Sunday, June 18, 2017

Fifty Things To Do Before I Die



My parents moved when I was seventeen years old, the summer after I graduated from High School. I moved out a few days after I turned eighteen. There was a window of about thirteen months when I could have written the above list. Most of that time I was working two full time jobs -- with my Uncle installing roofs and then at night and weekends I worked in the kitchen in the Clackamas Red Robin restaurant. I wrote this list, and, then promptly forgot about it, until my Mother found it some years later when she was cleaning out the room. Perhaps it was when the carpeting was replaced, but it must have been ten years or so after I wrote the list. She gave it to me and then, I promptly stowed it away in some shoebox where I have stashed nostalgic stuff from the past. Recently, I moved to Long Beach and going through the unpacking process, I stumbled upon this list I entitled Fifty Things to Do Before I die. 

An examination of the list shows how ridiculous some of the aspirations of me at age seventeen were, but they are not in the majority. Most of them are attainable and worthwhile -- some of them I've even accomplished, or are on the way to accomplish. Four of the entries are blocked out due to involving specific people who I don't want to identify -- nothing terrible regarding them, I simply don't want to involve them -- it is not fair to them. I thought I'd take the self-indulgent, cathartic time to evaluate just how I'm doing regarding the goals set for myself. I haven't died yet, and twenty or so years have gone by -- I should have gotten somewhere by now, you'd think!


