Bucket List

is that a challenge?

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
– N. Mandela.

Although I do forget it sometimes, it is a well-established fact in my life that I relish a challenge.

My brother, whom I fondly refer to as The Sibling, is the comedian of our family. One of ‘his’ lines from a few years ago is, without a doubt, “IS THAT A CHALLENGE?!” delivered with a mock booming voice (which isn’t that hard for him considering how low his voice is). So, “Is that a challenge?!” definitely has a special (and random) place within our family’s vernacular.

I digress.

Now, you may or may not remember that a few posts ago I mentioned that I had some Contentment items on my 2014 Bucket List. You may be asking, “How can you make contentment an item you can tick off a Bucket List, Alex?”. To which I would respond,
“You are a smart cookie and, in short, you can’t.”
Then you give me that cute confused look that you do oh, so well.

See, rather than creating something to do this year, I’ve come up with something to not do.

It all began a few weeks ago when I was chatting with a close girlfriend of mine. She’s someone who listens to me ramble about my latest love life, man drama, sagas various and their accompanying stress on a pretty regular basis. i.e. she’s a gem and a patient gem at that. We were discussing Tinder (naturally) as we were crossing Oxford Street at Taylor Square when she shared her recent observations of my love life and I. It went down something like this:

Her: “I don’t think you’ve been very happy.”
Me: “Oh?”
Her: “Yeah. You were really happy being single and now you’re not.”
Me: “Hmm. I think you may have a point… When do you think it started? Post-Hot Muso?”
Her: “No. I think it was just before him.”
Me: “So, around the time I started using Tinder?”
Her: …
Me: “This could explain a lot…”, as I hit my head against a myriad of light bulbs which had suddenly been illuminated.

It took me a bit of time to unravel exactly why Tinder, aka Ego Stroke In The Palm of Your Hand, had actually turned someone who was very happily going about her life with a big dollop of contentment into someone who was (even more) preoccupied with her love life (than usual)… and someone who suddenly found it very dissatisfying.

Here’s my hypothesis: I found Tinder disappointing. See, if you’re inundated with a myriad of ‘matches’ then it’s reasonable to think, “Hey! There’s actually a fairly solid chance that something could actually come of this Tinder thing!”, right? Well, anyway, that was my subconscious logic. And then for nothing (positive) to really come of Tinder I was left feeling… well, disappointed. No, actually ‘disappointed’ isn’t the right word. It made me feel like a less valuable version of myself, because I reasoned that if nothing came to fruition for me on Tinder for god’s sake then what kind of hope did I have in the Real World?

So, during my experience of Tinder I basically went from:

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to

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and then

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to

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to

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and then finally

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Tinder didn’t make me feel good about myself. The Ego Stroke high lasts for about 5 seconds – just in the way that you can have a mega sugar high and then crash after a slurpee. Tinder is my crappy sugar – no real sustenance or nourishment. I started Tinder in a place of contentment and what did I get from it? A big fat wad of discontentment. Brilllliant.

Once I had FINALLY come to this realisation, I knew that going back on Tinder wouldn’t make the discontentment go away. So, I decided when I was writing my Bucket List for this year that my challenge would be to go for a year without any form of online dating. Tinder. RSVP. OkCupid. eHarmony. Zoosk. Elite Singles. Seeking Arrangement. Be2. Ashley Madison. Match. ALL. OF. THEM.*

That’s right, chipmunks: three hundred and sixty-five days sans online dating. Of any kind.

IS THAT A CHALLENGE?! 

Uhh. Yes, it is. Also, how the hell will you survive, Alex?!

My internal protests lasted for about twenty eight seconds, because as soon as I committed myself to it, I was surprised to realise that I felt tangibly more peaceful. I exhaled deeply. I hadn’t even realised how shallow my breathing had been – it had been that long. Bizarrely enough, I think I found the knowledge that there would be no online dating rather comforting.

Of course, I do genuinely wonder if I’ll meet anyone interesting this year, but I do find it encouraging to remind myself that all of our parents and older family friends met each other without the help of RSVP and eHarmony. It’s also reassuring to know that I do have a track record of meeting people in somewhat bizarre places (if you can consider that reassuring?)

It’s been tempting to log back in over the past nearly four weeks, but so far I haven’t gone back to the dark side… and the vast majority of the time I think I really like it this way. I can feel the contentment I’ve missed so badly slowly, drowsily waking up from its anesthetic.

And anyway, there’s the chance that when I’m spending less time looking down at my smartphone screen I’ll be able to make eye-contact with more gents in real life…

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…. and perhaps one of them will bear some resemblance to Dan Humphrey.
Alex x

* I would like to assure you that I did not have an account for each of these. (Or did I?) No, Alex, you didn’t.

the bucket list 2014.

