My Bucket List

jdomawa © 2011* All Rights Reserved

My first 100 + Dreams: Hoping they'll come true


1.       Have a house on my own name without any mortgage – this is why I am opting to leave my current job despite the fact that I love it. I can probably afford a house based on my current salary but the thing is, when I went to a realtor, the resulting computations showed that I must surrender 2/3 of my salary to a bank for the next 20 years in order to make that happen. That's a sacrifice I couldn't make. It’s not worth it: working for something that would tie me down and not allow me to enjoy my life. Life is more than that, way more than a life governed by debt. If someday, I decide to make it happen, I don’t think I’ll opt to live in a city. A secluded nook nestled in the mountains would be best for me: a bungalow house with a basement, a study, a library, a cozy den, a carpentry shop outside and a room for a hot tub. A single man's dream home.[Apr 2011- it seems that a mortgage is unavoidable in the future... the question now is, where does one want that cottage built...and when]

2.       Own an organic farm – I don’t see myself working till I’m 60. If I reach my fifties and I’m still working my ass off, something is seriously wrong with my life. After spending the great majority of one’s productive years in the pursuit of material comforts, the last few decades should be spent enjoying the fruits of one's labors. I love nature and growing things. When the time comes, I want to spend my old age in idle contemplation and close to the earth. [goes hand in hand with #1]

3.       Own a fully tricked out Volkswagen 70s model – I am not a car buff like many men but my introduction to the VW bug by a student/friend has made me lust for a sleek Beetle. I have one on the works right now and one of my greatest regrets is that I’ll probably only get to play with it for a month before I must bid it adieu. Sniff, sniff. [Apr 2011-on the works, I probably won't get behind the steering wheel for a long time though, a very long time...sniff]

4.       Own a high end hybrid pickup – while hybrids are concentrated right now to sedans, I am crossing my fingers that by the time I can afford it (IF that time comes), a hybrid for trucks will be available. I'm after all, a cowboy from the Cordilleras. It will be my all around utility ride. For show and as a trophy, I’ll have the VW bug. [Apr 2011-to buy or not to buy a Toyota Tundra/Tacoma. the insurance and the biweekly payments is a hard pill to swallow though...]

5.       Own a digital photography studio kit – If there is anything I consider to be my vice, it would be photography. By the time I held my grandpa’s SLR to the moment I touched a DSLR, I knew I’ve found my one vice in this world. When retirement comes, I hope I’ll have a kick ass studio rig, not for work but for myself. [Apr 2011- one SB 700 flash already bought with a watertight cam case, next a macro or telephoto lens...]

6.       Own a business (large enough to support a simple life and small enough to not eat my time) – this is my first priority of sorts as preparation for old age. I need to save for enough capital to afford a small franchise business. If I manage to do that, I think I can retire with ease. The if is however, one big IF. [Apr 2011-might work out some investment portfolios in the future to get this...]

7.       Own a library –the printed words of literature and the sciences are on decline. I am a member of a generation that straddles the fine line between the paper age and the digital age. I prefer the warmth of paper. And I’ve always loved books and if I do get a house, the library will be one of the first rooms to be set up.[Apr 2011 - Three large boxes of book collections in my hometown, and currently building up again...] - in process

8.       Own a carpentry shed – I miss working with my hands. While other men are mechanically inclined, I am leaning more towards wood working. Wood is alive unlike metal. This, however, will not be a shop that will churn out commercial products, oh no, it’s a hobbyist indulgence to occupy one’s artistic leaning in between photography, writing and gardening.[With #1, still a long way to go.]

