What would you recommend to a complete alien to do on Earth, between his birth and his death? Suppose you’re going to meet a tiny little green man, who will naively ask you: “Hey, mate, what’s the thing with this Earth?”. What are the 25 things that would create for him an unforgettable, yet totally customized (as in specific to you, and only you) experience?
I know you’re used to much bigger lists on my blog, but this one is different. Its’ not a blogging challenge, nor a method to stretch my writing skills. It’s just an honest transcription of the answers to the question: “what do you want to do in your life?”. It may not be spectacular at all, but it is for real. It may not be complete, but you are here to give me more hints. It may not be the only list of things to do in your life on the Internet, but it’s mine. And you can grow your own list from it too.
Here’s what I’d say it’s worth doing between birth and death to a complete alien who just arrived here on Earth:
1. Fall in Love
As often as you can. Experience the abandon of yourself in front of something bigger than you and the object of your love altogether. Don’t actively look for it, but merely be prepared to receive it when it finds you.
2. Climb a Mountain
Everest will be fine. Of course, if you can’t do Everest, any mountain will do. Did it a few times and every time I descended I left a small part of me on that desert plateau. Now all I want is to get back again and rejoin it.
3. Make a Million Dollars
And spend it all. Did both and felt good. For me, this was the best way to get rid of the “money as a number” obsession. After you did this once, things will look very different. You’ll never be afraid of having and spending money.
4. Go Round the World by Plane
Did that too. Bucharest – Rome – Las Vegas – Los Angeles – Auckland – Bangkok – Vienna – Bucharest. Spent more than 45 hours in planes in less than 2 weeks but although I was tired as hell, it felt incredibly rewarding. The world is really small.
5. Fish with Your Bare Hands
Did this when I was a child, in a village in the middle of Romania. My parents used to leave me for the summer at my grand parents house, which was near a creek, 20 cm deep at most. We used to block one of the creek’s ways with sand, and while the other one was slowly drying we were picking small fish with our bare hands.
6. Learn a Foreign Language
Or maybe two or three. Try to depict the world for a few weeks using the new words you learned. In a magical way the world will be enriched just because you describe it in a different way. It’s like you re-create it every time you talk about it using different words in a different language.
7. Sail across the Ocean
Didn’t do it. Yet. But I’d love to be on a boat sailing across the Oceans. Waking up each day only to see the infinite water stretching in front of my eyes. Experiencing the bare confrontation with something hugely more powerful than me, yet able to become my ally.
8. Start Your Own Business
Like an outlet for doing more of what you want and creating more of what you love. I did it out of curiosity 10 years ago and still enjoying the benefits. It’s not only about being your own boss (although it feels incredibly good 🙂 ) but about taking more responsibility.
9. Have Kids
And raise them. It’s not what you can teach them, but mostly what you can learn from your kids. It seems that somehow along the way we lose the ability to enjoy life the way we used to. Kids are here to remind us that we’re here to enjoy life. Together.
10. Build a House
If it’s yours, even better. Building a house is a powerful maturity test. It’s far more difficult than it seems and it really changes some of your internal values. Didn’t do that yet, only witnessing it at some of my friends, but definitely something I want to do in this lifetime.
11. Take a Year Off from Work
I think they call this sabbatical. I did this after I sold my business, last year. Well, it wasn’t technically a year without work at all, because I started and maintained this blog. But since I don’t really call this work, I think it will do. Your entire life perspective shifts after one year off the hook.
12. Get Married
And the moment you don’t like it anymore, get a divorce. The way humankind is working nowadays, marriage is still a key type of relationship. Even if you crave for a much more open type of interaction, you can’t really get all its benefits until you experience all the joys and sorrows of marriage.
13. Write a Book
Any type of book. Whatever you feel the need to share. May be an ebook if you don’t have the time or resources to go for a printed one, but I think everybody should write a book in his lifetime. If only to let other people that he really lived and how.
14. Run a Marathon
Didn’t do this yet, but I crave for it. I don’t know why, but I feel like this is an important body milestone. Pushing the limits over what you think you can do, knowing that you did it.
15. Share a Dream with Somebody
Maybe it’s a house you want to build with your partner. Or traveling the world together. Whatever it is, if it’s a shared dream is really worth striving for it, even if – or especially if – it’s for your entire lifetime. Shared dreams are most of the time at the roots of our physical reality.
16. Completely Change Your Career
At least once. I did it twice so far, going from being a radio anchor to being an online entrepreneur and then a full time blogger. Don’t spend your precious time in the same boring job until you die, it’s not worth it. Yes, there is risk involved. Which is great!
17. Help a Completely Unknown Person
Have you ever thought how it is to go to someone you never met and help him? Sometimes without even letting him know? This is what I call an anonymous random act of kindness and I’ve done it more than once. Mostly for how it made me feel, I admit.
18. Don’t Talk for a Week
I didn’t do this but I want to do it. We’ve been trained to talk so much that we can’t rejoice silence anymore. Somehow, we replaced the unbiased, direct experience of life with second hand experiences through words. A week of silence should at least make the speaking fun again after you finish it.
19. Attend a Funeral
When I first attended a funeral I was too little so I didn’t quite understand what was going on. Only after I grasped some of the concepts of what we generally call death, I was able to fully understand it. It’s a celebration, not a mourning. This is why Zorba dances at funerals.
20. Live in a Complete Foreign Country for at Least a Week
Did that when I spent 7 days in Japan, without knowing the language and almost without anybody around speaking English. After all the frustration was gone it proved to be an incredible experience. We can interact and live in so many ways without spoken language and beyond it.
21. Plant a Tree
Did it so many times when I was a kid and was spending my summers at my grandparents in the country side. Did it again when I moved into a new house a few years ago. It’s like making a two-ways gift: you allow a life form to exist while receiving all the benefits of its existence.
22. Write a Poem
It’s not about literature here, no need to inspire millions with your words (but if it happens to do that, even better). Just let them flow through your soul and speak your feelings. When I was in my last year of college I wrote several hundreds poems but never showed them to anyone.
23. Climb the Highest Point in Your City
I don’t know why, but I’m addicted to this one. Everywhere I travel I look for the highest point and go there: Paris, Auckland, Tokyo, Vienna, Prague, they all have a tower structure. It gives me a fantastic feeling of freedom and “everything is possible” when I look at the cities from above.
24. Lose a Battle
Let go of something really important for you. It might be a person you love, or a thing you’re hanging on. Just let it flow away and continue to live your life. It will help you understand that your existence is not confined within the boundaries of a single person or a single thing.
25. Swim with the Dolphins
Didn’t do it yet, but I’m obsessed with dolphins. There is an unspeakable feeling of being free and at the same time shared in another dimension in this image, that I can almost get the shivers only by thinking at it. I also think it would become some sort of addiction once I’ll get to it.
What are your 25 things? What would you absolutely, unreservedly and unconditionally would want to do in your lifetime? Why? Share those dreams here, in the comments, or on your own blog. Just link back so I can discover you.
If you dream about something, let it out and dare do make it real.