Friday, August 5, 2016

My Disinclination Toward Bucket Lists, New Year's Resolutions, and the Like. , , , And the Hypocrisy of the Formation of My Own Bucket List

Who would not relish the idea of seeing this in person?

I will initiate this post with a disclaimer that I don't actually believe in bucket lists. "Don't believe in them" might be too mild an expression for my disdain for the very concept. It seems to me that they rank almost as high as New Year's Resolutions in terms of disingenuity. If there's something about oneself that causes one to think one would benefit from eradication or modification any given improvement, make the change. One does not need an arbitrary date of January 1, Superbowl Sunday, Chinese New Year's Day, the Vernal Equinox, or any other date. It's not rocket science. I'm sure I've ranted about this before, so I will shut up about it. 

Bucket lists are borne of a similar vein, compounded by their pretentiousness. If one desires to accomplish something in his or her lifetime, I commend the person for his or her ambition. Desire to broaden one's horizons is a positive force at work in the heart,  mind, and soul of an individual. Requiring some pedantic sort of  list for such endeavors is the only aspect of the concept that I find off-putting. The need for such reeks of pretentiousness and of self-aggrandizement, as in,  "My  goals in life are so numerous and so very lofty yet equally intricate and sophisticated as to require a blueprint etched in stone in order for any mere mortal, even one so accomplished and internally activated as myself,  to have a prayer of attaining said objectives." Such emits vapors of  of self-aggrandizement and pretension -- indeed, the very embodiment of taking oneself too seriously and, in most cases, expecting others to do the same.

With all of that having been said, a time probably should come in the life of a young person -- whether a very specific time in one's relatively-but-not-too-early life, or whether a set of mental conversations taking place over time as one's late youth metamorphoses into bona fide adulthood, in which one articulates plans for his or her life, including but not limited to the arguably more frivolous ventures one wishes to eventually add to his or her repertoire of life experiences.

While there's no inherent harm in one having the pre-described self-conversation at a very early age, it should be noted that the goals one may set at the age of nine, which might include towering and salient ambitions possibly including being slimed at Orlando's Universal studios, meeting Justin Bieber (I would hope not, but one should never underestimate the vapid nature of a nine-year-old's aspirations) and matching Elena's (whoever the hell Elena is) perfect score in Uncharted 4: Thief's Run. Such objectives, absurd  as they may seem to you or to me as one's idealized culminations in life , aren't so out-of-line as they might seem at first glance when considered under the lens of perspective of a pre-adolescent.  As long as a kid in that age-range doesn't list among his aims in life, for the sake of argument,  an inclination to successfully plant and detonate an explosive in a place that will cause maximum carnage, or something similar, I don't harbor particular animosity toward his or her ideas at his or her present level of maturation in regard to what he or she should focus upon accomplishing in his adult life. For that matter, i don't really care in a negative manner what any kid or adult wishes to achieve in the course of his or her lifetime as long as it doesn't involve harm to others or a need, whether overtly planned and expressed as such , or simply through  a thoroughly lackadaisical approach to education,  that would result in his or her inability to support himself or herself once reaching adulthood.  The point here is that a child's goals should in most cases evolve into something more practical as he or she grows in wisdom and maturity.  

Furthermore, where a child is concerned, if the child has conversed with an adult important in his or her life regarding future goals and short-term objectives and optimal actions leading to the attainment of such goals, putting it in writing is probably a beneficial activity. Children are most often visual in dominant modality, and seeing some sort of graphic as to where they are at a given moment in time, how far they may have come since articulating a set of life goals, and how much as well as  specifically what remains to attain their goals might very well be a practical tool in helping them to achieve the goals they have set. It never occurred to my own parents to attempt such a thing, but I'm not presenting my own parents as paragons of excellence whom all other parents should seek to emulate. Beyond that, we're speaking of kids

Adults should not be in need of such bullshit in their lives. I'm not referring to daily or weekly to-do lists, which help many among us to function, some  of whom lead impossibly busy lives,  If making a list is necessary in order to ensure that prescriptions are retrieved from the pharmacy in a timely manner, that everyone involved knows who is responsible for retrieving children from school and/or transporting them to and from activities on a given day, that laundry is picked up, that parent conferences are attended, and that similar chores in relation to adults managing their own activities and lives are not forgotten, such is reality.  I'm not a person who complains of modern-day life and yearns for a return to the norms of the good old days, as living many aspects of daily lives in previous generations would have presented challenges in which many of us might have failed miserably.  For one thing, I wouldn't have cared to have lived before the appendectomy was a routine procedure. In the early eighteen-hundreds, I probably would have succumbed to a ruptured appendix and therefore had my life expire at the ripe old age of sixteen.  Such would have been the case for a great many of us.  Furthermore, I'm a fan of indoor plumbing. Beyond that, while female doctors have been around for quite some time, it wasn't long ago that gender discrimination existed to a large degree both in getting into the medical field and in securing patients once actually licensed  as a physician, while such is no longer the case. I'm not advocating that a return to the "good old days," whatever and whenever that might have been, would solve many of our problems. What I am saying is that life today is fast-paced, and daily or weekly written agendas, whether written in an old-fashioned manner or stored on one's cellphone, may be for many of us the only way to make things work.