9.       Own a decent retirement plan/pension – every old man’s dream. [Apr 2011-RRSSPs in a year, on track so far and SSS matures by the time I'm 65]

10.   Own a stargazing telescope – whoever has not looked up in a clear night up to the vastness of the universe and not be awed by its majesty has missed out on something big. [delayed for now]

11.   Own a violin – someone once wrote that in order to say that you’ve lived a good life, you must have an appreciation for music and learn at least the basics of a musical instrument. I agree with whoever wrote this. Although I’m probably more attuned with the piano, I am more enamored by the violin. To date, however, I’ve never attempted to play much less touch one. Someday though, someday…

12.   Learn to play one of Beethoven’s violin sonatas

13.   Own a wine cellar – I’m a chemical engineer. I should apply what I learned and wine is the best companion for cold evenings spent in solitude.

14.   Own a horse – I’ve never ridden a horse and I am afraid of riding one. To face one’s fears, one must own it.

15.   Own a Labrador or a pug – when a life is decided to be spent alone, one needs a surrogate companion. A dog fits that perfectly. She’s loyal, she’s loving, she doesn’t ask for anything extravagant, she knows how to keep company, and did I mention she’s loyal. [this will wait when I reach my 60s, if I reach my 60s...]

16.   Own a Persian cat – if a dog has a fault, it’s that she’s too loyal. If you want something that has an aura of mystery about her, own a cat. [see previous]

17.   Have a 70” plasma screen TV with Dolby surround sound system – one of the things a geek must splurge on. [once number 1 is done]

18.   Paint – anyone can take a brush and some pastels and do a work of art. Painting is a meditative therapy in its purest form, not indulged in for the purposes of making money but for finding the soul of things and in the process finding oneself.

19.   Learn Level 3 Nihonggo – I’m an otaku born on a different country but an otaku nonetheless. While we probably are exhorted to remember the events of World War II when considering the japs, we are a generation removed from that. These are modern times and the resentments of the past must not continue to govern our future. Nihonggo-ga wakarimasu! I want to say this in the future with confidence. [working on it]

20.   Learn to bake cakes – how do you keep the fires of friendship? Most of my friends are women and as they get married, the bond of friendships are cut (our society frowns upon married women and single men engaged in platonic friendship, its our culture). When menopause settles and these friendships become accepted again, what better way to do it than to eat cake and talk.

21.   Learn the art of food preservation

22.   Learn to cultivate orchids in a greenhouse – contrary to what most people think, orchids require meticulous care bordering on the obsessive: the level of humidity, the elevation and other factors of the like must be properly considered for them to live properly. And nothing comes close to the beauty of an orchid flower and even if I am a full blooded male, the poet in me appreciates the raw beauty of its rare blossoms.

23.   Learn the intricacies of origami – why do I love Japanese culture? There is a passion there that could not be found  in any other culture save the Italians and the French. There are levels of subtle philosophy beneath the façade of their ancient arts. Origami is no exception to this.

24.   Own a fishpond – when I’m old and I have an organic farm, on one corner of it, there is a fishpond. For meditative purposes and for food (though I hate to eat fish, particularly boiled fish)

25.   Fish – the act not the fish itself. Other men like hunting women for the adrenaline rush of conquest. Unfortunately, my conscience would not allow me to play with the fairer sex. As an alternative, either I hunt for car parts, big game or fish. I chose to fish.

26.   Own a mountain bike – I’d like to say I want to get fit. That’s a lame excuse and we all know it. It’s the chance to wear body hugging Speedo cycling trunks that nails it. Just see the old men on bikes wearing them and you’ll get the picture. If you’re young or female, you probably won’t get the joke. [Apr 2011 - still deciding whether or not it is a logical purchase in a place where its winter most of the time...] - done

27.   Own a tricked out computer rig – did I mention that I am a geek? If it hasn’t registered yet, I am a geek, a techno geek to be exact. I’m not into mini components though, like cellphones,netbooks or ipods. I am old school and prefer the big ones. I prefer the PC monster with its watt – guzzling insides. I'm gonna get me a monster rig someday, unless of course, holo – gaming platforms emerge in the future. Then ibang usapan na yun. LOL

28.   Visit Palawan – I am intrigued by people telling me that Palawan in not a part of the islands. I’m intrigued. [within 10 years from 2011]

29.   Visit Boracay – they say it is slowly decaying and maybe by the time I can afford a trip there, it’s going to be a cesspool. For now, it’s part of my list.[within 10 years from 2011]

30.   Set foot in Mindanao – any part of the South will do, any part will do.[within 10 years from 2011 particularly Polomoloc (?) since I have a friend there]

31.   Visit Hongkong Disneyland – just an excuse really. If you don’t get it, ask your 'wink, wink' friends. [within 10 years from 2011 - or maybe San Diego?...]

