I’m writing this list because my brother, who is my hero, wrote one. It seemed like a good idea, so I am doing it. If I ever don’t do something that I write in this list and I reference back to it there better be a good reason for me not to have done it. So here it goes.
I was sitting here this morning, opening up a word document to start the final paper I will ever write as an undergraduate, when I realized how much my life is about to change after this next week.
The full realization of my graduating college and moving to an entirely new location hit me, like a cannonball to the stomach. I began, instead of writing a bland academic paper, to reflect on my college experience, why I came to school in the first place, and what kind of person I was as a freshman compared to who I am now. Most importantly I have been trying to imagine the person I will be in the months (and years) to come.
I realized that if the Kenny graduating high school was to the meet the Kenny I am not, the former would likely be very disappointed by the latter.
Instead of writing my paper, I wrote a very random and sporadic list for me and my future self. In a way, it vaguely defines who I am now and who I want to be while pretty much making no real sense whatsoever. It was a great and random exercise though:
Update this list.
Peace corps? Walking the Appalachian trail? Tough Mudder? Something intensely difficult. Being stripped of materials, distractions, and other problems and leaves just yourself.
Become better at chess (because it represents “controlling your shit” and becoming a better tactition/planner). It’s also pretty cool to be able to beat people at chess.
Write down your dreams.
Find and befriend mentors.
Own less stuff. Do more with less.
Make more out of less (material stuff that is). Make solutions out of stark problems, making do with a lack is what pushes creativity. Either being guitars, number of projects of interests, writing, or clothes, this will condense my focus and inadvertently create “elements of style.”
Always include something cool in your everyday carry items (not just a phone, that is lame). It is a sort of totem; it represents you as a person or is really important to you, and it doesn’t hurt if it is lucky.
Stop buying on impulse.
Continue writing, even if it is once a year.
Stop procrastinating so much. There is not real tomorrow, now is the only time you have.
Buy and rebuild an old motorcycle.
One day you will be too old to wear a leather jacket (a.k.a. wear it the fuck now and don’t worry about the haters).
Play guitar, get insanely good at it, or give it the fuck up already.
Where a pair of well crafted pants regularly for 2 years without washing them in a washing machine. It, like leather, will get a patina with age that makes it better if you have patience (Just made 5 months!).
Work on your focus. Everyday. Cut out internet and other distractions that at the end of the day are a literal waste of precious time. Despite what advertising (new clothes, cars, everything, every season) and the internet have created, intense focus of any kind (be in understanding an instrument, reading a long or difficult novel, learning a complex skill, staying in peak performance) is by default a better focusing and understanding of yourself and how you understand your life and time than anything anyone can show you.
There is only one place where it is acceptable to wear gym cloths. Dress like a grown ass man.
Be ok with being on your own and single. Stop acting. True romance and love is built on a foundation of two strong individuals, and how can you know who will be good for you if you don’t understand yourself?
Build your own countertops from polished concrete. Polished concrete is metal.
Read modern (good) literature. For fun. (Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, Vonenegut, etc.)
Go into the outdoors and try acid.
Build a bookcase that makes all other bookcases look like little children’s bookcases.
What is your favorite painting? Your favorite book? Your favorite work from Shakespeare? Your favorite movie? Your favorite music album? Why is it your favorite? Always be able to answer this question.
Emulate your grandparents, especially your Grandpa George. They were ballers.
Read at night before bed.
Only drink on special occasions and keep your promises to yourself (making it to another Friday after a rough week does not count as a special occasion; telling yourself “only one beer” should start to mean only drinking a single beer).
Share my love of literature and learning with my children (or my sisters’ children, if that is how it works out).
Learn to sew. This way you can make some of your dreams in clothing.
Think of depression as if being submerged in a cold lake…There is a surface, with sunlight and the warmth that is happiness, but you have to keep working and treading the cold water to keep yourself afloat.
Keep hardcovers of your favorite books. Add to them. (Moby-Dick, HP, Shakespeare, etc).
Own the ultimate, apocalypse-god of motorcycle jackets (Belstaff waxed cotton jacket).
Memorize the Bill of Rights and some Shakespeare. Be more acquainted with the world around you, in other words (more focus stuff).
Save more so you can work less.
Build a standing desk out of oak.
Also, go ahead and build your bed frame and headboard out of oak while you are at it.
Make a pair of awesome jeans (or not so awesome, in all probability, but go for it anyway).
Make tons of tweed vests. Tweed!
Be an amazing father.
Do yoga. It’s awesome, that’s why.
Emulate Hemingway and go out on an adventure and kill a Russian Boar.
Indy boots. Wear them out.
Get pictures taken to signify important events to help you remember them (graduations, achievements, promotions, new jobs, etc.).
Record music again.
Go barefoot. It toughens the feet.
Finish your homework after playing outside.
Go a couple of days disconnected (no phone, watch, internet).
Wear one pair of high-end jeans for at least a year straight (before the two year goal: baby steps).
Climb a tree again.
