Monday, March 18, 2013

Twenty for the Twenties

I realized today, courtesy of a wretched friend with far too good of a memory, that I have a birthday coming up in two months.  And it's the last birthday of my twenties.

I need a pause so that I may suck in my breath dramatically.

Thank you.  I think that helped a little.

Yes, I know that 29 is not old, that I have plenty more years ahead of me (well, probably — I mean, I've cheated death so many times now that I'm starting to think that I might be part cockroach), and that birthdays are not the enemy.  But, I still am having a hard time realizing that the twenties are almost over.  I mean, where did the time go?  And how did it go so quickly?

I used to make lists of things to do each year, and I got out of the practice after completely failing at the list I made before turning 26.  This year, however, in honor of 29 being the last year of my twenties, I have made a list of twenty things to do before my twenties are over (sort of a 'bucket list'):

  1. Go to Ireland.  See the original Book of Kells, Skellig Michael, Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College, and about a dozen other sites.
  2. Go to 桂林 (Guilin), one of the most beautiful places in China.
  3. Go to 云南 (Yunnan) province.
  4. Pass the HSK 4.
  5. Pass the HSK 5.
  6. Learn to crochet.
  7. Get a dog.
  8. Finish editing and publishing Sidhe Eyes.
  9. Write my second novel.
  10. Start my second master's degree (an M.Ed. this time).
  11. Write a textbook.
  12. Read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in Chinese.
  13. Figure out Evernote.  
  14. Try a hobby that I've never tried before.
  15. Eat a fruit that I've never seen before.
  16. Lose the weight that I gained in grad school.
  17. Decorate my next apartment.  (I have avoided this in the past two apartments.)
  18. Make my own cookbook of recipes that can 'easily' be made in China.
  19. Start keeping a journal again.
  20. Have a qípáo made.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"