32.   Visit Akihabara – the mecca for otakus. If I don’t get to visit any of the places here on my list, I’d sacrifice getting into debt to go to Akihabara just once before I die. And I mean it.

33.   Don a cosplay costume – on a place where no one knows me. This I’ll definitely do before I die

34.   Visit ComicCon – for the geek in me. However, compared to #32 and #33, this is optional [Apr 2011 - two more months and I'll cross this out on my list]

35.   Stand on Mount Fuji – since I’ll scale heaven and earth to get to Akihabara, a side trip to scale Mount Fuji is possible. For meditative purposes.

36.   Go to an onsen for a full weekend – it goes hand in hand with #33, #32 and #35. Only a japanophile would understand this.

37.   Ride a Japanese bullet train from the beginning to the end of its line and meet a nori – tetsu.

38.   Visit Studio Ghibli – the Akihabara visit topped by a visit to the house of Totoro. That is heaven on earth.

39.   Watch Sakura blossoms while drinking a bottle of sake – I’d like to add while wearing a kimono (before you start chuckling, kimonos are not just for women in japan, they are also for men) but that would be a bonus. Maybe Yuko at my side (hahaha, only in dreams brothers, only in our dreams). Sakura blossoms falling however, is sheer poetry.

40.   Get Yuko Takeuchi’s autograph – This is probably impossible but who knows:miracles do happen. All men have their own celebrity crushes. Most of my generation pine for Angelina or Megan Fox while vehemently trying to deny it. Me, I’ll be honest, I have a crush on Yuko. If you don’t know her, google her. But let me clarify that I am not a fanatic obsessed fan. I just like her. why? Watch either Lunch no Jouu, Bara no nai Hanaya or Pride, three of what I think are her best TV works or her movies: Sidecar no Inu or Closed Note and you’ll understand.

41.   Own a samurai sword – a replica will do as an imposing display on top of my study table.

42.   Visit Thailand – I probably won't be able to afford the finances to visit Paris or Venice, so I’ll settle with the next best thing: Thailand (Sorry Philippines, you're way way WAy behind that list).

43.   Hook up with ‘hippie’ tourists and tour Asia on a budget – they exist and they thrive beneath the underbelly of glorified tourists. If I’m strong enough and brave enough to face the unknown and my future finances allow it, I’ll probably do it. Mark my words.

44.   Ride an elephant – not a zoo elephant, a real elephant.

45.   Watch a King Cobra Snake Charmer – after watching Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel for a long time, I have the urge to go myself to those exotic locales. It is probably an itch that might never get scratched.

46.   Learn to raise my head when swimming – I can swim, mind you, but I need a snorkel or a tank since for the life of me, I can’t raise my head above water to breathe in air. Its messed up, I know, but that’s one of the strange things I can't do.

47.   Scuba dive on a reef and meet a real shark – bwahaha

48.   Go on a cruise ship vacation – this is optional. If I get married, its mandatory.

49.   Display my photos on a personal art gallery show – ‘suntok sa buwan’ as a local singer sings it. Knowing how many artists and photographers there are in the world who are starving, my chance for mounting my own show is close to zero. It bears mentioning though.

50.   Paint ten pieces using oil on canvas as a medium – see # 49

51.   Publish a book of poetry – I probably could do this  if I save enough money to self publish. If no publisher gets interested, that would be the last resort to fulfill this dream. I’m not vain though. The fact that some people know and appreciate that I write is more than enough vindication for me.

