As I write this discourse we stand on the brink of 2014 and thus the timing is right to do my annual New Year Resolutions. It is a significant year for the old coach. The big 6-0 birthday is forthcoming this time around and it is what some might call a watershed moment or a seminal moment. Maybe for me this could be termed as “The Year of Living Dangerously” or perhaps it might best be described as a final shot at glory before pre-old age begins to set up shop in earnest.
This is probably my last legitimate chance at going for the gusto, shooting for the stars or going where no man has gone before. I ought to be thinking about climbing the highest mountain, swimming the deepest seas or something along those lines.
Alas, honesty compels me to report that I stand before you irresolute — naked and afraid to climb out on that shaky limb.
So it is with a trembling heart and on wobbly legs that I forge into the breach once more and give you my innermost longings as to what’s on my bucket list — and what my intentions are.
I want to go fishing in Alaska — in the summertime when it’s warm. I’ve always wanted to see the place and it would be really cool to fly around in a bush plane from lake to lake, stream to stream landing salmon, trout and other native species.
I want to see the Nile River and the Pyramids — and not in the dead of summer. The land of the Pharaoh’s have always intrigued me. I’d like to walk through the Valley of Kings and tread the ground where that great civilization once prospered.
I want to go on a safari in Africa — and not one where all you do is take pictures. I want to go with gun in hand to search for elephants, Cape buffalo, and plains game. It would be nice not to have to put up with malaria carrying mosquitos but I’m willing if there’s no way around it.
I would like to at least see some of the great mountains. Everest, Kilimanjaro, and Denali come to mind. I’m not foolish enough to think about scaling them at my age but it would give me great pleasure to see them up close.
I’d like to go on a boat tour of the Antarctic — definitely in the high summer and check out the bottom of the earth. I’d also like to get the answer to this question: If you are standing at the South Pole and start walking in any direction, are you always walking north?
I want to walk along the Great Wall of China — I’m not talking about traversing the entire 5000 miles just checking out a few kilometers and basking in the history of an amazing feat of engineering.
I’d like to take a tour of some of the Pacific Islands making sure to stop in at Easter Island and see the Moai statues. I sure wouldn’t want to skip the Galapagos Islands either. I’ve always wanted to see if one those big turtles would have fit in one of our home-made baskets — and then report back to daddy on that item of interest.
A little closer to home I want to see every corner of Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park and at least one of the Great Lakes. I’d love to go pheasant hunting in South Dakota, elk hunting in Colorado, hunt pronghorn antelope in Montana and go moose hunting in Maine.
So as you can see I’ve set my sights high — trembling heart, wobbly legs and all — and have made up a list that it will take at least five years to accomplish. I guess that means ya’ll won’t have to hear about my New Year’s resolutions again anytime soon since I’ll probably be on safari in Africa next January.
There, I’ve said it out loud — although I haven’t told my wife yet. She may look at me like I’ve had a mental breakdown and tell me to take two aspirin and go to bed because I’ve most likely got a high fever.
I suppose you could best describe me and my New Year’s resolutions / bucket list as a little crazy but as I stand here on the threshold of a new year I’m determined to check at least some of these things off — wobbly legs and all.
Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at email@example.com.