Monday, March 4, 2013

lenten bucket list

This is the time of year when people use God to guilt themselves into giving up bad habits delve deep into spirituality and self-sacrifice and work on cleansing their daily lives of things that distract them from God and Bible and Prayer and Such. Some people use it as a kick-off for the rest of their lives, like quitting smoking or gluten. They figure that, for 40 days of prayer and meditation and joining in the sufferings of Christ (who actually fasted for 40 days and then was beaten and tortured and horribly killed, so totally the same as you giving up caffeine), they can get a leg up on a better life and look more holy doing it.

In years past, i've given up pizza, sweets, soda, and meat. I actually gave up meat twice; the first time, i mostly just ate lots of bread and cheese. The second time, i worked on finding vegetarian meals that i enjoyed and making more deliberate choices about what i ate, and it was a choice that i carried with me. I now identify as "flexitarian", which means that i often eat vegetarian meals, but have no health/moral objections to eating meat sometimes (one of my favorite meals: veggie burgers wrapped in bacon).

This year, i toyed with giving up meat again, but i just don't eat it often enough for it to be a real sacrifice. I also toyed with adding a positive practice instead of deleting a negative one; i thought about adding another two days to my workout routine. But recent life changes have prompted me to redo the entire routine anyway, and i have no clue how i would fit any extra days in there right now. No need to add religious guilt to my personal health guilt. And then i simultaneously forgot and decided i didn't care this year.

But i do want to make my life better. I do want to take what God has given me (talents, time, resources, etc.) and do good things with them. I do want to live a life to be proud of. I do want to accomplish things. I've already done so many incredible things (spending six months traveling around Europe, graduating from college, a missions trip to Nicaragua, spending a month on a boat in Puerto Rico, moving far away from family and friends, getting tattoos, eating snails and octopus and tofu and weird fried baby fishes and scrapple and cashew fruit, teaching myself different skills, and so on), but there is so much left to do.

This season of loss and lamentation and desperate hope encourages quiet reflection. It also encourages getting off your ass and doing something to improve your life. And this year in particular, when i have been surrounded by so much death and sickness and reminders of mortality, i've been thinking about the things i still want out of life, big and small.

So here goes:

  • i want to finish this damned degree
  • i want to get a full-time job teaching English in a public high school
  • i want to get married
  • i want to go to Greece
  • i want to learn to make a souffle
  • i want to be published
  • i want to have kids
  • i want to attend a same-sex wedding
  • i want to vote for a female candidate for President of the United States
  • i want there to be a female President of the United States
  • i want to buy a house
  • i want to buy an electric/hybrid car
  • i want to plant, tend, and compost my own garden
  • i want to make money from something i've written
  • i want to get a chest freezer
  • i want to learn to make my own preserves
  • i want to take a shooting course
  • i want to take an archery course
  • i want to go to Venice
  • i want to make my own cheese
  • i want to keep bees (NB: this may prove to be an unrealistic goal, in which case i'd like to instead aspire to meet a local bee-keeper and buy all my bee products from him/her)
  • i want to go to Ireland
  • i want to get back to volunteering with a riding therapy group
  • i want to make enough money from writing that i can be a stay-at-home mom/housewife and still contribute significant financial support to my family
Life is fluid. Goals change and move. New desires arise and old ones die out. So this list will likely (hopefully) be continuously updated over the years. But it's a good start.

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