52.   Publish first novel – I’ll spend the rest of my days to achieve a few set goals. This is one of them. I need vindication for my work and to get published, just get published would be enough for me.

53.   Publish 2nd novel – if the first novel is vindication, the second is a confirmation

54.   Publish 3rd novel – the third on the other hand is a milestone. I hope to just even get to the first.

55.   Create own website – I lost touch with my programming skills after six years of focusing on teaching. I need to rediscover it.

56.   Be a contributor of a published short story anthology

57.   Join SFWA – I pray fervently that someday I get listed as one of their members.

58.   Get Canadian citizenship – why do I want to leave the Philippines. Do I need to say why? Why do I want Canadian citizenship? I want to be free. [Apr 2011 - in process]

59.   Build a snowman – nearly there [Apr 2011 - too damn cold outside]

60.   See the falling leaves of autumn – like watching sakura blossoms, this is sheer poetry

61.   A tea ceremony in early spring – food for the soul

62.   Go a year without rice – honestly, I need to be free from this temptation. Its making me fat. [this looks impossible now, it seems that rice will always be available anywhere I go]

63.   Volunteer for a cause

64.   Plant a tree for every year I live after thirty

65.   Participate in a marathon for a cause and finish it no matter what happens

66.   Hold up a placard during Earth Day – I am not an activist. I don’t usually see the sense of riling people up for a cause which everyone knows in their hearts to be real. Sometimes, however, we need to be reminded of things and Earth Day is a day of great reminders.

67.   Sponsor just one scholar for high school or college – for high school, I can probably afford to save for enough money to get one student through four years of school in the far future. As for the college sponsorship, alone? I can't but maybe I can find some like minded individuals to pool some resources someday for even just one scholar. Any volunteers anybody? After nine or ten years?

68.   Organize summer teach with NGOs – I found out that even if I did not really plan on being a teacher, I love teaching. And if I cannot go back to teaching full time, there are always volunteer teaching jobs when one becomes old and retired.

69.   Organize a book drive for children – I owe my skills and the life I have today to books. Aside from my mom and my teachers in elementary and some in high school, I owe most of who I am to the knowledge I gained from books. I think that people today have lost that connection and its would be high time for the next generation to rediscover it.

70.   Reactivate my defunct Lions Club membership – to be honest most civic groups in the old country today attract members for all the wrong selfish reasons. They want to join clubs for the prestige of being called a Lion or a Rotary Club member. Ask any of them what the clubs stand for and most wouldn’t be able to give you an answer (as an example, the Lions Club's charter was formed for the specific objective of helping of the blind and the seeing impaired). Nowadays, do you see them championing these causes? We all know the answer.

71.   Organize a Poetry Reading Club – I lament the impending slow death of literature in the Philippines. Modern people are more and more interested with the instant gratification of visual media that literature is getting the boot more and more. What better way to revive it than to gather like-minded individuals someday and rekindle the desire to preserve it.

72.   Join an auto show – with the future tricked out beetle. I can’t wait for that. Manpride you know.

73.   Visit Easter School after 15 years – the countdown starts now. High school still houses one’s most lingering memories. Although Sir Sudkie’s guava trees and the pine trees that once sheltered our lunch have gone to private realtors and the once flat ground in front of the HS  has become one messy mud pool, I have in my mind that picture of Easter circa 1995 – 1997. The memory brings me tears.

74.   Meet the Dalai Lama – it may never get realized but who knows, right? His plane might just experience engine troubles some day and as a last resort, he parachutes down to save himself and he just happens to land at the one place where I happen to be in. Its one hell of a series of coincidences but who knows, right? It might just happen.

