Saturday 11 August 2012

Another Bucket List

Tonight I met with friends for dinner and one of them asked: What is it that you guys are still clinging to in life? Everybody was thinking hard, but nobody came up with something substantial, while my head was buzzing from ideas. And then something weird happened: Yours truly, the one who always is at the forefront with her blabbermouth, didn't feel like sharing.

I remembered that two years ago I had written a column about my bucket list, the film had just come out and it was a nice thought experiment. What I could not remember was the items on the list; I only knew that back then I was happy to put them out there, and that now I wanted to keep them secret, undiscussed and mine.

How lucky I am that I have put my life in blogs, the search engine is really good. In all my pamphlets I found the one, and here is the list from back then:
  • I want to give a proper speech to a big audience
  • I want to be on a stage
  • I would like to be able to dance well
  • I would like to be able to sing without being embarrassed
  • I want to have my own fashion line
  • I DO want to publish a book (the writing part is already done)
  • I would like to win a prize or an award for something I have worked for
  • I would like to have an exhibition with my own paintings and sculptures
  • I want to own my own business and
  • I want to be successful with it
  • I want to walk in the footsteps of the great Jane Goodall and do field studies with primates
Turns out that I actually did quite a few of those things. I did go on stage, I did win a prize, I e-published a book, the dream to publish on paper remains, the business didn't happen yet, but I have founded a charity, and although I am not doing field studies I am travelling to Sumatra regularly to help build an English school. Not too bad actually, for just two years gone past. 

The new bucket list however is a different one, less about achievement than fun. It has things on it like learning how to ride a horse, I have lessons since two weeks...Well, and the other stuff I am not going to tell you either. This time I will get things done first and then I will report back. They are mundane things and more unreasonable. See, the above are things which if they work out are fine, like giving a speech, and nobody believes anyway that I ever would start my own fashion line. Hence the above list did not get questioned. Either it's harmless stuff or unthinkable anyway. But starting to climb a horse at age 51... She must be bonkers! Proper midlife crisis! Hope she doesn't get hurt from such a silly thing!

This is my last chance to doing silly things, and I want to have fun with them, and people telling me that it is silly, is taking the fun out of it. Of course my hard core readers would never judge me, but there might be others... so, bshhhhhht! lips sealed!
night night - sweet dreams about your bucket list!

Friday 3 August 2012


... No! Not the Olympic ones... well, maybe, even...

This morning I had one of those mind floating moments and wondered how - or if - playing games shapes our characters, lifestyles or relationships. Or changing perspective: If I see you play, do I see how you live?

According to Wikipedia games are 'attested as early as 2600 BC, games are a universal part of human experience and present in all cultures'.

So, gaming seems to be deeply embedded into our most inner self... why then do I hate it so much? We live in a world of the biggest variety of games and I just cannot be tempted to play any of those. I think I decided at age of 6 to never play again. Oh, I did the mother and child play, mud soup cooking and those sort of things, but board games were off limits.

I am losing my temper all to easily, I get drawn into my darkest of sides, in which I am running out of control of myself. As soon as competitiveness is spurred on by others doing the same as I do, I reach that moment when it's not funny anymore. At age 6 I threw the board including the stones into the room, parts never to be found again, we suspect the dog ate them... I was told off, was horribly embarrassed about the severity of my misbehaviour and decided to just not play again. The trade-off between excitement and fun and the effort to keep myself at bay always stayed on the side of effort.

I hate losing so much, that I don't like the winning either. At age 18 I was group-forced to join a card game. I won a few rounds and felt awful assuming that the others hate losing as much as I do; it was me causing this feeling, so why should I be happy about the win.

I always wondered why games portrait a world of black and white? One is either a winner or a loser! C'mon this Olympic stereotype that it is already an honour to take part is a bit of a farce, isn't it? We want to see gold medals, nobody ever talks about the silver winner again, or only in a very pitiful way when the loss was an unfortunate circumstance.

Only a few times I was happy playing. At age 25 my father-in-law gave me a beautiful wooden box to test. A colleague of his was researching co-operative games and this one was just beautiful. One would play with a partner to finish the board. It was about strategies each player had to pursue individually, but if one would be too greedy the board would not finish and no one would win. This was my heaven. I knew such a game already; it is called 'Patience'. Quite often it is referred to as 'Solitaire' as it can be played by a single player as well. But I prefer the two player version in which co-operation is key to neatly put the cards onto their piles. I used to play this game with my grandma every Tuesday during a school break. I was about 14 and she had to gently nudge me into playing. Now those are my fondest memories with her.

I am wondering if this kind of play always was in my character, or if she played a role in forming me into this person. We all have our individual ways of tackling challenging situations, sometimes boisterously barging through, sometimes running away, and sometimes co-operating to get the best out of it for everybody. Sometimes one has to give up a little to gain a lot. Giving up is ever so often perceived as losing - I don't care! Giving up without knowing if there will be a win is risky, but it is a risk I am willing to take, anytime! The prize to be won is just too valuable!