Jumping and Flying

10 Feb

“I’ve worried about life, and if it’s right and right on time /
I guess if you don’t jump you’ll never know if you can fly.”
– Miranda Lambert, “New Strings”

Last week, Leanne asked if I had a bucket list. I call it a list of life goals, but the answer is yes. I have a pretty long one, and I think everyone should. I think ambition and fear of failure drive pretty much all progress in life, and compiling a concrete to-do list enables us to harness the power of both.

Leanne also asked me to share my list. Some are big things. Move and change your life things. Things I will have to plan meticulously. Some are small things. Wake up on a Friday and go things. Things I plan on doing when I don’t have anything else to do. But I think they’re all important.

In no particular order…

  • Run a half marathon. Run a half marathon in under 2:30. Run a half marathon in under 2:15. Next year, I hope 2:15 is crossed off, and I can substitute 2:00.

That’s the number from my first half in March 2010. The picture is my dad and me right before the Thanksgiving half last year.

  • Write a book. This one used to be at the top of the list, but I’m becoming increasingly detached to it . Would I like to have a book published? To see my name on a book jacket? For bookstore and website browsers to have to scroll past “Homans, W”? Of course. But so would 81 percent of the country. The more I think about it, the more I realize that this three word sentence should probably be shortened to one word: Write. That’s what I want to do. The “book” part? Eh, it just doesn’t seem as important as it once did. I write at work. I write here. I write in a journal. I write random creative pieces that I’m not sure will ever see light outside of my bedroom/office. Do I really need to have these collections pieced together with a bind for them to mean something? I’m not ready to eliminate it from the goal list yet, but I may eventually.
  • Get published in Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair, Women’s Health and/or Entertainment Weekly. As a Magazines major, being published in a national (and personal favorite) magazine has always been a “made it” accomplishment. When I was in school, the dream went something like this: move to NYC, work my way up, score a major piece in one of these mags, blow people away with a beautiful and moving long-form piece, land a book deal on the same topic and cash in on my highly sought-after memoir. Even as I move further away from magazine writing and contemplate dropping the book goal from this list, this one stays important.
  • Live in another country. I did it for three terrifying/exhilarating months (depending on the day and whether I was spending the night in my dorm or the “other” Roman train station) while I studied in Reading, England. I’d like to do it again somewhere else. The ultimate dream is Paris, though part of me knows that sounds like an awful cliche. Then again, Paris has a way of outshining the biggest cliches.

Me, Susie and Jenny in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Me on top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris showing my affection for the Eiffel Tower. (Winter/Spring 2008)