75.   Win a hundred bucks on a poker hand – I am not a gambler. I hate gambling and gamblers. I know the effect of the vice on family and the individual himself. But I am a poker enthusiast. On a friendly game, I’d like to win a hundred bucks on an all – in hand if only for bragging rights

76.   Climb a mountain, reach the summit and shout to the four corners of the earth

77.   Visit a plastic surgeon’s practice just for the fun of it. – not what you are thinking. I’m completely comfortable the way I am, although I can’t see my knees in most days. HAHAHA!

78.   Join a New Age Group – contrary to the perceptions of people that New Age is a religion, its not. Google it if you don’t believe me.

79.   Visit the floor of any stock exchange – to see how people shift from being sane to being mad in real time. Reality TV won't get any better than this

80.   Make a fool of myself at a dance floor – done and I tell you, it’s an experience that needs no repeating. I am proud to say that I did it but you won’t see me doing it anytime again. Never![Done!!]

81.   Improve my Mom’s house – I owe it to her. It is probably the only thing I can do materially to thank her for everything she's done for me. This is one of my priorities in this list and everything else is secondary until after I do this for her. That is how much she means to me. [I'll leave this to my brother, he owns the house now]

82.   Give my mom a baking set – my mom has only one grandson as of the time I write this, courtesy of my sister. I hope my brother gives her two more grandchildren and my sister another grandchild in the near future. As for me, I'll give her a baking set.

83.   Build mom a working greenhouse – it’s her one passion: her plants.

84.   See my siblings get married and have kids – The duty of the eldest child is to make sure the younger siblings get settled down. I stand by that principle and only a shotgun wielding woman in a wedding dress can convince me otherwise. [one more to go and this is crossed out]

85.   Sponsor a family reunion even for just once – my family on both my mother and father side are 'lost'. We straddle the gray area between clans. The only solution is to make it clearer.

86.   Complete the family tree – I lost the product of five years of research when I transferred lodgings awhile back. I have to restart from scratch.

87.   See my future nieces and nephews – the one spice of the future I can be definite about. Having my own kids – for the moment the chance is zero. wink*wink*

88.   Create a grotesque wooden sculpture to scare the hell out of bullies

89.   Make my own furniture set – I’ll ask help building a house should I manage to afford it in the future. The furniture inside, however, I want to build on my own with my own hands. Why? What else would a bachelor occupy his time with cooped up alone in an empty house beneath solitary pine trees in the middle of nowhere?

90.   Make an animation short – The combination of Flash, Dreamweaver and Photoshop or their future versions and lots of idle time should do the trick

91.   Do a documentary of my hometown – a handheld digicam, an improvised mike holder and some lights; some willing people who want to see their faces on camera and video editing software. That should do it.

92.   Own a hot tub – when the bones start to ache, there are two things an old man mustn’t do without: a lazy-boy recliner and a hot tub. I’m willing to die in any of both.

93.   Make my own swimming pool – a shovel, a backhoe hired for a day, some tiles, galvanized pipes and a water source. Do I need anything more? That’s in the far future, though. Far, far away…

94.   Catch ‘kaling’ on a moonless night – only a few people will understand this. For those who do, wanna join me someday? Kalings by then would probably be extinct but it’s not the catch that we should be after, it’s the experience.

95.   Stargaze – see #10

96.   Hear the words ‘I love you’ whispered in my ears – whether it’s a nephew or niece trying to extort money from their visiting bachelor uncle or from a stranger in a strange bar under the influence of spirits. I’d prefer that it is from a woman nestled in my arms on a cold night in December who really means it. But that’s like asking for the moon. Its wishful thinking at best.

97.   Make love to a wonderful woman – a fantasy my friends, but allow a man his fantasy. At least just this once...

98.   If and when I fulfill half of this list and a woman would still take me, I’ll allow it – ‘nuff said.

99.   Based on #99, if it is still stands by that time, beget a kid – this is the time you can laugh at me.

100.  2028. I leave it at that

101.   Die a happy man – when I reach that point of no return I’d like to say without doubt that I have lived my life on my own terms. I’d die a happy man then.

102. Do God's will. If all else fails, this mustn't...

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