Things you want to experience before dying.

July 3, 2008

The only things that are guaranteed in life are death and taxes. This popular saying is true since every person born up until this point in history has either died or (as it stands) will die. Faced with the certainty of our own mortality most of us develop things that we want to accomplish before the inevitable end. “Roach, isn’t this exactly like having a bucket list?”

Yes. However, when I started typing this entry I wasn’t thinking about it as a bucket list. Like many subjects that will be posted, because it’s not an original idea doesn’t make it any less relevant. Anyway, there are going to be 365 questions. Do you want to try and come up with 365 original ideas? Yeah, so stop with the criticism. I just thought of an original tagline for death. Dying – everybody does it, so why not do it with us? Maybe I should trademark that and see if retirement and funeral homes would advertise with it. Wouldn’t you trust them more because of their brutal honesty? Enough with my scattered thoughts, on to my list:

  1. Be Important Enough to be Assassinated – What’s the difference between being murdered and being assassinated? People named John Smith that live around the corner get shot and it’s a murder. Heads of state get assassinated. Look in today’s paper and see if there are any reports of local assassinations. My guess is probably not. Delineation between the two seems completely left to the media that’s reporting the story. Taking a controversial stand on some hot button political topic would probably be my best chance of reaching this satus. “Baseball is corrupting the minds of our children with all of its negative images. They marginalize women by not including them, routinely teach boys how to break the law by encouraging stealing, and don’t even get me started on the steroid controversy. This is why I am going to attempt and get a Constitutional Amendment banning the sport altogether.” Supporting this stance will probably not make me assassination material, but I don’t actually want to be assassinated. Just important enough to be assassinated should I be murdered. Having it on my list doesn’t mean that I have figured out how to make it happen. Credit must also be given to Chad for introducing me to this concept.
  2. Perfect Complement – Johnny Cash’s rendition of “Spiritual” is a song that moves me like few others can. Hearing his deep baritone voice pleading “Jesus, I don’t want to die alone. Jesus if you hear my last breath, don’t leave me here left to die a lonely death” draws emotion from me that I can’t verbalize. All I can think about when hearing it is not wanting to be that person cold, desperate, and alone laying on their deathbed. Genuine love is a very personal thing, and it is something I hope to find before I get to that state (or before my assassination). People have told me before that there is someone for everyone else, and I do believe that. However, I don’t believe that there is only one person that you are destined to be with. If that were the case I’d be screwed because the probability of that person being in China is ever increasing. As much as I adore Natalie Portman and her image, it’s not what I am talking about. I want something palpable. Someone who’s willing to pick a hanger-on out of my nose or shave the back of my head when I can’t see it. Basically I want someone who complements my complex personality and who’ll be by my side so I never end up like the person in the song.
  3. Lucky Number 13 – There is something that I am very ashamed of about my younger days. Something I hide from most of my friends. Growing up I was an Auburn University football fan. It’s true. My brother was an Alabama fan but I was squarely in the Auburn camp up until my tween years. Even after I lost the desire to be an active supporter, I still pulled for the cow college in the Iron Bowl. Attending Alabama made it pretty easy to make the switch and I have never been happier. Currently the University of Alabama claims a share of 12 college football national championships. Nick Saban’s arrival at the Capstone will hopefully produce the 13th championship sooner than later. Let me speak to the Auburn fans among the audience for a moment. Some of you may be sitting there holding up six fingers representing the six Iron Bowl victories in a row. Take that number six and double it (if you can). You see where I’m going with this?
  4. Have a Tailored Outfit – Jeans and a polo shirt are generally what I wear and what I feel most comfortable in. Yet there is something about wearing a suit that’s dignified. Whenever I put one on I immediately become the most attractive person in the room. Granted, I’m usually the only person in the room but I’ve never been a stickler for details. In my opinion there is nothing that makes a man look more like a man than wearing a suit, from a casual seersucker to the nicest of tuxedos. I have owned a few dozen suits and love how classy I looked in them, but none of them were made specifically for me. They were available to anyone of a similar build and adjusted, but not truly mine. I want to choose the style, choose the fabric, get measured, and have a tailor make a suit just for me. One that won’t fit anyone else unless they are the exact same dimensions. A suit is a big part of an outfit, but it’s far from a complete one. I’d also want custom made shoes to fit my planks, custom shirts to fit my arm length, and custom ties in the various pastel colors of my choosing.
  5. Own a Barrel of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey – I don’t know how I developed my taste for Jack Daniel’s whiskey. However it was, it had developed into a full blown obsession by 2005. During football season I would leave work in Birmingham on Friday night, drive to Tuscaloosa, buy a 1.75 liter handle, and spend the night at my girlfriend’s apartment. Gameday meant waking up in time to watch ESPN’s college football preview show, putting ice in a mason jar, and filling it to the brim with Jack. I’d drink like that for no less than 10 hours every Saturday during football season. It got to the point where I was given a mason jar with a handle and Jack Daniel’s paraphernalia as gifts. My affinity for that elixir still remains. Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel is the top of the line whiskey available from the Lynchburg distillery. Looking on the website one night I came across what may be the one thing that could make me die a happy man. They sell Single Barrel by the barrel. You can go and choose your own barrel, have it bottled, and also get the oak barrel it was aged in. Owning my own barrel would be my ultimate pre-death experience.

