do, but aren’t quite up there with the non-negotiables.  And Wishes are things I’d really, really like to do, if I live long enough to do so 🙂  Within the lists, they’re in no particular order, just the order they came to me in.  With luck, I’ll be able to accomplish all these and even more.

Non-Negotiables                                   

1. Live abroad for at least one year

2.  Become fluent in Russian

3. Get my MBA

4.  Stay close to my family, no matter where I am

5.  Stay fit and healthy

6.  Never change for anyone

7.  Travel to:

Japan

China

England

Egypt

Kenya, for a safari 🙂

8.  Never stop reading for pleasure

9.  Live my life with no regrets

10.  Never keep a job I hate longer than I have to

11.  Ride the Trans-Siberian RR to Lake Baikal

Dreams

1.  Fall in love

2.  Travel to:

India

Australia

New Zealand

Antarctica

Italy (and see the ruins of   ancient Rome)

Sweden/Norway/ Denmark

Ukraine

Istanbul, Turkey

Bali

Tibet

France

Ireland/Scotland

Hawaii

Greece

3.  Be able to retire, if I want to

4.  Speak Japanese fluently and read it as fluently as a non-native speaker can

5.  Write a book, even if I’m the only one who ever reads it.

Wishes

1.  Learn to play the guitar that’s been sitting in my closet since high school

2.  Get married

3.  Go skydiving/surfing/scuba diving

4.  See the Northern Lights

5. Travel to:

Anywhere in Europe, East/SE Asia, or North America that I haven’t already mentioned

Back to Russia

South and Latin America

6.  Have a risqué photo shoot done, preferably while I’m still young 😉

I’m sure there are things I’ve forgotten and things I will add along the way as I get older and “wiser.”  But for now, these should be plenty to keep me busy 🙂

Little Successes

When my parents and I went to a Chinese restaurant for Father’s Day and my little brother decided he wanted to try to use chopsticks,  I realized something:  I’d never, ever eaten anything with chopsticks.   I don’t recall ever trying.

My parents don’t know how to use chopsticks either, and given my seafood allergy, the amount of Asian food I can eat is limited, so I suppose it’s understandable that I wouldn’t have a lot of experience, but I honestly could not believe that I’d never tried them.  I was actually kind of embarrassed.  Obviously I wasn’t going to make a first attempt in public where, you know, people could see, so I stole a couple pairs of chopsticks from the restaurant and decided to give them a try at home.  I usually just eat pasta with chicken and vegetables for dinner, which is pretty similar to lo mein, so I thought it was perfect.  Last night, I made it through half a bowl before reaching for my fork.  Today, I didn’t need my fork at all.

It really is the little successes in life that can make you smile 😉

Closer

I went to a couple new places this “weekend” (I now refer to Wednesday-Thursday as my weekend because, for all intents and purposes, it is) to try to find a place that makes me feel as calm as Central Park.  And I’m definitely getting closer 🙂

 

The first place was Katy Trail.  This trail runs along the Missouri River for a little while before heading more inland.  It’s a paved bike path which is fairly secluded from the modern world, and not too heavily trafficked.  Aside from the small airplanes, you don’t hear many human things at all.  At least for the first couple miles, then it starts running along a road out in the beating sun, and the experience kind of went downhill from there 😉

The second place I went was Creve Coeur Lake.  The lake is the centerpiece for Creve Coeur County Park and has a nice bike trail which wraps all the way around it, with several side trails at random intervals.  This trail was even better than the Katy trail simply because there was more space to wander, and it was even more isolated from the outside world.

 

PS:  According to local legend, there was once an Indian princess who fell in love with a French fur trader, but her love was not reciprocated.  Heart broken, the princess jumped to her death from the cliff in the first picture.  That’s how the city of Creve Coeur (roughly translated: broken or burst heart) got it’s name.  And if you hang out in the park after dark, you’ll hear the ghost of the princess crying and see her leap to her death.  Or so they say.  😉

Split Screen

Saw this on yahoo and thought it was cute.  Shot entirely on a Nokia camera phone:

Uncontrollable

You can’t control who or what you love.  Love doesn’t come from your head, it comes from your heart, and that damn organ rarely seems to have any sense whatsoever.  I think one of the reasons so many people are unhappy in their relationships/lives is that they try to force emotions, like love, that don’t exist.

 

I don’t usually write about love, because I haven’t ever actually been in love with a person and I’m not obsessed with the emotion, but love comes in platonic forms as well, and we all have experience with that.  I’ll start with non-platonic love, since it was thinking about Marc that prompted this post.  I haven’t talked to him since sometime in the middle of April, believe it or not.  But I’m forced to think about him at least in passing every day because the guy in the cubicle next to me at my current job is also named Mark.  Even though they’re two completely different people in two completely different places, the name obviously stirs up my subconscious.  I don’t regret not talking to him.  I don’t want to.  Don’t know if I ever will.  But, it’s still kind of sad how things went down.  Especially when I put so much effort in during January and February to keep it from happening.