  • Know — intimately — the places I live. I’ve lived in “Atlanta” my whole life. At least, that’s what I’ve been saying for the last 23.75 years. (Or, y’know, whenever I started talking.) But the truth is, Atlanta has not felt like mine until the last several months. Murrayville/Gainesville are home. I lived in that little section of the world (an hour and a half north of Atlanta) for 18 years, and my parents still do. I will never live there again, but it will always spark love and nostalgia and comfort within me. Athens holds more happy memories for me than any other place on the planet. Probably like all UGA grads, I’ll go back in 60 years and annoy the hell out of current students as I walk around acting like the town was built for me. Even in those short three months, Reading felt like home. (It was probably that whole no-car, guess-we-get-to-walk-everywhere thing.) Atlanta proper, meanwhile, is just starting to get inside my soul. For a long time (and until recently), all I felt about Atlanta was an itch to leave it. But as I’ve settled into a real life here, I find I enjoy it more every day. People whine about the traffic and smog and how spread out it is, but I kind of love that you can live in and genuinely know Atlanta and not have any clue what the best restaurant in Inman Park is. Or where to find a cute cocktail dress in the Highlands. Or that Ri may be next to RiRa in Midtown, but one is a sushi restaurant and one is an Irish pub. At its core, Atlanta is a hoshposh of neighborhoods — awesome neighborhoods. I’m not much of New Year’s Resolution girl. In general, I think people who wait until Jan. 1 to start projects are the same people who wait for excuses to quit them. But this year, I have made it a goal to dig in deep with Atlanta and give it my undivided attention and affection.
  • Fly around the world. A girl I came to know and love in Reading (Jenny, pictured above) inadvertently did this on her way to and from England. (Vegas to Tokyo. Tokyo to Bangkok. Bangkok to London. London to Vegas.) How freaking cool would that be?
  • Hike the Appalachian Trail. I get excited about saying I ran 13 miles. Can you imagine saying you hiked 2,000? Holy s— balls, that sounds fun.
  • Take the red-eye from Vegas. Because obviously that means I will have missed my early afternoon flight. And God knows, that will be a good story.
  • Become a yoga instructor. If I had to narrow this list to just one, I think this would be it. Yoga is trendy and often a euphemism for sexy flexibility and/or cult-like meditation rituals, but beginning a yoga journey is one of the single greatest things I’ve ever done for myself. I toss this phrase around for a lot of things (Harry Potter, Firefly vodka, SEC football, Dolsat Bibimbap at the Stone Bowl House on Buford Highway), but yoga really will change your life. It has certainly changed mine. If you commit to it, it commits back. It changes your body, your mind and your relationship with God (or whatever higher power you choose or choose not to confide in). Yoga has numerous purposes and goals (many more than I even know), but my favorite teacher always says that yoga primarily teaches us how to deal with life: In yoga, you enter and hold physical postures that are, to use her terminology, “challenging.” The goal of these poses, unlike in most bodily exercises, is not to hold out or push yourself into pain as a search for success or satisfaction or even validation. In yoga, the goal is to relax — to push yourself to an “edge,” where you are uncomfortable but can breathe mindfully through it, where you can recognize pain as a catalyst to change and learn how to navigate — but not provoke — it. Thus, the victory of yoga is not how many calories you burn or how much weight you lose but what you learn about yourself and how you handle stress and pain and transferring those lessons and stamina from your mat to the rest of your life. The hope is that the next time you are in a “challenging” situation in an office or relationship or living room, you know — from yoga — you can breathe through it, navigate the rough waters and emerge a stronger, more centered individual. I would love nothing more than to pass along these navigation tips to others.
  • Become a Georgia season ticket holder, and donate enough to get premium tickets to the Florida game. Go Dawgs.

Lauren and me after beating Florida in 2007.

  • Write a script. This is my “move to Hollywood and become a rockstar.” Just like Leanne’s “move to Denver and become a photography apprentice.” If I had endless resources and limited responsibilities, I would move to L.A. (but only until I was established enough to leave L.A.), absorb everything possible about television writing and hash out a script. I have serious concerns about my character creation, and I honestly have no idea how one even goes about starting a script, but I imagine a writer’s room to be one of the most creative, collaborative, cool rooms in the world. I don’t think I’ll be moving to L.A. any time soon, but I do want to finish a script one day. Even if it’s read for the first time when my computer is cleaned out after I’m gone.
  • Drive down the West Coast.
  • Drive across the country. Some days I attach “by myself” to the end of this one. Some days I think a little company might be nice. My dad did it on his own when he was transferring law schools and moving from Seattle to Athens. He had a single Bruce Springsteen cassette. (Born to Run, if we’re getting specific.) I love The Boss as much as the next girl, but I will definitely need a full iPod.
  • Attend fashion week. Haven’t decided if I want to specify to NYC, Milan or both.
  • See all the major sports championships. Well, the ones I care about anyway: Super Bowl, Masters, Final Four, World Series and BCS (or whatever it will be in the future) National Championship.
  • Visit iconic celebrations/sports venues/games. Notre Dame. (I need a picture in front of Touchdown Jesus.) St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. The Rose Bowl. Fenway Park. Duke/UNC. Mardi Gras. The Moon Festival in Thailand.
  • Fall wholly in love with someone. And not screw it up.
  • Complete a mini triathlon. 1k swim. 30k bike. 8k run. The first Sunday in September. (Hopefully.)

“Remember the day, ’cause this is what dreams should always be…
Wake up, it’s time, little girl, wake up /
All the best of what we’ve done is yet to come.”
– Ryan Star, “Losing Your Memory”

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