List 5 things you want to experience before dying.


8 Responses to “Things you want to experience before dying.”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Big Picture:
    1. Motherhood
    2. Finish writing at least one novel I’ve already started
    3. Spend all the time I can with all the people I love, but particularly with Chase
    4. Always continue to learn or pursue something new
    5. Should I live to be old, I want to be able to look back and feel I have lived by the most worthwhile Byronic principle: never give up, even when it’s clear you cannot win.

    Medium Picture:
    1. Teach my children to think for themselves, and maintain a journal about them over the course of their childhoods to give them when they’re grown
    2. Go to Novia Scotia, New Zealand, Russia, and the Arctic
    3. Retire to Great Britain, particularly Wales or southern England
    4. Become a better photographer
    5. Meet and have a conversation with an author I admire

    Small Picture (This Week):
    1. Go out to lunch with a friend
    2. Finish all of this reading for my new job
    3. Catch up on Gina’s travel blog
    4. Make cookies with the stand mixer
    5. Begin reading a new book

  2. Brian Eldridge Says:

    1.) Before I die, I want to have children. Yeah, that sounds stupid and cliche’, but it’s true. I mean, I want to pass on my legacy to somebody. I mean, I’m not rich, and I’m nobody special in the grand scheme of the world, but I still think I’ve got a lot to give to a child. So I’m looking forward to being a father sometime in the next couple years. Roach, you’ll be the Godfather by the way. LOL

    2.) I want to see two things for the University of Kentucky’s athletics program. I want us to pass UCLA in championships before I die. I hate UCLA and everything they did in the Wooden days. I also want to see Kentucky football win it’s 2nd national championship and it’s 1st outright title since well before I was born. This is a big deal to me.

    3.) I want to be able to work on my own terms. Even if I made no more money than I make right now, I think I really want to be my own boss. I want to work when I feel like working. This may be my biggest desire. I not having to follow somebody else’s rules. Even if I could do this for only a year, I’d be grateful for that year.

    4.) I want to be a best selling author. This kind of goes back to number three. I’d never thought about being a novelist. A journalist? Sure… But I like making up stories and telling them. There’s something about entertaining people that I really enjoy. I self-published my first book last month. And I’ve re-written parts of the book maybe four or five times. I don’t think it will ever be perfect, because I don’t believe in perfection, but I think it’s close being as good as it’s going to get. Hopefully I’ll be adding more to my collection and gaining interest from all over…

    5.) I want to experience the joy of being able to provide for my parents the way they did for me as a kid. I’ve got great parents and I wish I had a way to give them whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Is that a reachable goal? Maybe, who knows? But I sure as hell want to experience it.

