Sunday, November 07, 2010

Yet to do, at 42

The last two years, I had a poem of sorts on my blog on the day of my birth, on things I've done in the past. As my birthday approached this year, it struck me that I sadly have very few really fun or profound items to add this year. And so I've decided to make a different list this time. (It's not my birthday yet. That's only on Friday.)

I'm an activator, after all, and lists invigorate me! This isn't a "bucket list," necessarily. I'm sure I'll think of many, many more things along the way that I'd like to do someday. Many of the items that are on the list are most definitely not things I decided I'd want to do before my name is listed in the obituaries. They're simply things I've done, and things I still would love to do. Some of the things crossed off are things I'd've never put on a list of "Things I hope I get to do someday." But planned or unplanned, these things have have become a part of me. They appear in no specific order. Some aren't things I just seek to do once off. (Been there. Done that. Check!) But some are things I'd never want to experience again. Ever. You'll figure out which are which.*

Fly an airplane. (I have an appointment for a lesson in June.)
Keep a journal. (I do, but not religiously. The only thing I do religiously might be to brush my teeth!)
Walk on a glacier in Alaska.
Pray and see a virtually-dead person come back to life.
Wake up to the sound of lions roaring nearby.
Build and decorate a small home in the boonies.
Spend time diving off a liveaboard in Micronesia.
Have solo exhibits and sell my photos.
Fall asleep to the sound of crickets.
Have tea with the President at his home.
Buy a home.
Swim in the wild with dolphins.
Find a new home for lost chickens.
Get stuck (and unstuck) in the mud.
Be present during the birth of a baby.
Walk on the Great Wall, and visit the Forbidden City.
Be a passenger in a taxi that kills a pedestrian.
Sit in awe as an amazingly-gifted friend worships God through her gift of music.
Play in the snow with my nieces.
Listen to a complete stranger's life story.
Sing in a philharmonic choir.
Take a class from a descendant of Ethiopia's last emperor. And visit with the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Participate in an Olympic event.
Deliver a dead body to its family.
Watch the sky catch on fire.
Survive an epic flood.
Befriend a Rendille.
Feel at home in a rainforest.
Work as an itinerant professor.
Get stranded, at night, in a broken car, in a wildlife park in Kenya.
Fight off a gun-wielding soldier.
Have an office that overlooks a river.
Take college students to someplace deep in the heart of Mozambique.
Get a fish pedicure.
Witness lives being transformed.
Be protected by a bow-and-arrow-wielding warrior.
Build a greenhouse and grow great vegetables in it.
Be patient.
Watch the sunrise and sunset in the Namib desert.
Know the birds around me so well that I can identify them without having to refer to any book.
Learn a new language.
Appreciate the little things in life.
Cry at the genocide memorial in Kigali, Rwanda.
Write a book. (Start in Bali.)
Keep a chameleon as a pet and resident fly-catcher.
Ride on the back of an ostrich.
Sign my name as Dr. Booysen.
Teach a graduate-level class in Ethiopia.
Survive a plane crash. (This was far less eerie than getting off the plane in the US on Oct. 31, 2000, and learning that the flight I was originally scheduled to be on, but had changed my ticket days before, had crashed!)
Visit more countries than my current age.
Master the art of taking the perfect bucket shower.
Live a simple life.
Witness the zebras and wildebeest crossing the Mara River from the Serengeti.
Visit Machu Pichu.
Have a mailing address in five countries . . . and a driver's license in most of those.
Move orphans into a new, loving home.
Walk the streets of Kathmandu.
Be chased by a rhino. (A short albeit frightening chase in Nakuru National Park.)
Try to love relentlessly.
Walk through the dark valley of situational depression.
Spend time in a Sudanese cattle camp, watching the cows come home.
Witness a hunt.
Perform with Yo-Yo Ma. (This was going to happen, but then the concert was canceled due to Typhoon Morakot hitting Taiwan weeks before the event. Bummer!)
Listen to friends' stories.
Make creme brulee from scratch.
Make mistakes. Seek forgiveness. Move on. (Ongoing process, this one, isn't it?)
Fly in a hot air balloon over the Rift Valley.
Cross the continental divide.
Live a life surrendered to God.
Survive a massive earthquake. (Taiwan, 921)
Take photos of beautiful children.
Ask more questions.
Be part of a brand new, international magazine launch as managing editor.
Learn to live with gratitude from a friend who did so with excellence.
Win the war against jiggers!
Think before I speak.
Kiss a giraffe.
Eat termites.
Learn as much as I can from every season through which I pass.
Visit Lalibella, Ethiopia.
Figure out all the functions on my camera.
Survive an attack by a crazy mob.
Slaughter a chicken.
Get stranded in a yacht and rescued by the Coast Guard.
Dive with a whale shark.
Stand up for what I know is right, regardless of the cost...
Spend some time with the Pokot.
Live at an orphanage.
Get a job where I can thrive once again.
Teach preschoolers.
Get to know the roads, the animals and the people of the Maasai Mara.
Watch a green turtle lay eggs on a remote island.
Dive the Great Barrier Reef.
Learn to make the perfect cup of coffee.
Live a life delighting in God, and in a way knowing that God delights in me.

I've enjoyed the journey this far. I look forward to at least 42 more.

* Facebook friends, I doubt the HTML code transfers to Facebook notes, so to see which items have yet to be done, visit my Web site,


  1. Wow! Adele, you are full of surprises. Besides being a prolific blogger, photographer, and dedicated teacher you seem to "find" a lot of time to live a pretty rich and fulfilling life.

    That is an impressive list no doubt. We seem to share many interests like writing, photography, and Africa. Mairin and I lived in a small village in Mozambique for 2 years. It is actually where we met.

    That is where we actually did dive with a Whale Shark and it was amazing. Anyway, just wanted to say how happy I am that we have now officaly met online, and I look forward to reading your blog posts as they come out. .

  2. Cathy Lessig12/03/2010 7:54 AM

    Adele, I love the way you grab hold of life and continue to live each day with such zest and joy. Too bad our paths didn't cross more while in East Africa. I know I would have loved hanging out with you! Loved reading the links to your Africa experiences...I can SOOOOOO relate to many of them!

    Your birthday list of life experiences is one that makes me think about my own life and the blessings and challenges that have come my way. Thanks for jogging my brain to be more reflective about my own personal life journey. Perhaps this will help me blog or journal a bit more.

    Blessings upon you as you experience year 42 of a wonderful life!