This is not a suicidal post, but rather a reflection on life and how I want to live it. I heard a piece on NPR yesterday called “Before I Die”, funny enough, and it was about an artist who painted chalkboard paint all over the side of an abandoned house and then stenciled the words “Before I Die ________” all over it and left chalk for people to fill in the blanks. The idea caught on in cities around the world and became a movement.
Too much of the time I feel like I am waiting to live – waiting to know the outcome on a disability decision, waiting for winter to end, waiting for things outside of myself to determine the course of my life. I also spend too much time on Facebook reading all kinds of fucked up memes saying “Today Is The First Day of The Rest of Your Life”, or “It’s Never Too Late To Make Your Dreams Come True” or other stupid shit like that, that doesn’t inspire me, but rather makes me feel like I have royally fucked up my life beyond all recognition. But when I listened to the radio program last night, I thought, I could make a list, a realistic list, of things I want to do before I die. And then I could make sure that the decisions I make in my life somehow point me toward these desires. So here is my list, and I invite you to share yours too.
Before I die, I want to be truly loved by a man again.
Before I die, I want to go to France again.
Before I die, I want to write a book that details my battles with mental illness, shows that I am a real, relatable person, and inspires others.
Before I die, I want to see many more wild, ancient places and photograph them.
Before I die, (and not the day before I die), I want to quit smoking.
Before I die, I want to have a truly fit body and be active in the outdoors.
Before I die, I want to live independently again.
Before I die, I want to go on another archaeological survey.
Before I die, I want to reduce my belongings to a bare minimum so that my family is not left with a big pile of shit to go through.
Before I die, I want to spent A LOT more time at the ocean.
It seems like I should have something bigger to say, or more profound. But I don’t. These are things that I want to do, and I’m going to print this out and remember that this is why I’m living. Not to worry, not just to pay bills, not to exist, do daily chores, and count the days until it’s Spring. I have a purpose, and it’s found in these desires I have. What may ultimately come out of achieving these desires, I don’t know. But I’ve thought long and hard about what my life’s purpose is, and today I realize, it isn’t one thing. It IS to experience what I desire, and it IS to experience joy, and satisfaction, and meaningful experiences. This is a revelation! I found it! My life’s purpose. Right here. Today is a good day. I’m going to go start working on this list. Hope your day is a great one.