I’m thinking about lists because we just rang in the New Year singing and toasting in the hopes that Saint Nicolas would soon be here. At least I think that’s what we were celebrating on New Year’s Eve — it’s all a little foggy.
One thing I am sure of, however, and I’m never sure of very much, is that New Year’s is the time for making lists, in the form of what are called “resolutions,” which are also known as “hopeless wishes that are never gonna happen in this lifetime.”
I’ve got a bunch of them, as I do every New Year’s. In fact, most of them are the same as last year’s on account of I didn’t quite achieve them yet so I just bumped them forward to this year’s list of New Year’s Resolutions.
Things like: lose 20 pounds, pay off the credit card, learn to levitate, play drums for Paul McCartney, etc. And some that are just plain dumb.
But New Year’s Resolutions notwithstanding, I like making lists. I make them every day.
What I plan to do, hope to do, should do and probably never will do that day. And then, just like resolutions, most of them get transferred to another list when it’s the next day and time for a new list.
My good wife often has so many lists, each of them on different pieces of paper of all shapes and sizes, that she has to make a list that lists her various lists.
And nowadays the two rotten kids are busy making their own lists, which are filed away in various digital devices in the form of computerized calendars and cellphone reminder and planning apps. That is, when they aren’t otherwise obsessed with online social networking sites with names like Facetweet and Twitbook.
None of which I fully understand.
My computer and my phone does all that list stuff too, and I could probably figure it all out some time before the end of the next millennium if I really tried, but I seem to like the tactile pen and paper part of list-making. It also makes it much easier to lose my lists that way, and then I get to sit down and make another one.
I think most people make lists of one kind or another, at one time or another. Grocery lists, Christmas lists, birthday lists, to-do lists and lists that help us make important decisions. Like listing the pros and cons of moving to Australia in January. Or a list of the Top Ten reasons why I should own a 50-inch flat-screen, high-definition plasma TV.
And then there is the Mother of all Lists — Life Lists, which as I recently found out (on account of a movie that came out with the title) are also called Bucket Lists. As in: ‘things I want to do before I kick the bucket.’
Do you have a Bucket List? There are legendary stories about people (who mostly seem to be from Britain for some strange reason) who make bucket lists when they are, like, 10 years old, stuck in some Harry Potter boarding school daydreaming up dozens of impossible things to do that only the most extremely imaginative, naively audacious 10 year olds could come up with.
Thing is, some of these daydreaming Bucket Listers are now 43 years old and they have actually achieved nearly all their lofty Life List goals.
And we’re not talking about goals like: own a cat, see a baseball game and visit a museum. We’re talking about excessively inspired ambitions from the minds of pathologically adventurous 10 year olds. Explore the Congo River, climb Mount Everest, pet a penguin in the Antarctica. Get a PhD in psychofinancial mathematics. Invent a flying machine. Set foot on another planet.
You know, those interesting little endeavours that add a little spice to life’s rich pageant.
I have a much tamer Life List, which changes constantly as the years fly by. I don’t seem to want to be a helicopter pilot anymore now that I’m dizzy most of the time, and I’m a little too old to win a Robin Hood Oats Most Valuable Player trophy in city league peewee hockey.
But I’d still like to learn another language (I thought I nailed that one but I’ve decided Pig Latin doesn’t count) and I’m still determined to see a space shuttle launch.
But at the end of the day, filling any bucket with positive lists and challenging resolutions is a good thing, isn’t it? Because if we can cross off even one or two hopes and dreams that we set about achieving, it’s been worth writing them down. And then some.
Which reminds me — I figure I’d like to attend a taping of The Late Show, and the way David Letterman is going these days, I may have to hurry that one up a bit. Coincidentally, going into the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York, where The Beatles first magically appeared to me on our small black and white RCA cabinet television set, has been on my Life List for a very long time now.
And that’s a good thing. Because when your Mother of All Lists is as long as mine, it’s always good when you can kill two birds with one stone.
Harley Hay is a local freelance writer and filmmaker. His column appears on Saturdays in the Advocate.