  1. Publish A Novel I'm closer to this goal now, than I've ever been in my life. Between when I wrote this list and now, writing as an endeavor has only existed in the second half. Roughly ten years ago I started my undergraduate studies, which included a degree in creative writing. At this time I'm nearing completion of my first draft of a novel I hope to have published in the near future. 
  2. Publish A Collection of Poems Hmm. During my recent unpacking I did come across a binder full of poems I wrote during my teenage and early twenty years. Most of them are cringe-worthy, angsty things that may as well  be the lyrics to some shitty Nine-Inch Nails song, or some emo, eyeliner-wearing whiner who prides himself on being "deep." If I ever publish a collection of poems, it will either be an easy money-grab because I am famous for something else, or a posthumous money grab by my estate, because I was famous for something else. Either way, it will be worth the embarrassment.  
  3. Learn to Play The Piano I still want to learn. This one is getting kicked down the road, unfortunately. 
  4. Earn a Phd In Quantum Physics I'm a doctor, and that is as close as I'll ever get to this. Well, one time I did see the Schrodinger equation written on a chalkboard in the science building on campus, that's probably as close to as I'll ever get. 
  5. Not Watch TV For One Month Straight While this hasn't happened recently, I've gone large chunks of my life with having no television involved. Granted, I did just buy a new sixty five inch television (great deal at Costco) so I'm not sure this will happen in the near future. Residency doesn't exactly lend itself to laying around all day and watching TV so, I'm not too worried. 
  6. Run Five Miles A Day Again, for a period in my life I was an avid runner. I love running, but arthritis makes it a tough go, especially when carrying around a couple (few) extra pounds. I wish to save the remaining cartilage in my knees for things more enjoyable. 
  7. Live In Canada For One Year Well, considering the politics in this country...
  8. Do 360 Kickflips Consistently There was a time where I could be seen throwing some threes around Creston, or the Waterfront, but I never did have them on lock. In the grand scheme of things, I always thought my switch threes looked much better, not that I ever had those on lock, either. 
  9. Travel Europe A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of wandering around Europe for nearly a month. London. Amsterdam. Paris. Barcelona. Can't wait to go back. 
  10. Visit East Coast Relatives I never have done this. As time has gone, and my connection with the ACC has dimmed, it seems less and less likely. Perhaps, in the future, I can make it happen, I would like to see where my grandparents came from. 
  11. Learn To Pray Daily This one is still a struggle. 
  12. Walk For One Month When embroiled in the struggle that is practicing medicine, this becomes more of a desirable experience than I might have imagined. I've always held a romantic notion of 'wandering' and I while taking off on foot may never happen, I desire more wandering to be in my life. 
  13. Learn To Watch My Mouth In general, this hasn't been a huuuuuuge problem in my life. There have been times where I shoulda just shut up, no doubt. I grew up hearing 'sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me' but it isn't true, no matter how convenient it would be, if it were. 
  14. Become Proficient In German I don't foresee any major undertakings to learn how to speak German in the near future. I mean, I would like to do so, but realistically, this one is dead.  
  15. Become Proficient In Spanish My medical Spanish needs a boost, that is for sure. 
  16. Become Proficient In Latin Just not gonna happen. 
  17. Call The Art Bell Talk Show Coast to Coast AM, the name of the Art Bell show, which Art Bell hasn't been a part of for years, as far as I know, seems to have turned into an alt-right mouthpiece. I remember hearing Alex Jones as a guest many years ago and I think that says it all. No thank you. 
  18. Address Congress And Give Them A Piece Of My Mind I mean, I would have many different things to say now than I did 20ish years ago, but my point still stands. Disgusting. 
  19. See BB King Live BB King died May 14, 2015. I never did get a chance to see him perform. 
  20. Bench Press 400 Lbs That is a lot of weight! I believe the most I've ever bench pressed is 250lbs, and that was not a one time max effort, but during a time where I was doing sets. Maybe, at my peak, I would have been able to push up 275 lbs, maybe? Besides, I doubt I need to add the extra mass needed to get to that state. I'm fine with my 225 BP at highest set now. 
  21. Learn To Speak My Mind (Selectively) Another item where growing older takes care of things automatically, or, at least a mix of effort and time. 
  22. Spend One Month In Solitude In The Wilderness There things like this on the list. I'm not sure I'm in a place where I'm as excited to spend a whole month by myself in the woods, maybe I'd do one of those television shows where we spend a few weeks in the wilderness. I wouldn't be afraid to do it naked. 
  23. Publish A Research Paper On The Philadelphia Project This could easily be the most ridiculous thing on the list, and the thing that betrays my age at the time of writing. So silly. 
  24. Travel To Israel Between my preclinical and clinical years of medical school I took on an acute care internship at a small hospital in Netanya, Israel. Initially it was going to be five or six of us going, but they all fell out and I decided to go by myself. I rented an apartment for myself, on my own dime and walked to the hospital everyday for a whole month, well, on the weekends I walked to the beach and swam in the accommodating waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. I learned a lot, I fell in love with the land and the people and cannot wait to go back. Tel Aviv is one of the most enjoyable, dynamic, vibrant and friendly large cities I've ever been to. 
  25. Thank Grandma Pamer And Tell Her I Love Her Grandpa Pamer died only three-ish years before this and Grandma was, I think, still living on her own. It must have been either my senior or sophomore year and I was required to do a project for my German class. I roped my Grandma Pamer into showing me how to make some German meals. She was a good sport and she walked me through how to make cabbage rolls, and I don't remember what else. She included some stories from her childhood and how she learned to cook for a large family on a short budget. I wish I still had that VHS tape -- who knows where it went. In the following years she was overtaken with Alzheimer's Disease. It was tough watching the descent into dementia but I'm thankful for the time we had. 