 

See, I’d known for a while that he had a thing for me.  He thought he was keeping it hidden, but, like most guys, he was way too obvious.   First I tried to subtly disuade him, but that did nothing.  Actually, that’s a lie.  It did something.  The opposite of what it was supposed to do.  Apparently since I hadn’t shut him down point blank, he took it as his cue that I was into him too.  Then I made a fatal mistake: I tried to force myself to feel the same.

 

I can be a bitch, but not for no reason.  Marc was my bff, I didn’t want to hurt him.  We had so many common interests and could chat and laugh for hours.  In my mind, the only problem — bear in mind, this is before I realized how deep his insecurity and manipulations went– was that I wasn’t physically attracted to him.  (Oh, and there was that little thing about him being married too, but that’s kind of beside the point….).  I felt so shallow and so guilty and tried to convince myself that I could get over it.  I kept the tone the same in the texts because I didn’t want to give him too much hope when I was still wrestling with myself, but internally I was really struggling.  I kept telling myself that I should feel the same, that aside from shallowness, I had no reason not to.  I even seriously considered sleeping with him whenever I went back to NY just because I knew he wanted to (side note: *shudder*).  But no matter how hard I tried to fall for him, I never did.  Because you can’t force that stuff.  I wish I’d realized that right at the very beginning.  Maybe if I’d been more direct in January, we wouldn’t have fallen apart in March/April.

 

But like I said at the beginning, this post isn’t just about romantic love.  Platonic love can be just as irrational.  Take me and my cat.  He’s my baby.  I love him.  I shouldn’t, because he was quite vicious when he was younger, and that side still comes out now and again, but I do.  I justify his behavior by stating (correctly, of course lol) that it’s not his fault he was an abandoned bottle baby without a mom to discipline him.  I spoil him with treats and toys and anything he could ever want.  My parents don’t understand it.  Frankly, neither do I.

 

But I also have another, quite irrational, love.  St. Louis.  It’s odd….. I’ve lived in southern IL most of my life, but I rarely went into St. Louis before I graduated college and moved back.  Even now, I only go to a few places.  Most of it is ghetto, after all.  But whenever I catch a glimpse of the STL skyline or the Arch or Busch Stadium, I’m just filled with this indescribable, irrational love.  I love this city.  This city which I rarely go into.  This city where I don’t want to live again after the next time I move away.  This small, dying city which is one of the most dangerous in the country.  My love for it completely defies logic, but then, most love does.

 

I’m not saying that you can’t fall in love with something.  I’m not saying that you’ll never love something that you don’t love right now.  I’m just saying that you can’t force yourself to love or not to love, and trying to force it is just painful.  Even when you force yourself to move on from someone, your heart doesn’t stop loving them until it’s good and ready.  And when your heart moves on before your head wants it to….well, you can’t force it to turn back either.

 

There’s a quote that says: “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”  I think there’s a lot of truth in that, especially when it comes to love.  You can plan all you want, but that doesn’t mean your heart will listen.  If more people accepted that, maybe more people would be more happy.  Instead of trying to force yourself to love a “perfect” life that you’ve created in your mind, just go with the flow, and let the truly perfect life come to you.

 

And that’s my philosophical piece for the month 😉

New York I Love You

Recently I decided to finally watch two films which have popped up on my radar several times in the past few years: Paris, Je’taime, and New York, I Love You.  These are the first (and so far only) two movies in a series about cities and love.  They’re both made up of more than a dozen ten minute love stories and are really only connected by the city they take place in (though NY does try to incorporate a reoccurring videographer).  Given their similarities, you’d think that if you liked one, you’d like them both.  Not so….

I didn’t even make it all the way through Paris.  I think I stopped a little over half way because I just wasn’t into it.  I don’t know if it was because it was in French and I got tired of the subtitles or because I wasn’t really connecting with the stories, but it was not my cup of tea.  Despite this, I decided to give NY a shot, even though it was the exact same concept.  And I loved it.

I’m sure part of it has to do with me missing the city, and it being in English didn’t hurt, but I just felt like the stories were simply…better.  Obviously the character development leaves a bit to be desired — because how much can you really develop characters in 10 minutes?– but there are some that you just connect with from the very beginning. My favorite was the last segment, with Eli Wallach.  He’s hilarious 😀

 

PS:  As I was writing this, NY voted to legalize gay marriage.  NY, I love you.  And it’s about time.  Now, let’s get the rest of the nation on board 🙂

Sleepover

The little sis and I had our very first sleepover yesterday and it reminded me of why I don’t want to have children.  Don’t get me wrong, I love her to pieces, but kids are so much work.  Your life literally has to revolve around them and their needs.  I’m way too selfish for that.  But it was fun for one day at least.  We started the day at the zoo, then came back to my apartment and went swimming, she watched Cinderella while I worked out, then we had McDonald’s for dinner and Oberwies for desert.  Healthy, I know, but I figure it’s okay to break the rules for special occasions 😉