  3. Ashley Says:

    Hmmm…this is an interesting topic and one for which I actually had a prepared list already…

    1. Own a car with a manual transmission. I think with the rise in gas prices, I might alter this to include a motorcycle.

    2. Backpack around Europe. I’ve had this dream for almost 10 years now. One day it has to become a reality!

    3. Find someone that I love dearly that I want to spend the rest of my life with. Key point: he has to love me back. 🙂

    4. As someone said earlier, I would like to be my own boss. I’m hoping that will become a reality in a few short years.

    5. I just want to be happy and know that I enjoyed each day because it could be the last chance I get. I’m working on being more consistent with that.

  4. katie g. Says:

    5 things I want to experience before I die…I will try to be as honest and as non-flippant as possible.

    1. Echoing earlier sentiments…and this may come as a surprise to people who listen to me after I have come home from a particularly stressful day at work (I’m a children’s librarian), but I want to be a mom. I always thought that I would have children and I still believe that this will be true. I haven’t met someone that I would like to father my future offspring, but I want them. I’ve also always been fascinated by pregnancy and I want to experience that. As these two things are inherently related, I will only count them as one. Hopefully, I will live a long time and not die immediately after having them.

    2. Satisfaction. I would like to be a happy person. I try to be happy, but it seems that it is more of a struggle for me than for some. I am prone to being melancholy for reasons unknown to me. I remember being happy as a child, but somewhere along the way that changed. I don’t have sustained periods of being happy. Often, when I do feel happy I am struck by the thought “how long will this last,” or “I wonder what bad thing will happen as a result of being happy right now?” Dark thoughts perhaps, but they have been honed by years and years of experiencing what happens when the other shoe drops, so to speak.

    3. Owning a home. I don’t want to live in an apartment for the rest of my life. I like the quiet that a house that is not connected to another dwelling brings. One of the primary reasons I enjoy visiting my dad’s house is because it is unattached to any other place. If it is loud, I can just go downstairs and tell whoever is making the racket to shut up. Unfortunately, when I am in my apartment and hear loud music from someone else’s place I go into panic mode. It is an issue I have had for some years now and it is the reason that I get nervous anytime a new neighbor moves in. Every neighbor I have had in the past six years has gotten the “talk.” The “talk” consists of me telling them that loud music really drives me crazy and that I would appreciate them trying to be quiet. Don’t I sound like a barrel of laughs. Oh, did I mention that my favorite thing to listen to is really loud bass music in my car. Such a hypocrite.

    4. Finding someone to share my life with. This probably should have been before the one about children, but it is something that I still consider the elusive dream. I don’t want to be lonely or rejected. I think these are probably universal desires and I believe that the key to this is finding the right person for me. I grew up observing my parents partnership and always assumed that I would find something similar. I wouldn’t say they had an extremely passionate marriage, but I could be wrong. We didn’t really acknowledge stuff like that in my family. I will tell you this, though: they were devoted to one another and were each other’s best friend and my father was devasted when my mom died. They were together almost 40 years and I think he misses her everyday. I want to love someone like that and I want someone to love me like that.

    5. I want to not care what other people think of me. The total freedom that this would allow would be staggering. I think that every year that goes by I get a little more self assured. It is one of the major perks of growing older and I think by the time I hit my 50s or 60s I won’t give such a crap about other people’s opinions or expectations. I say this based on looking at my teen years and early 20s. I was more concerned with how every little thing I did was going to be perceived by others and now I am not so wrapped up in it. I still spend a large part of my time tailoring my behavior to other people and it is something that I am trying to leave behind. I think perhaps this hope and the wish for item #2 are quite related.

  5. Danni Says:

    Well, I already have a kid and someone to spend the rest of my life with (whether he likes it or not) so my list may be a little more radical than practical.

    1. Attend a Dave Matthews Band concert – I’m not a hippie and I don’t adore jam band music. I’m proud to say I actually do not even consider there is any merit to the music produced by the Grateful Dead or Widespread Panic. But for all my 26 years I have wanted to see DMB live just because I admire a lot of their work and I think it would be a helluva live show.

