Goals Of An Eighteen-year-old

I, (x), am at present eighteen years of age and about to enter the “real world” of finance, politics and hardships. I will soon be leaving high school and will be starting what many people think of as the “real life”. This list has been compiled to demonstrate some of the things I want to accomplish and where I’m hoping to go in life. To fulfill these goals will take a long time and be challenging all around. I don’t know where I’ll end up in life or how many of these ideas, if any, I will achieve, but Lord willing I’ll do my best however I can to make these dreams a reality.

1. Graduate high school
Even now, my high school life is in jeopardy. It has been ever since I started. With only two weeks left, I would like to get out of here in one piece with a diploma in hand. While I know it isn’t the biggest deal in the world, it’s important to me to see that I finish what I set out to do. I want the diploma simply to prove to myself that I was able to do it.

2. Work for the Montana Conservation Corps
I’m due to work with them this year from June until November. It will be my third year involved with forest service work. Every time I work in that sort of environment, I learn new things and forge new memories that I take with me everywhere I go. I want to work again with the MCC to gain a solid footing into the real world and to help make myself into a better person.

3. Learn how to live sustainably
As an environmentalist and supporter of the Green Party, seeing the world in a healthier state than I left it is very important to me. That’s partially why I want to work again with the MCC; they teach people how to interact with the world sustainably. But it isn’t enough. I want to master practices that will help me be free of money save for the things I want, not the things I need, in order to be able to both support myself and those around me, and support the environment in which I live.

4. Complete a cross-country bicycle trip
To go along with my efforts toward a sustainable, healthy lifestyle, I want to ride my bike across the United States from one coast to the next and back again. This will be done in order to improve my health, improve my abilities to live in nature as need be (as I would be camping by tent most everywhere I go), and to see much more of the country than I’ve ever had a chance to see. I would also do this to see some family and friends in different places along the way.

5. Meet friends in Havana, IL
There are people in Illinois who I have the privilege of knowing through online and phone conversations but have not yet had the privilege of meeting in person. When I head out across the country, I would like to meet them officially for myself. I also have a sister out there in Chicago, IL whom I would like to see as well.

6. Visit Portland, OR
A family member and some other friends live in Portlandia, as it has been dubbed. I’ve been there once before and came to really appreciate being there. I would like to be there for a short time to make my own experiences in one of the U.S.’ more infamous cities. I’m not sure what I would do out there, but that’s the fun part about it.

7. Obtain degree from Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA
I’m not one much for the idea of college (mostly because of my poor history with school and a lack of proper funds) but if I do go to college, Evergreen is the one I would want to do it at. Evergreen is a severely liberally-run school with an alternative system of teaching and grading, and their record for teaching people how to live environmentally-conscious, proactive lifestyles is famous all around. If I allow myself the handicap of having a huge debt to pay back, Evergreen is the college I want to do it at.

8. Build floating island
As strange as it may seem, I want to build an island. I was quite inspired some time back when I saw a man construct his own floating island out of floating garbage, fishing nets, plywood and sand. He did it quite successfully and by the time he was done, it was fully self-sustaining with plants growing and his home built on it. I don’t think I’d build one to live off of, but I would like to build one for other people to benefit from. Perhaps I would use it as a biological garden for a coastal city to feed from without having to use local lands.

9. Build tiny house
To go along with my ideas of construction of nifty structures, I want to build my own home to live in for a while. It won’t be a permanent structure; not on land and not to stay in forever. It will be a tiny home mounted on a towable trailer, probably no bigger than 10’ x 13’ or so. The tiny house movement has me intrigued because it’s far cheaper than owning a permanent home, it teaches one to live frugally, and you can go anywhere in a house like that free of loan debts or mortgages so long as you have a way to fuel to vehicle that tows it. I’d use it to travel the U.S. more formally, meeting new people and seeing new cultures in a greater way than before.

10. Visit New York City, NY
For many people, myself included, New York is one of those go-to places that they feel compelled to see at least one time in their lives. I wouldn’t much like to live there, but I would like to spend some time in the city to get the experience of being in one of the greatest cities the world has to offer. While there, I would probably try to stir up more interest in the tiny house movement and would probably sell mine off to someone who could use it more than I could.

11. Sail on the Queen Mary 2
Leaving New York City, I’d like to travel the North Atlantic aboard Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2- the only transatlantic ocean liner in the entire world. She is the biggest, grandest, and most technologically advanced ocean liner of all time, and I’ll be damned if I don’t see her inside and out at least once in my lifetime. I would gladly pay thousands of dollars to travel on her over an airplane any day. She would be the ultimate way to travel to Europe.

12. Visit the British Isles
From the QM2, I would like to visit the British and Irish Isles and all the countries therein. My primary interest in the United Kingdom comes from their railways. The British Isles have some of the oldest and, in my opinion, greatest railways ever built. Many of them still run steam engines, some well over a century old, and I would love to see these special trains for myself. Not to mention so much of the British and Irish cultures are just awesome, so I’d love to experience it all first-hand.

13. Become a locomotive driver
I’ve long held an interest in metal machineries such as ships and trains, trains being my primary interest. While in the U.K., I’d love the opportunity to work on some of their famous pieces myself. My favorite examples lay in southwest Wales on the narrow-gauge heritage lines. The engines and stock of the Talyllyn and Ffestiniog railways are widely considered to be some of the greatest trains in the world, especially for their age (1860s-1890s) and I’d give many things just to have the chance to drive them as a profession.

