Daily Archives: September 1, 2015

63 Aspirations


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“Three grand essentials to happiness

in this life

are something to do,

something to love

and something to hope for.”

(Joseph Addison)

My birthday rivals New Year’s Day for reflection, planning and resolutions. It always seems like a milestone. Some years I look back on what I have, or on what I’ve accomplished. Other years, I look to the future.

This year, having just turned 63 years old, my plan was to come up with sixty-three things I would yet like to do in my life.

That may be too many. My sister Brenda reminded me right away that I’m already too busy, and stressed out because of it. As usual, she’s right. Beyond that, my resources (and my years!) are limited; why set myself up for disappointment?

My thought is this: it is better to look ahead to things yet to do, than to look around and think, “is this it??” One of the saddest songs, in my opinion, is the one that says, “Life goes on…long after the thrill of living is gone…”

I’ve had moments where that seemed true of my life…maybe even whole, sad days…but that is not my life! I won’t have it!

Sometimes, it is a matter of noticing and taking pleasure in little things, or finding the joy in necessary tasks.  Often, it means making a conscious effort to appreciate the many wonderful things in my life. Today, it involves setting down a list of aspirations for the rest of my life. It’s good to have goals, right?

My list begins with six items of importance, compiled by Nancy Roman and published on her blog (notquiteold.wordpress.com). It is the list she ticks off in the evening, to determine if she’s truly had a good day.  She calls it the Good-Day-Do-Good Checklist. Every day:

  1. Do something good for my Home.
  2. Do something good for my Body
  3. Do something good for my Mind
  4. Do something good for Work
  5. Do something good for Someone Else
  6. Do something for Sheer Pleasure

Brilliant, isn’t it? A simple guide for making each day a good one.  I wish the next 57 aspirations were as simple…but if I employ the first six, everything else may come easier.

  1. Get organized
  2. Finish reading James Joyce’s Ulysses
  3. Learn to dance
  4. Complete the “Native American Moons” collagraph series
  5. Form a daily drawing habit
  6. Form a daily exercise habit
  7. Make twelve paintings in the “Subverting the Calendar” series
  8. Finish one year’s worth of daily collages
  9. Write every day
  10. Learn (well, actually relearn) Spanish
  11. Become more social
  12. Pay off my mortgage
  13. Build a wood-fire kiln
  14. And a studio space to work in clay
  15. Get a little boat to keep on Fox Lake
  16. Get a bicycle…and use it
  17. Become better at writing letters (I write good letters, but not often)
  18. Visit art galleries in major cities. The Museum of Modern Art, the Louvre and the San Fransisco Art Institute come to mind
  19. See the Pyramids
  20. Visit New England in the fall
  21. Travel across Canada by train
  22. See Ireland
  23. Have my work in a Chicago gallery
  24. Keep chickens
  25. Learn to identify the constellations
  26. Get pine floors in my house
  27. Have new light fixtures installed
  28. Woodwork finished throughout the house
  29. Outlet covers on all outlets
  30. New windows (that open!) for kitchen and dining room
  31. A big round (soft, too, suggests my little dog!) rug for the office space
  32. A soaking tub
  33. Get my garden spot cleared
  34. Build raised beds
  35. Repair the fence
  36. Get rid of the old shed, that the tree fell on, that is now overgrown with wild roses
  37. Support myself with my art
  38. Support myself with my writing
  39. Support myself comfortably
  40. Find opportunities to teach
  41. Decorate for the changing seasons and holidays
  42. Share meals more often
  43. Find opportunities to play cards and games with others
  44. Reconnect with my dear friend, Huey Chu
  45. Take a trip with my daughters…a cruise, maybe?
  46. Take a riverboat cruise down the Mississippi River
  47. See a Broadway show
  48. Do the Mackinaw Bridge Walk on Labor Day
  49. See the desert…perhaps New Mexico
  50. See London
  51. And Paris
  52. And Pompeii
  53. Reread, in order, all of the books by Louise Erdrich
  54. And the first two books by Maxine Hong Kingston (The Woman Warrior and China Men)
  55. And finish the many books I have started, even though some have taken a very scary, sad or boring turn, just so that I can move on
  56. Then read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
  57. And apply it!

And that comes full circle, bringing me right back to my two #1 goals: “Do something good for my home” and “Get organized.”

So, that is 63 aspirations. With my penchant for procrastination, distraction and forgetfulness, that should keep me busy for the rest of my life!