Thursday, July 10, 2008
Things I want to do before I die
I think most people come up with a list like this, perhaps not consciously. But I've been thinking about this for a long time. For those of you who know me, you know that I do have a morbid side to my personality. Death makes me very contemplative, even if the person who has died has no real relationship to me. It just reminds me of the Medieval saying which can be found in inscriptions on tombs or in the churches, "Memento mori" meaning "Remember you will die." In fact, if you go to most of the great cathedrals in Western Europe, looking down at the floor you will see a skull looking back at you as if saying "memento mori." Even the triumphators of ancient Rome, parading themselves and their conquered spoils from foreign wars would always be accompanied by a slave holding a laurel wreath (the sign of Victory) over the conqueror's head and always whispered in his ear, "Memento, mortalis es" meaning "Remember, you're just a man." So when I contemplate my existence and the fact that I am dust (Memento quia pulvis est et in pulverem reverteris--remember man, thou art dust and unto dust shalt thou return), I have come up with a few things I wish to do that will make me immortal, if only for a limited time. Gene Hackman's character in Hoosiers was right when he said that most people would kill to be a god, if only for five minutes. So, sparing you any more delay, here are the things I want to do before I die.
1) Go skydiving solo
2) Go cliffjumping
3) Go to the running of the bulls in Pampalona
4) Play Madison Square Garden
5) Drive my car down a busy and twisty freeway at at least 120 mph
6) Visit and perhaps live on Mt. Athos for a time
7) Climb the stairs of the via dolorosa on my knees (there's only like 500 of those stairs)
8) Run a marathon
9) Compose a requiem mass for myself
10) Go dogsledding in the arctic
This is by no means a prioritized list or even comprehensive. There are, I'm sure other things I'll add as time goes on, but right now this will suffice.