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All of the images in this post are from Miami Horror’s “Holidays” film clip, simply because I think it’s rather awesome. You can watch it here.

It has only taken me nineteen days of this year, but I have finally written my 2014 Bucket List. You took your time.

You may remember that I’ve talked about this annual Bucket List thing before. If not, that’s ok. I won’t hold it against you. Basically, for me, making New Years Resolutions is a sweet idea, but “idea” is the operative word and “idea” is where it usually ends. So, rather than inevitably forgetting about the fact that I wrote resolutions in the first place and then getting to the 30th of December and saying “S#!%! I still haven’t learnt how to do the splits!” I now make an annual Bucket List. The idea is that it gets me to do stuff rather than being wishy washy and airy fairy. I’m the kind of girl who needs concrete stuff which can be crossed off a list.

The items range from the large and shall-be-challenging to the truly mundane to the you’ve-done-this-before, but it helps to remind me to do things I want to do and enjoy doing throughout the year. In addition to this, my logic is that if I slowly chip away at The Big Bucket List each year then I won’t get to 84 and realise that I have a huge list of things that I’ve always wanted to do that I have not done and not much time to do them in.

Initially I felt disconcertingly ambivalent and uninspired at the prospect of writing a new Bucket List… and mildly pressured by the fact that, up until the 7th of January, it felt like everyone was asking me about what my resolutions were. Oh, the pressure. Thankfully, I finally sat down earlier this week, oil pastel crayons and textas  in hand, and let it rip. I like oil pastels, ok? 

This year I decided I’d start with New Years Resolution style themes and then turn them into tangible items for Le Bucket List which I hope to will achieve during the year ahead.

Image2014: Get a boyfriend who resembles Zoidberg from “Futurama”. Got that one in the can.

Four pages and some oil-smeared fingers later and I can present to you the edited version* of my 2014 Bucket List, categorised by their themes:

Financial Management

  • Create your first ever budget and hold yourself accountable to whether you stick to it or not.
  • Set up a regular saving mechanism (you know, the automatic transfer thing with your bank account) with the long, long-term goal of buying an investment property… which will probably be somewhere in the desert between Sydney and Perth but hey, it’ll be a start.

Travel

  • Save up and pay for my own travel/holiday.
  • Explore a new place/city/country.
  • Go on a road trip.

Relationships

  • Make five good new friends.
  • Re-invest in/repair one broken relationship. (Am I allowed to clarify that I don’t have that many relationships to choose from for this? Ok. Thanks.)
  • Write 20 letters (or emails) to friends who live overseas. NB: Facebook messages do not count as emails.

Expanding my mind

  • Read 12 new authors.
  • Read one mind-opening article (or similar) every second day. NB: Daily Mail does not count as ‘mind-opening’. Also, keep a list of what you’ve read until you’re not having to remind yourself to read said articles.
  • Take a screenshot of your current most visited webpages. You know, the one that you see when you open a new tab on Google Chrome. By the end of the year have eight different websites there – sites which help to expand your mind and your world.

Fun things, new things and laughing more

  • Try three new things.
  • Play poker.
  • Have a water fight.
  • Go sailing.
  • Try stand up paddle boarding.
  • Try a new hairstyle – it’s overdue.
  • Go to some stand up comedy.
  • Host a party.
  • Sew something substantial. (I’m thinking a dress or a skirt.)

ImageI realllly dislike my hair getting all f-ed up by the wind and going all over my face. Perhaps I should add letting it get f-ed up to the Bucket List…

Cooking

  • Master five new recipes.
  • Do an invention test. i.e. create a culinary delight without a recipe or help from your mum. i.e. wing it with a random assortment of ingredients and see what happens.
  • Host a dinner party.

Uni, post-uni and career

  • Finish your degree!
  • Write one flipping fantastic uni essay prior to your completion of the aforementioned degree.
  • Apply for a yet to be decided number of graduate programmes, both Sydney and non-Sydney based.
  • Do some writing about marketing stuff.
  • Complete at least one more internship prior to finishing uni.
  • Make a kick arse back-up plan to use in the event that you find yourself utterly unemployed at the start of 2015. Also, make sure that the back-up plan involves living in Italy.

Giving more

  • Volunteer on a regular basis.

Creativity

  • Complete one creative project/piece of work.
  • Go to a life-drawing class.
  • Go to five different art exhibitions.

Contentment

  • (I think I’m going to write a whole post on this so do you mind waiting until next week and then we can pick this up again? Ok. Thanks for that.)

Independence

  • Make some concrete plans for moving out at the end of 2014/start of 2015.
  • Try your hand at house sitting to get yourself ready for moving out.

