One of the things about advancing into middle age is that you get a reverse bucket list of things you realize you aren't going to do before you die. Here are my top ten:
- Become fluent in some language other than English- I've come to realize that it would take about two years of doing very little philosophy. Not going to happen any time soon. I wish I'd worked at this prior to the passing up of the dreaded critical period.
- Understand mathematics well enough to really understand Mark Wilson, Robert Batterman, and David Wallace- I didn't used to have any idea just how smart you have to be to master this stuff.
- Play in a band that is good enough to go on a tour- This train probably left the station long ago, though (to be fair) good riddance to it. I'm not sure I would have liked the lifestyle that much even when I was younger.
- Walk the Appalachian Trail- Emily and I used to fantasize about this one, and I'd still do it if nature had indoor plumbing, but it doesn't, so I won't.
- Learn to meditate- I'm in awe of people like Tim Morton, who goes to these meditation retreats where nobody talks for weeks at a time. And it sounds pretty cool, but honesty compels me to admit that I would go out of my mind in a bad way. If John Lennon were around to play this song, that would be one thing. But it's also not going to happen.
- Be serenaded by John Lennon so that I leave my meditation tent- Follows from number 5.
- Be the honored guest at a Japanese tea ceremony and not behave in ways that bring shame to my country- I honestly don't see this whole "tea ceremony" thing going anywhere nice. At this point in my life, I'm prone to giggling uncontrollably during times when I'm supposed to be serious. For that matter, I'd probably put my feet on the table or something.
- Use the phrase "perfidious Albion" in a non-ironic way- This is probably not the most important item on most people's bucket list, but it matters to me. The fact that I can no longer (given my age) envision it coming to pass actually makes me a little bit sad.
- Be omnipresent- When you're younger, you have no idea just how big the universe is. Sure someone will tell you one hundred billion stars each in one hundred billion galaxies, but those are just numbers. However, when you get older it all starts to sink in and you realize that you will never be co-extensive with the totality of all that exists spatio-temporally. Let me tell you, it's a humbling moment.
- Be simultaneously obsequious, purple, and clairvoyant- Maybe two out of the three, but jeesh I'm forty-four years old now. I'm leaving this one to the millenials.
Oh well, advancing senescence does have its positive qualities. That is, if it's a little bit sad that I won't get to do the above, it's honestly a bit of a relief too. I think that mid way through a well-lived life one should have developed a sense of humility about the possible.