I am halfway done with the semester! Yay, so excited! Most of my classes are your average academic endeavor, but one is not. My communications class is like group therapy twice a week. It's called 'Interpersonal Communications', so it's all talking on a face to face level, civility, respect and learning to listen. I'm really enjoying it. We have been discussing our greatest fears and our greatest goals, and it got me thinking about my Stupendous Life List, inspired by Maggie.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said “The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” I think on some level my greatest fear and my greatest goal are related. If I did not have a fear to work through my goal would be irrelevant. My greatest fear is stagnation, or to stop developing, progressing and developing. My greatest goal is the never ending “Stupendous Life List” I have made for myself. Using the fear of being stagnant as a vehicle for constant growth and change I am able to accomplish my greatest goal.
I am constantly reminded how easy it would be to just stop. While that sounds appealing to many people, it is one of my greatest fears. The longer I eschew pushing the limits that surround me, the more I feel as if I am shrugging off my responsibility to evolve. Whether it’s the overall stagnation of humanity not fully developing its potential, accepting the status quo, or my own failure to improve my skills, abilities, and consciousness, I worry that we all might settle for something less than pure delight. While there are an abundance of daily mundane activities, I try and do something to inject LIFE! into life. Learning something new often sparks an idea, even those everyday activities can be spiced up by doing something a different way. I fear not being able to share a deeper truth, beauty, goodness and a fresh way of thinking with the people I know and love. I fear the stagnation of even one person can have a major impact on society and its evolution as well.
My greatest goal is to never finish finding things that sound like fun to do. My Stupendous Life List is an ever changing journey of ideas, places, people, and things. The list started as a ‘100 things I want to do before I die' kind of list. I soon realized that there was more I wanted to accomplish, that this list is just a jumping off point, and that the list is constantly growing. The list is the goal, not just the individual items. The only rules I have are: no item can be crossed from the list unless I have participated in the activity, and items put on the list can be anything, as long as they are things I really want to accomplish/do. In a way, the list is really a goal on how I want to live my life; to the fullest extent possible. It’s true some of these ideas may never be realized, but the journey along the way is the most important part. Some of the things on my Stupendous Life List are: go on a Safari in Africa, step foot in all 50 states, go back to school (accomplished), photograph 100 interesting doorknockers in downtown Fredericksburg, look at the Taj Mahal from the edge of its reflecting pool, use my work to improve lives, make a piece of art and place it in a public place when nobody’s looking (accomplished), get a master’s degree, see the Dali Lama in person (accomplished). The list goes on and on, as I believe it should.
The way my greatest fear and greatest goal work together is a lovely symbiosis. I’m not saying there aren’t days where I just snuggle in the warmth of my down comforter with a dog at my side and think of nothing but sugarplum fairies. I do, those days exist and are important to rejuvenate an otherwise tired body. Most of my days are working, thinking, creating, and learning. These are the days that I don’t allow stagnation to enter and take over, these are the days I am actually living, and learning from my Stupendous Life List. My greatest fear and greatest goal; one would not exist without the other, and the drive to fix the fear or meet the goal is sustained by the opposite.