63 Aspirations


august2015 096

“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!

About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

13 responses »

  1. Hi Cindy
    That’s quite a list! Just don’t get overwhelmed as Brenda fears.
    I was surprised that you included the Pyramids. In 1978 I took my family to Egypt. My youngest daughter, Valerie, was only three years old. She was the only one that could walk upright on the inclined passage inside the pyramid. We had a great time except it was very hot. I have a picture in the living room showing us on camels.
    Good luck with your list.

    • Oh, I so envy you having visited the pyramids! It was in the early seventies that I started studying them, as part of my Art History courses. I’ve been fascinated with them ever since! Thanks for reading, Bill, and for your comments!

  2. Love it! we should all aspire to most of your aspirations – however we need to adjust them for our own lives. Everyone has something that everyone else wishes they could do and you just made it easier for me to start my bucket list! THank, Love your blogs – keep up the great work. Laurie

  3. You know in your heart that many of these things can be accomplished…this year! I love the daily Good Day Do Good checklist. I might incorporate that myself. One thing that helps me when accomplishing mundane (maintenance, repair, daily upkeep) things is to say to myself, “this is what I’m doing now – don’t think of what else I could be doing – relish the moment and feel good after it’s accomplished.” I do that a lot when I’m cleaning my bathroom.

    Also, remember this is the life you have now. You may have another and you may have had past, but your goal is to enjoy what you have, make the most of what you have, and feel good about who you’ve become and will become.

    Good luck with your list. I’m rooting for you!

    • Oh, Sara, I love the perspective of “this is the life you have now.” What a great way to stay centered, and to enjoy whatever life brings.
      Yes, many of my deepest wishes are things that are close to home and easy to accomplish. The bottom line is that I like to have goals, whether or not they are all accomplished. thanks for reading, Sara, and for your comments!

      • In the past decade my life has change a lot, especially because of the death of my brother. The family dynamic changed drastically and it took a lot of adjustment. The new normal – it just gets newer every day.

        That doesn’t negate the desire and need for goals and dreams. Without those we merely exist. Keep making your list of goals and dream big!

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