The Tragic Optimist

motivation and goals

I’ve had a really hard time writing recently, especially on this blog. I have ideas for what I want to write, but when I sit down, other things just seem so much more interesting.  Like German songs about little cows from Malibu with only one soccer shoe.  Or looking at really cool posters of Minneapolis.  Or chatting on facebook with a teacher from high school – which, by the way, was awesome!  If you happen to read this Mr. Inman, I didn’t mention that you were my favorite teacher, because that just felt too weird to say in fb chat, but you were.)

Turns out that I was tagged a few weeks ago by Heavy Heart at emptyhug to write a list of things I want to do before I die (I can now scratch writing up a list off the list – ooh!).  And then just shortly after that, my friend AlphaSarah at The Miscellanea Emporium did a post on the 100 Things to Do meme.  Goals and Things to Do seem like a good way to jump-start my motivation.  Right?  Nevermind that it’s taken me weeks to actually write this post…

But first!  I have a question for all of you related to goals and Things to Do and whatnot.  If you could have one of your goals guaranteed to actually happen, what would it be?  This doesn’t mean that your other goals wouldn’t necessarily come to fruition, just that you have to work to achieve them.  But one of them, no work required.  What would you choose?  Are there any goals that you would specifically not choose because the work involved to get there is part of the point?  (Me I’m mostly lazy, so for the most part, I’d rather have the magic goal fairy grant my achievements).  My choice will be at the bottom of the post.  Because I know you’re all at the edge of your seats waiting to know.  Right?

My bucket list (don’t know where the term “bucket list” comes from, but that’s what it was called at emptyheart, so that’s what I’m using.  Anyway, my list of things I want to accomplish:

  • Work with an author of a book to help them do whatever research they need to write the book.  Then, in the acknowedgement section, the author would write “And finally, thanks to my wonderful researcher Ann, without whose help, this book could never have been written.”  Or something similar, but maybe better written, because they’re the author.  I’m just the researcher.
  • Spend a (Southern hemisphere) summer working in Antarctica.  Preferably doing some kind of research help, but honestly I’d do pretty much any job to get down there for a summer.
  • Have dinner with my brother on every continent.  We’ve got 3 so far (North America, Europe, Australia).
  • Get to the point where I can just write stuff and it works and I can be done with it rather than this stupid taking too long thing.
  • Become a yoga instructor.  I think.  Though that would require me to take yoga classes, which I’ve been terribly bad at recently.

The 100 Things to Do list…
Things in life I’ve done in underline
Things I’d like to do in red
I’ve added comments in parentheses

