I think I am ramping up to a pre-midlife crisis. Or maybe it’s a delayed quarter-life crisis. Or maybe it’s a one-third-life crisis (do those exist?) I can’t be sure. What I do know, is this: I am turning 30 in a few months. Admittedly, I overdramatize my pending 30. In a way, I think it’s a bit like psychological flooding. I’ve joked about it so much at this point, when it actually happens I should be long-immune to any kind of shock, horror or despair that accompanies a hop from the 25-29 checkbox into the 30-35 checkbox.

Having said that, last week I was working on some copy for one of our clients, and in order to get “in it,” I had to think back to my college days. Somewhere between the mental time warp and putting words on paper, I found myself longing for late-night cram sessions, weekend out-of-towners crashing on sofas, the sublimeness of Saturdays during football season and the sinfulness of a 3:00 a.m. run to Pita Pit. This sudden onset nostalgia, however, was followed by an immediate wave of reality: I’ll never be 19 again.

I know, I know. It sounds dramatic, but for the first time in my life, I became acutely aware of the fact that at some point - as I’ve had my back turned, busy living, up to my elbows in NOW - one chapter of my life has ended, and another has begun.

I have nearly three decades of snapshots and slides behind me. If you loaded them into a player, you’d see Easter egg hunts and Sunday dresses, a few generations of beloved family dogs, bedtime stories and family vacations, a few leftover shards of broken hearts, a lot of laughter and one minor incident that involved a handful of my closest friends, a 24-pack of toilet paper and my one (and only) run-in with “the law.”

Tonight I found myself flipping through XM channels. I happened to stumble across a radio talk show and the host was talking to his mother. She had managed to score tickets to Oprah’s last taping. She talked about the milestone show for a few minutes, but eventually the conversation turned to why the opportunity had meant so much to her. Her response was simple: attending an Oprah show was an item ticked off her “Bucket List.”

As the conversation went on, the host’s mother encouraged listeners to make their own Bucket List. “Just write it down somewhere. That’s very important. Then go back in a year and you’ll be surprised how much you’ve done.”

It reminded me of a long-forgotten list I started a few years ago. I revisited the list last night, and just as foretold, I was surprised at how many of my To-Dos had been checked off the list simply by living.

As I scanned the list, it read like a clairvoyant friend who had taken a peek into my future...

  • Item #2: Write my grandma a letter (I did, thankfully. She passed away in February)
  • Item #8: Share a moment with beluga whales (Georgia Aquarium, September 2010)
  • Item #15: Do some freelance work (The path that brought me to Brains on Fire)

There are also a handful of To-Dos still dangling out there, waiting patiently...

  • Item #14: Volunteer somewhere outside my comfort zone
  • Item #27: Take THE Great American Roadtrip
  • Item #32: El Camino de Santiago
  • Item #36: Karaoke (God help us all...)

As I perused the internet tonight, researching bucket lists, I caught a glimpse of a side of humanity that made me smile. A few random pulls from Bucket List blogs dotting the internet:

  • Find a pen with brown ink
  • Meet Chuck Norris
  • Sleep in a heart-shaped bed
  • Be happy for one whole day
  • Get an octopus tattoo
  • Make a perfect snow angel
  • Get drunk with my mom
  • Own a beagle
  • Drive the Golden Gate Bridge ( http://www.vimeo.com/11642661 )
  • Make guacamole
  • Hug a koala bear

The great Charles Bukowski once said, “Too often people complain that they have done nothing with their lives and they wait for somebody to tell them this isn’t so.”

And herein lies my challenge for you. Quit waiting. Write it down. And go do it.

A good place to start: http://www.43things.com

So...what’s on your list?