  26. Learn To SCUBA Dive Oh yeah. It is a shame that I haven't gotten around to this. Maybe I make this a goal while I'm in Southern California for the (at least) next few years. 
  27. Go Skydiving Sure. I think the thing that I least look forward to concerning jumping out of a perfectly good airplane is having to do it tandem. 
  28. Have Children We'll see. We were close last year. 
  29. Read War And Peace This one perplexes me. Maybe I should just read it? If I knew this was a goal of mine, I would have just read it already. I guess now I know, or know again, more specifically. 
  30. Spend A Night In Jail Haha! Of all the things I'm glad haven't come to fruition, this one could really screw up my life. Stupid responsibilities and professional considerations. Sheesh. 
  31. Snowboard In Alaska Haven't done this, but I did get a few great years of riding in Colorado that I never put on this list. Maybe I'll get some big mountain riding in before I'm pushing up daisies. 
  32. Meet Jeremy Wray And Eric Koston I stood next to Jeremy Wray at a Tampa Pro contest in, it must have been, 2002. He is tall for a skateboarder. Much respect for tall skateboarders -- we have further to fall! Now fat and tall skateboarders, woowee! 
  33. Meet The Woman I Love And Marry Her Nearly 11 years to the day. 
  34. ***
  35. Travel To Papua New Guinea The desire to do this has diminished greatly as I've grown older. When I was very young my Mother traveled to see her sister and her family, who were in PNG, and I've known many others who worked there. I used to spend many hours imagining what it was like to live there, among the native people, in their villages. I don't spend many hours these days thinking about that. 
  36. Listen To Others More It has become abundantly clear that my greatest strength in the capacity of being a physician is my ability to connect, relate to and build rapport and relationships with patients. And for that matter, other health care workers too. Around the country a new and young generation of physicians have taken the the valid criticisms of the previous' generations of doctors and their bedside manner and just, general way they conducted themselves to heart. Perhaps it is partially due to the physician not being the end-all-be-all in clinical decisions (in general this is not good for patient care, but I will not digress at this time...) as we were in the past that has led to the greater harmony concerning team-based patient care, perhaps its just the natural evolution of people recognizing shortcomings of the past (if only this was applicable to more areas of society) and the movement to remake us doc's in the likeness of humanity. 
  37. Be Willing To Help Others More As discussed directly above, I think my journey towards and in medicine has functioned to more than accomplish this goal. I don't think that I ever was severely lacking in this area, but admittedly, all of us should aspire to this goal on daily basis. Unless you're driving slow in the left lane of the freeway, I'll be there for you! 
  38. Hitch Hike Across The Nation This one seems very similar to the one below, that has me walking for a whole month. Forrest Gump was fresh in everybody's mind back in these days -- and I really did love that part of the movie. 
  39. Bungee Jump As I get older, I feel less inclined to do these kind of things. I would probably still do it, but I don't actively seek out these types of adventures. 
  40. Kickflip/Shuvit The PSU Gap I never did either of these and the parking lot is gone. Off of 4th street, on the SW side of the Portland State University campus was a parking lot. This parking lot had a smooth run up to what amounted to a little lip (think very small jump ramp) and then maybe five or six feet of dirt and then the sidewalk. The run-up was perfect, as was the landing. Although, before the parking lot was gotten rid of, MAX tracks (or StreetCar tracks, I don't remember) were put in, making the roll away after the sidewalk more difficult. Zak Danielson 360 flipped this gap in 411VM issue #4, which can be seen below. I ollied and frontside 180'd it and I'd like to think that kickflipping, heelflipping or a shuvit over it could have been accomplished given the opportunity. 411VM #3 Zak Danielson at the PSU parking lot  
  41. Own A House I've had a few now. Will have more. 
  42. Get An Enjoyable Job I think becoming a doctor fits this bill. It certainly isn't always enjoyable but I think it is more fulfilling than I could have imagined. It is worthwhile to note that none of these items on the list have anything to do with medicine, much less becoming a doctor. 
  43. Get Tattoos Don't have one yet. For a few years, I actively avoided getting tattoos as I saw them as more conformist than not having one. I love good, tasteful ink. Terrible, tattoos just look so trashy. I guess you could say I was trying to out hipster the hipsters by not having ink. I have some things in mind. Maybe I'll get one this week. 
  44. Own My Own Company This one may be the one item I completed closer to the time of creation of the list, in relation to all the others. At the ripe ol' age of twenty two I started a small construction contracting business. I didn't engage in that business for very long, nearly two years but it gave me a taste and even now I have an LLC (not actively conducting business right now) and foresee myself as a small business owner (active) in the near future. This time, I won't be installing cheap carpet in section 8 housing, thankfully. 
  45. Study Philosophy I took a community college class in introduction to philosophy at Mt Hood Community College once. I didn't finish the class. 
  46. ***
  47. ***
  48. Always Go For It Thinking back to my self, and what was going on in those days, this pertains, most likely, to two different and specific endeavors: skateboarding and girls. I like to think that, in general, in the grand scheme of life, that I have, indeed, 'gone for it.'
  49. ***
  50. Always Be Honest, No Matter What Still striving, and always will be striving for this. 

19/46. Some of the softer goals are subjective in nature. I'm giving them to myself. Please, if you dispute, feel free to call me out. 


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