100 things

A few years ago, a friend of mine had a family member pass away and I went with her to the funeral. She was a very special friend because going to this funeral meant a 13 hour drive across 6 states. Driving was 1/4 the cost of airfare at the time. She and I had only been dating a short time when this happened, and I had not yet met her family.

13 hours is a long time to spend in a sports car, and having been on expeditions that kept me in a vehicle for over a month running, I knew to pack some things in the cab to occupy us: a small cooler with drinks and snacks, a book of cross word puzzles, magazines, a camera, and a pad of paper with pens.

I tried to keep the mood light on the way there.

Attending a funeral is a mix of emotion, realization and self reflection. Death is a part of our life cycle, yet it is never when we want it. I did not know the person who passed away yet being there thrusts mortality into your awareness.

On the way home, the rawness of seeing someone that she had cared for dead weighed heavy on her soul. Being with her family had helped, yet she was still wrestling with it. Trying to give her something to focus on, I asked her to take out a piece of paper and write down something she had always wanted to do. It didn’t matter how silly or how much it cost, just write down something she wanted to do. Maybe a place she wanted to visit or an event she wanted to attend. A thing she wanted to own or something she wanted to see. She was drawing a blank, so I suggested that she draw a line down the middle of the paper and put my name on one side and her name on the other and we would do it together. I said I will start and I named some things I wanted to do in no particular order:

#1 Ride a bicycle in France

#2 Write a book

#3 Be a father

#4 Drive a Ferrari

#5 Stop smoking

#6 See the worlds largest frying pan

#7 Know true love

Once I got her thinking about it in abstract terms, we were off and running.

The first thing she wrote for herself was

#1 Visit New York

Soon we had 100 things listed each. She wrote “100 things to do before I die” on the top. When we got home, we hung that list on the fridge and made a big deal out of marking things off of it. We had a special red marker that was only for that purpose, you could see the original goal, but with the red mark, it was done.

I encourage you to make your own list and keep it out so you can see it. Put silly things on it too. I have no interest in paying insurance on a $120,000 Italian sports car, but I would love to take one around a track.

The Worlds Largest Frying Pan is in Wilmington, Del. (The one in Long Beach, Washington is a replica of a pan that no longer exists and the one in Rose Hill, NC does not have a handle!)

http://www.worldslargestthings.com/easterntour/delmarvafryingpan.htm

I have kept a list on my fridge for many years now. Crossing something off is bittersweet as it means I have accomplished something else, yet it also means I no longer have that goal to look forward to. I have updated my list over the years and added things to it after marking others off.

Follow your dreams. I have quit smoking BTW.

While I no longer see the girl I started this list with, it has become something important that my life revolves around. It helps keep me focused on what is truly important to me.

Start your own list today and keep it where you can see it.

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