I started a little controversy recently by referring to myself as middle aged. I always thought that "middle aged" was the middle of life, and if I live until 80, I'll feel like that's a pretty good run. So, now I'm 40 and hence middle aged, the logic goes. But evidently, for other people, middle aged stretches way into the distant future, to the age at which I'm planning to just ahead and call myself "old." Anyway, for the first time in my life I find myself thinking when I hear of a thing that sounds like fun "Oh, I should put that on the list of Things I Want To Do Before I Die." Now that I'm middle aged.
I usually dont feel like much of a planner - most of the time I think I just sort of take what comes. And my life is pretty crowded with other people and THEIR plans - both immediate and distant. But when you start thinking mortal thoughts, it can be actually very freeing. If I start a list at random, in no particular order, what comes out first is:
1. Take my son to Disneyland.
2. Plant a vegetable garden that actually grows vegetables that humans can actually eat.
3. Read Tolstoy. Also Dostoyevsky.
4. Train a puppy.
5. Walk the Camino.
There are probably lots more. But I have to stop here to say this.
I dont think much about traveling. With 3 people in my family in various stages of health (physical, psychological and developmental - respectively) travelling seems like an awful lot of work most of the time. But once I think "well, one day, my life might have the kind of space in which I COULD go on pilgrimage for 3 weeks" and I go ahead an type "Camino" on this list, then I start thinking of all sorts of other travels that would be appealing.
Take a long, leisurely driving trip to Yellowstone and other western points to the east of us.
Eat a croissant in Paris. And then lots of other meals.
Spend a couple of weeks that weird buddhist/jesuit monastery we visited for an afternoon in the mountains in India.
Or take a boat around the Galapagos. Wait a minute, I dont actually like boats. But then again, neither did Darwin, and look what happened to HIM when he sailed around the Galapagos.
I guess I'm not going to be able to ever do these things, unless I can start imagining them as possibilities. So if you catch me sitting around, staring off into the distance, you'll know what I'm doing. I'm making that list of Things I Want to Do Before You Know What. And it's getting really, really, really long.
(For some reason, btw, going to Disney doesnt count as travel in my head. How about you?)