I have a running joke with a friend of mine that the first mountain I climb is an active volcano and it will be my last. That it will either erupt or I will need to become the human sacrifice so that others may live. He’s an avid hiker and has hiked all different kinds of mountains during his life. I love the outdoors, but I have never really lived in any areas where mountains are so I am still pretty new to hiking. I found a kids book that had two mouse creatures standing on top of a mountain and I sent him a photo of it. He replied who are you aspiring to be? Since it was hours later I completely forgot I sent him the photo and read the question as it was… “Who are you aspiring to be?”

I didn’t reply to his message just then but right away I knew what my answer was to the this question. Alive. I aspire to be alive and that’s it. Now this is deeper than simply breathing and eating meals. Although I realize some people do struggle with these things that we take for granted. I mean more along the lines of being awake to my surroundings and trying to live as much as I can each day, week, and month. While some of us just zone out on our car rides and only plan for the next day off to run errands it’s become more a priority lately to find fun things to do. It’s become more important to find things to improve myself or to improve my environment and make less excuses. Work will always be work and it will never be perfect. That doesn’t mean my life away from work has to be connected to everything outside that world.

I don’t write as much as I used to, so if you’re reading this you probably have no idea who I am. Each summer I makes a goals list of five or six things. I write down things that I want to accomplish from spring to fall. I’m not a big fan of cold weather so I usually don’t do much while it’s cold. Usually each item is an item that’s already on the larger Goals List that I plan to accomplish over my lifetime. I’m currently at 85 items on the list. I’d like to own my own house and build a tree house one day but I’m simply not there in my life right now. Those will have to sit on the Goals List for a while. As for now this is the list for 2017:

#14 Visit California,   #21 Grow a Garden,    #54 Climb a Mountain

#64 Visit Canada,    #65 Learn Sign Language,    #69 Complete an Obstacle Course Challenge

Each year I write down five or six items and hope that I can at least accomplish two or three of them. If it’s a bad year and a lot of crap happens I strive to get at least one checked off. At least then I know I accomplished something that I’ve always wanted to do. If I get more than three I’m pretty proud of myself. A lot of the time, money and time are the biggest obstacles towards crossing things off the list. It’s not the willingness to complete them. Last year’s goals were more focused on improving my work life. I wanted to get a promotion or a raise. I got both of them. I wanted to see new MLB ballparks and I saw four. I didn’t put it immediately on my list but I always wanted to have something published and I got that accomplished as well. Even while last summer wasn’t the best time in my life I at least aspired to be better and to do better and I crossed off multiple items on my list. So when I look back at my time in 2016 I remember all the fun stuff I did.

My first post on here I posted a photo that said “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” It helps me to make these lists and to visually see the things I want to target each summer. It’s not that we forget about all the things we want to do in our life, but being reminded does help give you that push to chase them. After planning a ballpark road trip last summer I decided I was going to turn that into my summer vacation each year and just target different areas. After all item #17 is visit over 25 MLB ballparks. I may have to amend that and change it to every ballpark. Either way I planned my trip out to the west coast to cross off five ballparks this summer. Each ballpark also happens to be in California. My flight is already booked, paid for, and vacation days are spoken for. #14 is well within grasps.

I have another trip planned out to Seattle to visit a friend. While I’m there I plan to see another ballpark, hike a mountain (active volcano), see the Space Needle, and hop the border over into Canada. I’m killing a lot of birds with one trip. All I have left is to get my vacation days approved and to book my flight. I just bought my ticket for Rugged Maniac (obstacle course race) that is in August. I’ve also currently been working on my gardening skills and my sign language with a friend. Those two are more works in progress but it’s a start. After all the point is to never stop learning and to keep seeking. While my sign language skills is still pretty basic, and my garden is mostly plants I’ve grown from seeds and put into containers, I could probably cross them off my list if I wanted to. But to me it’s more of a project half done. I’ll probably leave sign language unchecked until I feel as if I can hold a simple conversation. I think I’ll cross off grow a garden when my crops grow big enough to be harvest and be eaten. It may take a few more years to accomplish this as they seem to being staying small and stunted on their growth.

I guess to bring this full circle we have to go back to the original question. Who are you aspiring to be? I’m aspiring to be that type of alive. I want to be able to look back and say I acted 21 when I was 21. I traveled during my twenties and I chased a few adventures while I didn’t have any responsibilities. We’re all striving to find meaning in our life and find what makes us happy. For a lot of people out there they believe it’s all about finding a special man or woman and settling down. The dream to have a job they’re content with and having babies to raise. There’s nothing wrong with that dream. It’s just not what I want while I’m in my twenties. Maybe as I steer closer into my thirties that will become more of a desire. Maybe it won’t.

Either way the only thing I’m planning for is right now and the things I can try to control within the next few months. Because if I don’t go after it now it may never happen. For all we know our clock could run out tomorrow, the end of next week, or next month. I don’t want to have that feeling on my death-bed of thinking “I always wanted to do…” and feeling regretful for never doing it. I’ve never been ordinary as much as people like to judge that I am. I usually just allow people to think I’m simple and ordinary because I’ve learned people don’t really want to hear all the things I’ve been saying in this post and probably all my other posts. It’s just so much easier to smile and nod. People like to make excuses for their actions and don’t really want to justify their excuses. It’s safer to just accept that people who really want something will go after it. If they just like the idea of something it’s nothing more than a dream.