By Francine Kopun, Toronto Star, December 30, 2010
The most popular goals in Toronto, according to the site, are to stop procrastinating, fall in love, write a book, lose weight, get a tattoo, see the Northern Lights, travel the world, go on a road trip with no predetermined destination and to be happy.
Lose weight, save money and be happy are the top resolutions of 2011 so far, according to the site, which is at 48,000 New Year’s resolutions and counting.
Other lists on other sites range from the impossible and absurd to the predictable, whimsical, clueless and subversive. There are people who want to learn to read minds before they die, walk on water, be in two places at once, fly a hot-air balloon across the country, swim with dolphins and buy bath towels.
Everyone, it seems, has taken to making a list of all the things they want to do before they die. And the Jack Nicholson movie, The Bucket List, with Morgan Freeman took the idea to the movie screen. Although I do frequently consider walking the streets of Paris and Rome and Athens and Jerusalem and Sydney and Perhaps even Beijing and Singapore....I really liked the notion that Martin Luther King offered, to the effect that 'when you have found what it is you would die for, then you are ready to live'....
There is a qualitative difference between a list of actions that one wishes to complete and an attitude in which one wishes to go through each day.
It is a difference that is quite noticeable and the activities list is much more in tune with the culture of the moment, at least in the west.
I once interviewed for a consulting position with a small firm that imported testing materials from a Waco TX firm, to determine the specific skills and attitudes in candidates applying for jobs, so they could sell this 'tool' to prospective employers and thereby help them recruit the kind of candidates for their open positions.
Naturally, I answered the questions as honestly as I could, having been told that the answers would not impact the decision of the executive of the firm, about my potential hire. As part of the process, I was also hosted by a dozen current members of the company, in an attempt to find a fit.
After one of the lunches, the principal of the company noted, with some derision, "Everytime we ask you a question, you respond with a story; you never answer with a list!"
"That's because I do not think in lists," I immediately responded..."It is in stories that we both discover and reveal who we are, " I continued.
So in response to the question, 'what do I want to do before I die?' I would have to tell another story...
It is in rekoning with those people whom I have somehow offended, or pushed away that I would like to put it right.
It is in re-connecting with those people who have deliberately chosen to push me away that I would like to put effort.
It is in being able to tell three daughters just how proud of them and their lives and their accomplishments that I would like to move.
It is in building bridges between the have's and the have-not's that I see opportunity.
It is in thinking clearly about issues that seem to 'grab hold' of my attention, and in writing about those issues with as must clarity and passion and inspiration...that I would like to live each day..
So that includes reading and questioning, reflecting and imagining, intuiting and dreaming and reaching out...in all of the ways offered...including this little project...to inspire others to step up their game, so that they can grasp all of the opportunities that come each day, without having to climb a mountain, or swim an ocean or sailing around the world, or write the great novel, or act in some epic movie....
And as we close out another year, I like to recall holding my newest grand-daughter for the first time, while talking to her mother about holding her for the first time...
And I like to remember and recall those moments when I first met my wife and partner and recalling how they were and continue to be laden with promise...from her eyes, and from her inspiration and from her boundless hope all of which continue to inspire these many years later...
And I want to continue to reciprocate my own enthusiasm and hope into whatever activities seem appropriate...
Happy New Year!