Tuesday, May 17, 2016
I keep a lot of lists. Like, a ton of them. I have New Year's Resolutions that I make a good effort to keep, I make obsessive daily to-do lists, I keep an eye on the larger week-long and month-long goals, and just for fun, I often break my larger lists into smaller, more attainable lists that are project and/or task specific. But then there's my other list, the one that I go weeks, even months without ever thinking about or making progress on - it's cliché to say and almost passé to have, but I have a bucket list. Or rather, a Things To Do Before I Die list. I'm currently on Version #4 of this list - I made the first version in the basement of my childhood home when I was 13 after reading an entry by John Goddard in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book (don't judge - it was the 90's), and I pretty much copied his list but changed the nouns to suit my teenage taste.
Over the years I allowed myself to delete, add, and adapt some of the entries, and my current version has 101 items. By design, some of the goals are achievable with effort ("learn to juggle"), some I just need to get around to doing ("send a message in a bottle"), and others I know I may never accomplish but will nevertheless enjoy trying ("write an article for National Geographic"). Often times, I seek out experiences or actions that will allow me to cross something off this list - #12 is "see the Parthenon" and while I certainly didn't structure my entire honeymoon around my bucket list, it's not entirely accidental that one of our stops on our cruise will be to Athens. But there are other instances where I realize I accomplished something only after the fact, like the time the photographer got sick and I was the one to take all the publicity photos that got published in the New York Times ("#41 - have a photograph printed somewhere").
Serendipity graced me with her presence last week when I unknowingly checked off #96 - "see the sunrise and the sunset from the same spot on the same day". I was working an event in Cabo, Mexico that was in the middle of the gorgeous Baja dessert, but since I was on the clock, it was never a guarantee that I'd be able to catch even a glimpse of the sunset. As luck would have it though, the schedule was in my favor - my first major task of the evening wrapped up well before the sun started to set, and I was able to spend golden hour at dinner. After eating, it was time to check in back at the production tent (which coincidentally provided a pretty great view of the sunset that was starting to bloom), where I learned that my next task would be to deal with a dozen mini digital film projectors (long story). There's not much you can do with a projector while it's still light out, so I was able to soak in the entirety of the stunning sunset. I smiled, I snapped a couple of photos, and then I made for those projectors like it was my job (because it actually was).
By the end of the evening, I was feeling pretty good. The projectors had behaved exactly as I needed them to, and my boss let me have a celebratory cocktail during the last half hour of the event. But before I got too comfortable, I was reminded of our call time the next morning - we needed to be back on the property at 6am. Which wouldn't have been so terrible, except that it was nearing 1am by the time we were ready to go back to our hotel that was 20 minutes away from the event space.
A quick, three-hour nap later, we were back in the van and driving through the pitch-blackness of Mexican dessert roads. The good people at the entrance gate let our bleary-eyed selves in, and I found myself back at that stupid production tent (please note: I don't hate the production tent. I love the production tent. I was just reaaallllyyy tired). But then I noticed that things were changing. Specifically, it was getting lighter out - which I eventually realized is what happens WHEN THE SUN RISES!!! You have to understand something: I don't see a lot of sunrises in my day-to-day. I work in theater and production, and especially in the wintertime, I don't even leave for work until it's already dark out. But there I was, standing in the exact same spot I was in just 12 hours beforehand, watching the sun rise over the mountains. So I snapped a few more pictures, thanked the sun gods and goddesses, and got straight to work on packing up the mini projectors because the faster I finished strike the faster I could go back to bed.
Please note: I realize that my original entry in my List of Things to do Before I Die said "photograph the sunrise and the sunset from the same place on the same day" and that technically, my sunrise and sunset were from two different days. But whatever. I saw consecutive sun movements and since I'm the only one who actually cares about my list, I'm calling it a goal accomplished. :)