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A 20-something's bucket list

I’ve had friends who’ve made bucket lists for all types of situations. They want to make the most out of their senior year of college. They want to make it to see all of the great sights of a place before they leave their vacation.

Bucket lists seem to be things that people make when they’re on the verge of losing it. I think this is a complete shame. It’s always disheartening to me when I hear that vacationers are more likely to see the great sights in a city—the Field Museum, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China—than the people who actually live there. In fact, people moving from a city make their own bucket lists of sorts; they only get around to seeing the major attractions in the city when it’s their last chance to do it.

I think this logic is absolutely wrong. I want to see and do things before it’s my last chance, to integrate them into the structure of my life before it’s too late. So I think I’m going to make a bucket list of things I want to do before I die now, so that I can actually get them done. Maybe you should do the same.

  1. Learn German fluently. I love German for a reason I can’t explain. I started studying in college, but I never learned it completely. It’s inherently embarrassing to visit a country and force them to speak your language because you don’t know theirs well enough. I want to return and hold a conversation with anyone in German.
  2. Write a novel. Not the “Great American Novel” or some bullshit like that, but I wrote a novella for my final project in college and it was the most trying, difficult and ultimately rewarding thing that I’ve ever done. Actually finishing a novel—or novels-- to a complete degree is one of my primary goals in life.
  3. Visit Greece. I don’t know what it is about some places that you’ve never been, but they develop a kind of obscure mythos that makes you gravitate towards them in a way you don’t understand. That’s how it is for me and Greece. I want to see if this ancient place lives up to the great success of its gyros.
  4. Adopt a dog. I’ve wanted a big, furry mutt ever since I can remember. I don’t care if they drool or smell or take up more room in my bed than I do. I’m going to have a dog one day to be my very best friend.
  5. Teach at a university. As I contemplate graduate school, it’s difficult to admit that this is really what I want. I’ve been pushing it away for so long, I have to work to accept it now. There are things in life that you shouldn’t do because they’re too difficult, too competitive, too impractical, but then again, you don’t want to be on your deathbed at 102 wishing that you had thrown caution to the wind and done them anyway.
  6. Publish academic articles. I want to undergo a significant research project and discover something new or look at it from another perspective. I love writing essays more than anything in the world, so this seems like a good way to go. And will probably be necessary in my “professor” career.