Living a green life

  • Make five changes to your lifestyle to live a more environmentally-friendly life.
  • Make five changes to your life to make it more ethically and globally conscious and to support social justice.
  • Take five steps to live a more natural/organic/earth-conscious life – particularly in relation to food, skincare and beauty.

I’ve got a feeling that I’m going to need all of the determination and discipline I can muster, but either way,  I’ll be sure to let you know how I go.

Alex x

* I have to keep some things to myself, cherubs. And anyway, I’m pretty sure there’s something about not sharing everything in “The Ultimate Guide to Feminine Mystique”.
(Are you going to Google that?)

thirty-four.

I have 34 days to finish my 2013 Bucket List.

(That’s due to the fact that in 34 days time it’ll be 2014. Originally I calculated it to be 65 days (4 days in October + 30 days in November + 31 days in December), but then I realised that we’re already in November. I am slightly concerned for my brain – particularly seeing as I only recently got used to writing the date as ‘2013’. See why I said I was concerned?

I’m not sure whether you’re anything like me, but at the start of nearly every New Year I go on a self-improvement crusade which manifests in a New Year’s Resolutions list which I invariably forget about and achieve little to none of.

I think my most ambitious and long-lasting resolution to date has been to do the splits.Which, for the record, I am still nowhere near. This could be due to the fact that I haven’t ever really practiced. It was stuck on the resolution list from 2000-2005. Anyway. Most of my other resolutions were basically variations of ‘Be a nicer person, Alex! Be nicer, for crying out loud!’.

b171bac22ed849842992f065cbae2927aka what my 1st of January looked like every year (of resolution-making) up until 2013.

So, at the beginning of this year I decided I would take a different tack. Enter: the annual Bucket List. I want to experience a whole range of amazing, crazy things throughout my life and I don’t want to keep them till my latter years to do. So, the idea behind the annual bucket list is to help me to do interesting, positive, beneficial, fun things throughout my life. Whether they’re big or really insignificant things it’s basically just a way of ensuring that I regularly do these things which are important to me, rather than just talking about them.

Also, I blu-tacked it next to my bedroom door which is convenient as it means that I inadvertently glance at it every day which reminds me of its existence. This is also an advantage because it has meant that the list didn’t get lost in my bedroom debris piles by the start of February. Handy stuff.

Are you going to get onto the actual list anytime soon, lady?! Gee. Calm your farm.

Yeah… so, about that… my 2013 Bucket List ended up having 22 items on it (which, yes, is also coincidentally the same number of years that I’ve been alive) and I’ve done a grand total of FOUR of those items.

Yeah, that was an awkward anti-climax, wasn’t it? 

So, basically you’re trying to say that this only a millimetre better than having written a list of New Years Resolutions which you then forget about? Uhh… Yes.

Except, my amigo, I still have 34 days. No, I won’t realistically get through everything, but I can give it a shot, right?

1945fc8bdbd0fb03406752ac3c9b06eeI found this on Pinterest. Needless to say, that I really want a chalkboard for my Bucket List now.

Here’s what I’m going to be doing over the next 34 days:

  • Join a sailing club and go sailing with said sailing club (part of “Try two new things”. My other new thing was to do Latin dancing, which continues to be lots of fun).
  • Go to a life-drawing class (NB: as a drawer. I’ll save posing for another year.)
  • Have fish and chips at the beach for dinner.
  • Read eight more books from authors whom I haven’t read before. (I think this could be one of the more time-intensive ones. And no, I’m not letting picture books count this time round.)
  • Organise a picnic.
  • Host a dinner party.
  • Sew something.
  • Fix something.
  • Play Texas Holdem.
  • Have a water fight.
  • Go out for a drink by myself.
  • Eat an ice cream by the water with my little girl whom I nanny.

Things which I didn’t do this year that I’m putting on next year’s Bucket List:

  • Volunteer on a long-term/regular basis.
  • Write one awesome uni essay. (I am not going to finish my university career without doing this, dammit.)
  • Complete the Pub2Pub (or similar i.e. 14km). And run it. Why, oh, why did you specify running it?!
  • Raise some money for charity. (Already a WIP.)
  • Consciously and actively save up and pay for a holiday.

And there you go. If I tick of those things I’ll end up doing 16 of the 22 items which I think is a pretty good effort for me.

In the meantime, I guess I have some (fairly eclectic) things to fit in before New Years Eve, don’t I?

Wish me luck… (because although I love it, I haven’t played Texas Holdem in ages.)

Alex x

PS: If anyone who knows me In Real Life cares to join me for any of the above (well, apart from the ‘drinking alone’ one), you’re welcome to join.