  1. Started your own blog (hi!)
  2. Slept under the stars
  3. Played in a band (hey, this is easy)
  4. Visited Hawaii (oh.  But I do want to go to there.  They have volcanoes)
  5. Watched a meteor shower
  6. Given more than you can afford to charity (hard to define “more than you can afford”, I haven’t gone without food because of any donations, so I guess no.  And I’m not sure I want to)
  7. Been to Disneyland (Disneyworld, not Disney land)
  8. Climbed a mountain
  9. Held a praying mantis (my brother had one as a pet)
  10. Sang a solo (does it count if I sang a part of church liturgy by myself?  does it help if I was scared to death and was barely audible?)
  11. Bungee jumped (off a crane over a parking lot in Indiana, so no amazing views or anything.  in fact, what was I thinking jumping off a crane over a parking lot?  ok, it was fun)
  12. Visited Paris (but only if I can go with someone who speaks French)
  13. Watched a lightning storm (there was freaking sweet one my freshman year of college – these huge balls of lightening in the sky, they were amazing!  I’ve never seen anything like it since)
  14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
  15. Adopted a child
  16. Had food poisoning
  17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
  18. Grown your own vegetables
  19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
  20. Slept on an overnight train
  21. Had a pillow fight
  22. Hitch hiked (through Denmark with my host sister.  I wish I had crazy stories to tell about it, but it was pretty mundane, a nice woman picked us up and took us to the town we were heading for.)
  23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (at my old job)
  24. Built a snow fort
  25. Held a lamb
  26. Gone skinny dipping (in Lake Michigan.  the park police were not amused.  almost lost my glasses in the water because of it, too)
  27. Run a Marathon (no interest whatsoever)
  28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (we took a gondola to our hostel in Venice.  )
  29. Seen a total eclipse (I’ve seen a few partial eclipses, but no full ones.)
  30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (has anyone not?)
  31. Hit a home run
  32. Been on a cruise
  33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
  34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
  35. Seen an Amish community
  36. Taught yourself a new language (I learned German through immersion, I don’t think that counts)
  37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
  38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
  39. Gone rock climbing
  40. Seen Michelangelo’s David (and it really is that amazing)
  41. Sung karaoke (an ABBA song, I think.  it was in Germany)
  42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt (I think  I lose massive geologist cred for not having seen this)
  43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (I used to be approached by a lot of people asking for money for food when I lived closer to downtown, I occasionally would take them to a sandwich shop and buy them food)
  44. Visited Africa (have to if I’m going to complete one of my goals)
  45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
  46. Been transported in an ambulance (aftera car accident in high school – I had no injuries, but they wanted to be sure – the car rolled over)
  47. Had your portrait painted
  48. Gone deep sea fishing
  49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person (the craziest part was listening, the guards would shush the crowds, but then, slowly, the sound would build, and then we’d get shushed again.)
  50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
  51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
  52. Kissed in the rain (not that I distinctly remember, but I assume I have)
  53. Played in the mud (heck yeah!)
  54. Gone to a drive-in theater
  55. Been in a movie
  56. Visited the Great Wall of China
  57. Started a business with a partner
  58. Taken a martial arts class (I did Aikido all through college)
  59. Visited Russia
  60. Served at a soup kitchen
  61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (but I have eaten my share)
  62. Gone whale watching
  63. Got flowers for no reason
  64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (I tried to give blood but passed out before I’d completely filled the bag, so the mostly full bag was discarded.  they recommended that I not try anymore since I pass out very easily)
  65. Gone sky diving
  66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
  67. Bounced a check (ugh, after a year of splitting rent 4 ways and not owning a car, I got an apartment on my own and bought a car and wasn’t used to having to budget.  not something I’m proud of)
  68. Flown in a helicopter
  69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
  70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
  71. Eaten Caviar
  72. Pieced a quilt
  73. Stood in Times Square
  74. Toured the Everglades
  75. Been fired from a job
  76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
  77. Broken a bone
  78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (I babysat for a family in which the father was hit while riding a motorcycle – he was doing everything right, the guy in the car ran a red light – he lost his leg, and probably would have died if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet.  I have NO interest in riding on a motorcycle)
  79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person (again I lose geologist points here)
  80. Published a book
  81. Visited the Vatican
  82. Bought a brand new car
  83. Walked in Jerusalem
  84. Had your picture in the newspaper (local small town newspaper, but it counts, right?)
  85. Read the entire Bible
  86. Visited the White House
  87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I’ve caught fish and seen it prepared, but didn’t do the preparing myself)
  88. Had chickenpox
  89. Saved someone’s life
  90. Sat on a jury
  91. Met someone famous (shook Bill Clinton’s hand and briefly talked with him just a few months after he was first inaugurated)
  92. Joined a book club (and then bluffed my way through most of the meetings since I never seemed to be able to finish the books on time even though normally I’m a voracious reader)
  93. Lost a loved one
  94. Had a baby
  95. Seen the Alamo in person
  96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
  97. Been involved in a law suit
  98. Owned a cell phone
  99. Been stung by a bee
  100. Read an entire book in one day (which, again, makes my trouble with book clubs a bit strange)

Ok, so first off, I’m impressed if you got through the full list of 100, but it was one of the few 100 lists that I actually read all the way through.  As for my granted goal, it would have to be the Antarctica one.  One of the things keeping me back from really working to do it is that I’m just overwhelmed with all the stuff I’d have to do to get there.  That and I don’t want to go for a few years, anyway.  So how about all of you, would you choose to have a goal granted?



  1. motherhoodandpotatoes

    Hi Ann. The “Bucket List” is a movie staring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. I actually saw it a few weeks ago on DVD. A list of things they wanted to do.

  2. Good list..I actually came by to tell you about the ‘Bucket List’.. I see it has already been done above ..All the best for your dreams to come true!

  3. What a great list! I do have to say, I am surprise that you’ve missed out on Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon. But while they are both amazing, I couldn’t help but feel a little let down in my mind. I’m not sure what I had built them up to be but I remember standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon thinking, “Yup. That’s a big hole alright.”

  4. LeAnn

    So, “Had food poisoning” is on your To Do List? Very interesting, my friend! That would be far off my To Do List! Luckily you’ve already had that one happen, so move onto a fun one, like “gone whale watching.” That’d have to be on mine, too…I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was little, and then I realized you needed to be good at math and science and I quickly changed my focus to novelist, which I still want to do.

    As always, your blog is so entertaining. 🙂

  5. Oh, Ann’s had food poisoning. Underlines are what she did.

  6. Gus

    Is this time to apologize for #46?

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