It is guest post Friday! Each Friday we encourage you to submit a post for the ryaneller.com blog. This week’s post comes from Melissa Gutierrez. Melissa loves running errands with other people, lemon meringue pie, and the 4th of July. She is an awesome bucket lister who is striving to live a life of intention. You can follow her blog here and follow her on Twitter @mmgutz. If you would like to submit a guest post, click here.
I’ve got seven short months to do a lot of little things.
1. Visit Washington, D.C. This west coast girl has never been to the city in which her grandparents first met. My friend Chloe lives there right now—better get free lodging ‘fore she leaves.
2. Visit Chicago. Since two terminals of O’Hare don’t count. My friend Katie lives there right now—free lodging, also.
3. New York. Also never been.
4. Start learning a non-romance language. You might say this is for doing missions or cultural work or something, but really, it’s just my paranoia that China is about to take over the world (not unlike the reason I drive stick shift: in case I ever get kidnapped by a person in a manual).
5. Keep my plants alive. Instead of adopting a dog, I recently bought six plants. If I can get one of them to survive winter I will be a proud and happy flora-mother.
6. Run a marathon. I am signed up for one in February and three weeks into training, I’m not super thrilled about it. Running isn’t hard, per say, it just takes a lot of time.
7. Make my T-shirt quilt. An avid sports/clubs kid all my life, I have ten trillion cotton T-shirts. I give away a lot of a regular basis but I want to turn the special-er ones into a keepsake blanket that I sew myself.
8. Be more involved with volunteerism at work. My company works with Ronald McDonald House Charities, and I love the idea of doing service alongside the random people I work with.
9. Read War and Peace. Max Perkins, who was Hemingway and Fitzgerald’s editor, read this book over and over and over and over again, and gave it as a present to everyone he knew. I’ve been 150 pages in for five months now—bring on the other 1350.
10. Read Systematic Theology. I had to buy this when I went to Biola and somehow escaped reading it. In the vein of “systematic” I would like to read it cover-to-cover; and in the vein of “theology” I would like to do so as an intellectual devotional pursuit of God.
11. Memorize a short story. Lately I have been on this kick where I think, “If the power went out and my books all burned up, what would I actually know?” So I’m big on recapturing the art of oral tradition. I have selected David Foster Wallace’s “Incarnations of Burned Children” as the first to commit to my mind-banks.
12. Memorize a book of the Bible. In the same vein as the above—I have a bunch of token verses memorized but they’re all out context. I’m thinking James, or one of the Minor Prophets.
13. Finish 25 Picasso dogs. It’s a story for another day, but I’m obsessed with these dog creatures Picasso painted in his Las Meninas series, and I have like seventy or eighty of them drafted out, and only four complete to date.
14. Establish a habit of cooking for others. This will be harder now that I don’t have roommates, but hopefully it means I can be intentional about inviting people into my place, or delivering food to people who need it.
15. Not get married. Having subconsciously and unsuccessfully tried to turn boyfriends into husbands for the past eight years, I now free myself from the oft-restricting view of young men as future spouses (or “spice” as is more fun to say) rather than present human beings.
16. Draw a portrait. I did well in Figure Studies in college and I would like to draw someone again; be in that awkward, still, uncomfortable and intimate space a while and give them something beautiful as a result.
17. Balance cash flow. Make a noticeable dent in my college debt and build a small hill of savings in addition to paying bills and things on time.
18. Go to Magic Mountain. The Magic Mountain Chevron is my favorite place to get gas and go pee on I-5, but I’ve never actually been to the park. It is worth noting that Magic Mountain actually opened on my birthday in 1971.
19. Hike Mt. Diablo. Lived 30 minutes from this mountain my whole life and never hiked the whole thing bottom to top—time to change that.
20. Publish one short story in print. I have one published online but I would like something I can hold, feel, give to my grandparents for their coffee table.
21. Have a column. I.e., write for someone officially on a regular basis.
22. Begin a serious collaboration project. Ideally in art/writing/design work.
23. Walk every block of the Sacramento grid. Moved here in May and have pipe dreams of traversing every street from 1st to 40th, A to X—the good, the bad, and the ugly of it.
24. Give a good speech. I gave three speeches this year I wish I could re-do. They weren’t terrible, but they weren’t great. And people deserve great. I want to learn to honor people better when I talk out loud.
25. Do 25 major random acts of kindness and catalog them. For her 20th birthday, my friend Jaclyn did 20 random acts of kindness (in one day—bad ass!). I will be happy if I can do 25 in six months. I wonder if I will be like a cop at the end of the month—speeding around forcing kindness on people in the weeks before my birthday. We’ll see. I’ll let you know.