    2. See Michael Jackson in person – Yeh, so I’ve seen him a million times on album covers and in tabloids, but I really want an up close, actual look at what he really looks like. Can you see where his nose might actually attach to his face? Or might you get a glimpse of his white, old lady hands through his afternoon tea gloves? I don’t know. But I sure as hell want to see it for myself.

    3. Achieve notoriety as a “Tell-It-Like-It-Is” journalist – Katie Couric sometimes does it. Diane Sawyer tries a lot of times when she’s interviewing politicians. But I want to be the Dr. Phil of the journalism world and really tell the stories like it is, and not back down from asking the tough questions 10 times 10 different ways until I finally get a damn answer. I don’t want any of the PR crap in my house.

    4. Own an English Bulldog – I had one for three years while my ex-boyfriend was stationed in Afghanistan, and he was the best damn dog I’ve ever had. Frog the Bulldog got anything and everything he wanted in my house for his good behavior, unlike my ex.

    5. Digitally and physically archive all of my photos – I could not even begin to count how many photos, digital or otherwise, I have acquired in my lifetime. And the organization nazi in me nags every single time I stare at the three beer case boxes worth of pictures I have just printed out. I think it would bring greater peace of mind to myself if I could just spend an entire week organizing all those pictures.

  6. Jennifer N Says:

    1. Take the trans-siberian railway from Moscow to Beijing.
    2. Ride a horse across Wyoming or Montana.
    3. Live a life that makes me children proud of me, but also makes them shake their heads, smile and say, “yah, mom was a little crazy wasn’t she?”
    4.Be known in my field, i want every grad student and practitioner of public health and humanitarian aid, to one day say, “yah, well, you know what Jen Neelsen thought about that…”
    5. I know this last one is a cliche, but I want to be madly, passionately in love with someone for the whole of my life, and then I want us to die together, in a plane crash, holding hands, on our way to an adventure.

  7. billy Says:

    1. Wrigley Field – Day/Night double header would be fun. I’d love to sit in the outfield in throw one back. Thanks WGN for brainwashing me into a Cubs fan during my influential pre-teen years when my familly finally purchased cable.

    2. National Championships 13 through 20 – I don’t want to be greedy but I’d be happy with 7 more. It would be nice to experience a few more before I die.

    3. The NFL draft – I just think it would be fun to be there and watch the Jets and Giants fans self implode when their teams draft a random Tight End from the Big 10 (11).

    4. Saturday Night Live – Growing up addicted to the show it would be fun to be a part of the live studio audience. To know you are in the same place as some of the legends of comedy, music, and film/TV would be fun.

    5. Financial Stability – It would be nice at some point in time at my life to not worry about if there’s enough money in my account that towards the end of the pay period that I’m afraid a purchase will not dip into my overdraft protection. I know it’s simply part of being young, married, and having small kids but that day will be nice. If it ever comes.

  8. Leo1 Says:

    I feel that every woman should at least experience the following before dying:

    1. Get a degree in a field that interests you;

    2. Have children;

    3. Live long enough to see your children grown and on their own;

    4. Fall in love with a younger man;

    5. Go to dinner by yourselve at an expensive restaurant and actually enjoy it;

    6. Own a convertible sports car;

    7. Visit every state in the U.S. or at least the continental U.S.;

    8. Go camping for a week;

    9. Expereince loving a pet and watching it grow old;

    10. Spend a week living on the ocean on a fishing boat (this will allow you to experience the depth of your inner physical and mental strength);

    11. Visit at least one foriegn country;

    12. Allow your heart to be broken, but live to forgive the individual who broke your heart;

    13. Live long enough to allow you to look back on your life and realize that you have experienced everything you ever wanted and you have not one single regret; and finally

    14. Make a list of things you feel you need to accomplish in your life before you die.

    I have been lucky enough to have experienced each and every one of these in my own life. I wish each woman reading these the opportunity to enjoy your life to the fullest and to come to the end of your life with not a single regret. God Bless.

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