Make a scale mail belt. Also, make some dress belts too.
Buy used as much as you can. Recycle and reuse.
Don’t settle for store-bought cake or cookies. If you are going to eat badly, at least make it worth it. Bake that shit from scratch!
Be mindful of what comes between you and the earth. Buy good tires, good sheets, and good shoes.
Break in your own jeans.
Own clothes that fit me.
See the ocean again.
Sing more. You used to have a decent voice; you can find it again.
Work to limit exposure to advertising.
Get your abs back (but don’t push it and injure yourself again!).
Make your own satchel/messenger bag out of badass English bridle leather.
Get professional portraits and photos of yourself every once in a while. You don’t want your dumbass Facebook pictures or something to be the only thing your family can remember you by when you die.
Write original music.
Play guitar for at least 30 minutes 3 days a week.
Reach 160lb weight again, in a good way.
Learn/record a Chopin Song on guitar. Both the right and the left hand.
Sew a bathrobe that doesn’t suck for lounging around the house in class.
Sail on a boat (preferably an old one, in the ocean, but anything will do).
Learn to shave like a boss, i.e., with a straight razor or safety razor.
Find a “basket case” that is ready to be thrown away, restore it, and give it new life (motorcycle, car, gun,). Then sell it and appreciate all the new things you have.
Carry cash. 40 buck or more.
Make a button up shirt out of super slubby chambray.
Be able to play an Opeth song, start to finish, on any guitar, and never forget it.
Eat at least one meal made completely from things I have grown/harvested/brewed myself.
Go hiking. Or walking. Do anything goddamn it.
Take classes on building guitars. Go for it dude!
Don’t be afraid to establish new looks. New haircuts. New facial hair. Don’t get stuck in ruts.
Own a pair of 200+ dollar wingtip shoes that your grandchildren would be able to inherit (but don’t be an idiot and pay full price for them).
Go fishing once a year.
Framing a poster doesn’t make it valuable. Get some real art.
Make some real art too asshole. You used to be good at art, you can get good again. Don’t lose it.
Make (or have one made) a peacoat with fur on the collar, just because you never see that shit and it sounds awesome.
Jump out of a plane at least once. With a parachute. You know, so you don’t die.
Get a manicure once in your life (clear buff and get cuticles down). See what the fuss is.
Learn the solos. Record them and then move on.
Prepare most of your own meals. Do it on the weekends if you have to.
Own nothing but pairs of 100-300+ dollar jeans because you only live once dude.
Don’t choose comfort all the time.
Once a year, at least, try to read a novel from start to finish, in one day (and night, and day, if it takes that long). This is an intense test of focus, but it’s a journey and a test of will.
Use a watch to tell the time, not your phone/smartphone/computer (got this one covered!).
Learn to shoot, disassemble, and clean rifles, shotguns, and pistols. Do it to remember your grandparents.
Have a bottle of high-end single-malt whiskey. Don’t drink much of it. Share it with friends.
Socks are optional during the summer. As are shoes.
Get a deep-tissue massage.
Raise at least one dog that you give a shit about.
Learn how to shoot well (or better than you already do), and then teach someone else how to.
Go camping at least once a year. Preferably for at least a week in duration, but just get out there.
Have 1,000 dollars in cash hidden in my house.
Don’t ever pose with booze. That is NOT classy.
Own a pair of boots that will last your life (Aldens).
Drive. Just for fun.
Squat 350 pounds. Bench 225 pounds. Do 12 pull-ups with a 45 pound plate hanging from me. Do this with a partner (for bragging rights).
Speak Spanish more. Shitty Spanish counts.
Own a good suit that is 500+ dollars. Have it tailored.
Grow a vegetable garden. And an herb garden.
Freud was wrong. Let’s move on (but with some things he wasn’t).
Find a job I like. Find one I like if I don’t have one yet. Keep trying.
Save 10% of my life income for retirement.
Own my own house. Gut it and build it again to be epic as shit.
Tattoos. Tattoos. Tattoos.
Stop drinking shitty beer. If it isn’t good, why do you drink so much of it Kenny?
Learn the solo from a ridiculous shred-marker like The Black Dahlia Murder or Wretched.
Have no debt. Save for any purchases that are not literal emergencies. If I don’t have the money, I don’t need whatever I’m buying. If I can’t pay more than the minimum payment on my debt (house, school loan, car payment) I should fix it.
Still, I shouldn’t be a cheap-ass about everything.
Learn to play something from “Ashes of the Wake,” because it was one of my first metal albums. Same with Ghost Reveries because it is THE metal albulm.
Walk or hike 20 miles. Run a half marathon. Anything that pushes your body to the limits. Once a year. Turn off the phone. No ipod. Just water.
Visit a whaling museum.
Never get a gut. If I do, there is this thing called cardio (getting off my lazy ass) that fixes that.
Throw away or donate things I haven’t used in 6-9 months (cloths, hobbies, projects).
Make my own recipe for beer. Even if it’s only made twice a year.
Learn how to land a good punch, with right and left hands.