A life led by hypothetical accomplishments consists of little tangible evidence. However, aspirations left unpenned are often forgotten in the expanse of one’s mind. The indelible nature of a bucket list offers a direction towards meaningful experience that may have otherwise been lost. It is in this light that I see the value of a bucket list as a means of self reflection and constructive goal setting. The aforementioned self reflection this assignment required afforded me the opportunity to view my goals objectively; with this rare exercises I was able to deduce upon my inclination towards an experiential education. Some of the ways in which I hope to gain knowledge through experience and experimentation include: beekeeping, learning a musical instrument, hiking the Appalachian Trail, writing a book, and sailing around the world. From involving myself in these activities I see the possibility of great enjoyment and knowledge.
There is no point in arguing the educational aspect of writing a book. What I think is worth mentioning is the often forgotten toilsome nature of writing. Marian Schembar, who makes her living off writing, says, “Most of the time I don’t want to start, but once I do, 90 percent of the time I’m ecstatic that anything comes out at all.” This resonates with me, writing is often a daunting task and once I’ve finished I am surprised by what I was able to articulate. As with almost all things in life, the only way to improve as a writer is to try over and over, despite continued failures. Associating pain with not writing can be a way to ensure your failures never entirely dissuade you from the process (Pylarinos). Writing a book is an optimistic goal, what really matters to me is continuing to understand myself and the world around me better under the faculty of writing.
Hiking the Appalachian Trail is a mental and physical challenge unlike most others. Mark Kelley warns us that, “At some point you’re going to be cold, tired and asking yourself why you’re doing it. You’d better have an answer.” Being in shape is crucial if you wish to make it the full distance of the A.T. or even part of it, but what most people don’t consider is the mental strength required. As with most major goals in life, visualization is key, you have to understand that the trail does eventually end, even if it seems it might not (Kelley). At the t(r)ail end of the A.T. I trust I would walk away with a greater sense of gumption and drive – something worth learning.
I see beekeeping as an activity that creates a proactive community; it does this by reinforcing the sometimes ungraspable understanding that our local efforts can have a global impact (beebuilt.com). Bees – ostensibly insignificant – are responsible for the, “successful seeding of more than 90% of all flowering plants, and for fruiting of 30% of our food” explains beebuilt.com. From this staggering statistic we see the value of a beekeepers work. Work that is rarely gone alone, Lauren Acuri notes that, “you’ll be most successful if you have strong local resources to draw on”. I believe a community working together can remind each other that the answers to global environmental issues might be closer than you think. Learning to play a musical instrument is an arduous yet rewarding feat that demands persistence (classicfm.com). To expedite the process, Jesse Sterling Harrison recommends metacognition which he explains as the process of, “thinking about thinking, or learning about learning.” Employing this technique helps your brain form new connections learn how you learn best. From my own limited experience, I think I might find metacognition to be a very useful tool. Classicfm.com sums up the process of learning an instrument nicely by explaining that the, “joy you give to others with your playing will ultimately make the whole endeavour completely worthwhile.”
To sail around the world you must take about one million things into consideration (wikihow.com). Even if you successfully do this there are still one million more things you never could have prepared for that will happen on your journey (wikihow.com). Similar to hiking the A.T. your physical preparedness (in this case your ability to sail) is only half the battle. Aimee Nance says you need to accept that, “your entire life will be dictated by mother nature.” However, I believe all of the adventures within this grand adventure would make the endeavour well worth it.
From the research I have conducted I truly believe that each of the items on my bucket list respectively can offer at least one valuable lesson. The persistence required to write a book, hike the Appalachian Trail, learn to beekeep, sail around the world, or learn an instrument holds a lesson in and of itself. I am confident that all of these activities, upon completion or in the process of, would create great satisfaction and enjoyment for me. And finding what you genuinely enjoy is one of the most important things experience can teach you.
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