Those are lists for the practical matters of what must be managed on a daily or weekly basis, however. I don't refer to lists delineating people's optimal expectations for their lifetimes. I began to delve into an exposition of such here, but the explanation took on a life of it own and overtook the intent of the blog. I saved what was written, and I may or may not share it in the near future.

Returning to the topic of bucket lists, I've given you my reasons why they are self-elevating, extraneous, and wrong on so many levels. Now I will violate my own principles and will proceed to reveal my own bucket list. I've accomplished many of the things I had hoped in my earlier years that I would get through.  I still have much left to achieve, though, and I would hope to have many years left to achieve these things. This list will probably change as early as next week, though the alterations will likely never appear in print here or in any private notation. If they're important enough, I'll remember them. 

Alexis List of Proposed Accomplishments and Experiences

1. I will travel to Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica.

2. I will travel to places in Europe that I desire to see but haven't. I want to see
all of what the British Isles have to offer -- especially Scotland, though Wales and the Isle of man rank high on my list as well. I want to travel to Catalonia, where my parents spent a semester very early in their marriage. I want to see the Basque regions of Spain and France. I want to visit Austria. I would like to travel to Greece.

3. I will explore Ireland more extensively. I've been there, but I mostly visited relatives and competed in an Irish folk dancing competition in Dublin. There is far more of the country to see than that which I have already seen.

4. I want to have a drink (or two or three) in person with Judge Alex.

5. I want to spend time in person with Rebecca.

6. I would like to meet Knotty, Jaci, Donna, Marianne, Lil Gamble, Tina Ari, Amelia, Jojo, OzDoc, Joe Brown, Russ Carney, and  others I've known through social media.

7. I want to get my hands on someone's Mormon Temple recommend and go through the complete endowment process.

8. I want to be in the D.C. area when someone has displayed the "Surrender Dorothy" graffiti on the overpass directly under the visual of the DC LDS Temple, and I wish to see it before it has been eradicated and to photograph it. While putting the display in place might be fun, I don't feel as though it's something I absolutely must do myself. 

9. I don't wish to die a virgin, although such would certainly be preferable to being raped and killed in that order. I wish for my first full-scale sexual encounter (as well as any and all subsequent encounters) to be consensual. 

10. I want to visit all fifty U.S. states. I've been to thirty-eight.

11. I want to travel to the Isle of Chappaquiddick. I want to see the bridge where it all went down.

12. I want to see Billy Joel in concert.

13. I want to travel to a third-world country with the express intent of offering help. I'd like to devote time and financial resources to whatever it is that is most needed or that my skill set best enables me to do to in order to provide legitimate and needed assistance.

!4. I want to be in love with a person who is also in love with me.

15. I want the experience of  delivering a healthy baby. I don't wish to go into OB-GYN as a specialty, but I want the experience of seeing new life come into the world and of being the practitioner who supervises. I want my hands to be the first ones to touch a human life, even if only once.

16. I would like to have a spiritual experience that gives me a strong feeling beyond just what I learned in catechism that God is more than a figment of anyone's imagination, even if His or Her involvement with us was merely in the creation phase. And if it all really did start with a big bang, I'd like some sort of mental or psychic confirmation of such.

17. I want to own a really expensive and exquisite piano. The expensive  part is extraneous, but the instrument will not be as exquisite as I need for it to be if it is not pricy.

18. I'd like to travel to Cuba if and when the Castro regime or something worse is not in power.

19. I want to witness a tornado at fairly close range. When it gets too close, I'll be happy to take shelter in a cellar.

The existence of list, after having made the preceding comments, is quite possibly hypocrisy very nearly in its purest forms, but I've never claimed not to be a hypocrite.


  1. Great list Alexis. Come to Australia and I'll definitely meet you and give you some experiences NOT on your list, but that I hope you'd enjoy.

    Done a couple of the things on your list. Delivering a healthy baby is totally emotionally overwhelming. One couple actually acknowledged my attendance in their birth notice in the newspaper and I was once a student.

    My son is a major Billy Joel fan. I took him to the concert of the River of Dreams tour on his last day of grade school. His now wife has twice indulged him since on subsequent tours.

    There are so many places in the world I would still love to see I'm just so lucky in what I have seen. I'm currently in Saint Petersburg on my way to Finland which will add another 2 to my list. Hello Knotty, said facing SW!

    I've only been to 29 US states. Not bad for an Aussie though. Antarctica is always on the top of our list. We have visited the Arctic of Norway and Greenland and Iceland, but not yet our own back(ice) yard.

    Good luck reaching some of your goals

  2. 29 U.S. states is excellent for an Aussie! I would venture to say that it's well above the mean for adult U.S. residents.

    When I make it to The Merry Old Land of OZ, I will definitely look for you.

  3. I enjoyed your list, too. It would be fun to meet you. You might be the first doctor to get close to me in years. ;)

    1. I will probably be the most un-doctor-like doctor in history.

  4. You are WAAAY too young to worry much about bucket lists. Hopefully you'll get to do a lot of enjoyable things and won't need much of one anyway.

    1. I try to keep it in its proper perspective by not putting too many "old person" items on it. Note that having a pain-free sigmoidoscopy was not on my list, nor was anything about cataract surgery.

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  6. I've actually seen "Surrender Dorothy" many times. I used to live near Washington, DC.

    1. You're so incredibly lucky!

    2. I'm sure your travels will take you to the DC Beltway someday so you can see it yourself.