14. Master woodwind instruments
The British Isles and Republic of Ireland are home to a wide variety of music styles. While in school I’ve been lucky enough to learn some basic saxophone, recorder, clarinet and flute, though recently I have not had the best opportunities to further my progress with them formally. Should I ever go to the Isles, I would like to master woodwind instruments (including others such as the Uilleann Pipes and Oboe) in a culture where woodwinds place a huge role in musical styles and culture.

15. Move to Helsinki, Finland
While Britain and Ireland are huge targets of interest for me, I don’t know if I could ever call the Isles home (granted I’ve never been there to try just yet). Scandinavia holds another great deal of interest for me for a variety of reasons. Ideally I’d love to visit all five Nordic countries and their territories, but Finland holds the greatest interest to me. I don’t exactly know why, but I feel like I’m supposed to be there for some reason; sort of like a call of destiny. If I do move there, I’d like to study foreign languages (including Finnish and Swedish) as well as work for a degree in welding from one of Finland’s polytechnics schools.

16. Build earth-friendly home
If I can get a permanent job and residence in Helsinki, I’d love to set up an earth-home to tie back to my desires for environmentalism. The thought of owning some arable property (for a garden, pond, greenhouse, et cetera) and building an eco-home, such as one made of cob or sandbags, draws great interest for me because I’ve got a big tooth for alternative architecture and sustainable living practices. Finland is part of what I believe to be one of the most beautiful and pristine environments on Earth, and given the chance and reason, I could see myself settling down there relatively easily.

17. Create complete North Western Railway model structure
Tying back to my passion for railroading and building things, I’d like to replicate the fictional North Western Railway of the Island of Sodor in 1:87 scale. This would obviously require a home to build it in first, but it seems like a worthwhile challenge to me, as it is one of the most famous and trickiest-to-build rail networks in the world. Any chance to bring this world-renowned railway line to life is fine with me.

18. Create a woodwind/string instrument hybrid
The science of musical instruments is fascinating to me and one of the things I’d like to try is construction of a hybrid instrument. What I have in mind is a woodwind instrument with a reed system that uses strings instead of standard keyholes. I’m sure it’s been tried before, but creating one could be a fun challenge in itself. Who knows; maybe it could lead to something greater.

19. Become a master chef
This one’s more for fun. I have a good line of chefs going in my family and would like to expand my repertoire as well. I can be a decent cook if I have a specific goal in mind when making food, though becoming a full-fledged chef could prove to be a decent venture if I ever wanted a solid alternative to working with metals and building things. Not to mention learning how to cook things properly can only help me and those around me wherever I go.

20. Master Abrahamic and Dharmic theologies
While I am not especially inclined to believe in any organized religion per se, I would like to uncover a little bit more about what different religions and spiritual groups believe simply so I have that sort of knowledge. I like studying about different cultures and how beliefs shape the world, so understanding religion in regards to everything from Christianity to Shinto seems quite worthwhile to me.

21. Master scientific understanding of evolution
To go along with discovering religion, I want to learn more about science and the structure of our world and the universe in an unbiased way. Believing in either creation or evolution by pure faith alone without proper regards to the other seems superfluous and foolish to me, which is why I’d like to learn as much as I can about both. I want to know how we as humans got to be the way we are today, and why we believe what we believe.

22. Write a book series
Another “for fun” idea. I don’t know what I’d write about, but I have had a few ideas for some fantasy-fiction series before. It might be nice to leave a mark on the world that influences people. Writing a series of books would be a great way to do just that and would certainly provide a difficult challenge for me. Any way to challenge myself is usually welcomed.

23. Build a boat
I’m a craftsman. There’s really not much more to say on it. I want to build by own lake/river-boat, probably something made of wood with a double-skinned frame and about thirty feet long. I know what it would look like and be built for. I imagine something that size would be quite adept at handling large loads of people, logs, bricks, whatever. The load doesn’t matter. I just want to build a large classical-style riverboat.

24. Start a revolution
This I would do if I ever became too pissed-off at society to care about the consequences anymore. I don’t think I’d be a violent revolutionary, or even an unusually angry one. If I did do anything, it would probably be a revolution to help people take themselves and their freedoms back from governments or something like that. Sort of like the whole Ron Paul “Revolution” thing, but hopefully I wouldn’t be quite as nuts as some other people involved in revolutions have been.

25. Have my ashes scattered in wind
I don’t care much how I die (though I would like to kick the bucket in a pretty awesome manner, such as going down on a sinking ship or skydiving into oblivion), but however I do it (provided my body can be recovered), I’d like to have my body cremated to ash, and in turn have those ashes taken over a windy mountaintop close to where I finished my life and dumped out into the wind. I’m not keen on the idea of being buried and left to decompose; I want to go out with the idea of continuing my journey however it may end. There’s something deeply spiritual about what happens to peoples’ bodies when they die, and being taken by the wind is what I would like to happen to me.

So that’s my basic bucket list. There are a few other things I’d like to do and the list will surely change with time, but these are the goals I’m striving for in this day and age. Only time will tell if I complete them all.

ViewFromHeaven ViewFromHeaven
May 20, 2012