Kicking The Bucket – Exercise #16

There are movies, there are books, there are websites, and there are all sorts of folks offering advice on the subject. But, when it comes to a bucket list each of ours is a personal thing. What we want to do and what we feel we need to accomplish before we shuffle off this mortal coil is different for each person. The exercise for today, from my great list of exercises to do, is “What is at the top of my bucket list.”

Swiss Cheese in a BucketI never thought so much about having a bucket list myself  I have things I’d like to do in life, places I’d like to go, and  people I want to meet, but I’ve never put them on a list of “things I have to do before I die or I am going to die.” I’m also very happy to say that a lot of the things I wanted to do in life I have already done. Not because I set out with some dogged determination that I had to accomplish something,  but because I just did. It’s kind of like the old Nike ad of “just do it”.

Two of the things that I had always wanted to do envolved traveling. The first was to go to Ireland, and the second was to visit England. Luckily my father got invited to speak at a conference at Trinity College in Dublin 1992 and amazingly he asked my sister and me if we wanted to go along. How could anyone turned down such an invitation? We spent a marvelous week in Dublin and some other southerly parts of Ireland enjoying the history, people, poking the Book of Kells (well not really, I poked the case) and generally exploring and having a good time.

Later, on our 15th anniversary, my wife and I got a chance to go to England. She had a relative living just outside of London who kindly offered us full use of their house. They were to be away in Rome that week! Again, too good a deal to pass up – and we didn’t. I don’t think anyone could hit all the high points of the London area to lifetime, but we did a good bit. And I also did something I really wanted to which was visit Abingdon, the home of the original MG factory. Also got to visit Warwick Castle, Bath, and catch Phantom of the Opera at the Queen’s Theatre.

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Early Memories – Exercise #13

Memories, “like the corners of my mind.” Or in my case more like the dusty things that get stuffed under the bed and you find years later and wonder what they heck it are. Our exercise for today, lucky number 13, is “your earliest memory.” That goes along long way back. It makes me wish I done this exercise when I was younger when I may have remembered more.

New Orleans Streetcar from AbitaThe funny thing about memories though is that the further away from the actual events we get, the harder it is to tell if the memory is fact or just something we made up. Or something in between. This doesn’t make it any less true, but it does mean it doesn’t necessarily match any one else’s recollection of the event. In fact sometimes I have memories of dreams that on later inspection I can’t ascertain if they ever really happened at all.

What I would assume is my earliest memory is of walking down a short stretch of road with a teddy bear in my arm while pulling a wagon. We were living in the West Ashley area of Charleston, where I have spent most of my life, but we were moving from a house my parents were renting to one they bought. A move of just a few street numbers – only leapfrogging one house. I must have been about 4 or 5 at the time. Now, did this actually take place? Do I only remember it because my parents told me about it, and I combined it with visions of that street that I had later? No idea. Doesn’t matter. It happened in some way and is firmly anchored in my head. It exists.

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My Worst Habits – Exercise #9

Seriously? My worst habits? That is what this exercise wants me to discuss next? But I don’t have any bad habits – I am Agitated Habitsperfect! And modest too. But you know, asking someone to list their worst habits is like those job interview questions where they ask you what the worst thing about your job performance would be … “oh, the worst thing is that I want everything to be right. I just care too much!”  Sure, right. That means you are a pain in the butt.

But, enough of them, back to me. Luckily this says my worst “habits” not “traits” so I don’t have to go into my insecurities or anything. Probably my worst habit is procrastination. I am one of those people who claims that “I do my best work under pressure.” Well that is because most of my work is done under pressure because I wait till the last minute to do it. I have done that since I was a kid in school researching and writing papers. Honestly I waited until the last minute before even trying to read whatever book we were writing on. The bad thing about that is that I am a very slow reader. I have always read like the English major I am. I labor over each word and sentence; analyzing the construction of the smallest details in both the mechanics and the meaning. Let me tell you, when you are reading Dickens that can take a very long time!

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