like a giraffe's neck

You should make one of those life lists like I have down there on the side. Whoever you are…if you’re reading this, you should do it. You should not just think vague thoughts about what you’d like your future—your life—to hold. You should write down specific goals or places you want to go or feelings you want to have. You should do it today.

You’re thinking, “Geez, woman, that’s a whole lot of “shoulds” for someone who majored in psychology.” I’ll tell you why you should do it. How long ago did I post that? Seventeen days. Here’s what’s happened since.

Visiting every ballpark? I now have tickets to visit two more between next week and the beginning of July. I have places I need to go for work that—if the timing is right—will allow me to visit a few more than that.

See a show on Broadway? I’m going next Thursday.

Visit every continent? I checked the second one of the list last week.

Visit every state? I’m going to two, maybe three, next week.

Kiss the one I love under the Eiffel Tower? Granted, that was super specific and I think I could have kissed N*** L*** but that wasn’t really exactly what I meant. But, seriously, pretty darn close.

I also almost listed “seeing Madonna in concert” when I made that list. I guess almost counted this time.

With the exception of visiting one ballpark in July, none of these things were planned when I wrote that list. None of them. Most of us know about “turning thoughts into things” and “The Secret” and the like because many of the people who read this blog majored in psychology or have had psychology forced upon them or are educated or spiritual enough to think that a positive, focused attitude can make a difference.

And, yet, I am still amazed. And I am humbled. And I'm thinking that I may meet the Dalai Lama afterall.

So do it. Make the list. Then tell me what happens.

++++++++++++

Ah, Paris. I’ve been trying to think of what I want to say about the trip. I’m not the first person to go and I won’t be the last. I’ve thought about how the roughly 2,000 pictures we took are very similar to ones in a million other people’s scrapbooks and photo albums and picture frames and hard drives.

I could tell you how, in a jetlagged haze, being in Paris that first day felt very similar to traveling anywhere else (since I do it so often) with the exception of little things like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. Or how catching my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower through some trees as we wandered through a beautiful little park simply took my breath away. Or how I didn’t realize how large the Arc is even when standing right under it until I saw how tiny I was when photographed next to it. Or how I was amazed thinking about the millions of feet that have hit stone steps in exactly the same place over hundreds of years to significantly wear them down in places. Or how the spiral staircases up to the bell towers of Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame were the tiniest little neverending staircases I’d ever seen, complete with wooden handrails as smooth as glass from millions of hands, again, over hundreds of years. Or how I became emotional when seeing Impressionist paintings and famous sculptures and the actual building where an entire art movement was birthed. Or how I felt a kinship to Marie-Antoinette--thinking that I, too, would have had times where I wanted to trade all that came with being Queen for a quiet life in the country (although I never would have thought of just building my own little hamlet on the palace grounds).

Instead, I’ll tell you what made my trip to Paris different. Four other American women, N*** L***, the French “American Idol,” one of the judges from the French “American Idol,” Lenny Kravitz, me, and about 1,991 other people stood in line for 3+ hours to see Madonna in a small theatre last Tuesday night. (Ok, so Lenny and those two French guys didn't stand in line but they were there.) It was poorly organized, security was crazy, the fans were crazier, people were excited and rude and cranky and awestruck. It was a group of 2,000 people from all over the world, speaking many different languages, united to see one artist. I cannot begin to imagine what it would feel like to be that artist. We were jam-packed, standing, until she came on. Then we were jumping on tired feet and yelling with accented voices. It was a concert that lasted merely 40 minutes and 6 songs. Was it the highlight of the trip? No. Was it an experience I’ll never forget? Definitely.

My other story involved the RER. Before we left, I was told that the roughest train (scary people-wise) was the one between the city and the airport. Since we stayed at the airport hotel a few nights, we took that route a few times. We didn’t have any problems with pickpockets or harassment of any kind the entire trip. However, we were on the train back to the airport on Friday night and it appeared that the interior lights weren’t on. It was getting late and there are many places where you’re underground so it was scarily dark in there. Still no one bothered us. At one stop, a slightly grungy looking man got on and sat right across the aisle from us. He proceeded to take off his coat and then his shirt. Sitting there topless, he applied deodorant after placing his can of beer on the ground. He took out a package containing his drug paraphernalia and began to roll some joints. After he smoked a joint, we decided that it was best that we switch seats. The train wasn’t that crowded and no one else was near us and the homeless man. Safety in numbers and all that. After we moved, he smoked another joint and began talking and laughing to himself. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t just conversing on his bluetooth.

It really was an amazing trip. The Brother and I were talking the other day. He asked me if I, too, am sometimes overwhelmed to be somewhere—San Francisco, Boston, Paris—considering where we came from—Smallerthansmalltown, Texas. A place where it seemed the likelihood of leaving the state was on par with becoming the next president or super model. I told him that of course I am. That it is amazing to me that we’ve come so far and in such a short time. I am infinitely glad my parents stressed getting an education. And I am glad that I’ve had so many opportunities that they never had in lifetimes twice as long. It is bittersweet to be standing on the stage of the Ryman or in front of the Mona Lisa or on the beach looking out at the Pacific and know that they would have loved to have stood there, too. And I look with all our eyes.

Comments

StaceyG said…
Wow what a great post! I need to update my list...
Anonymous said…
The last paragraph made me cry.

The Brother
Katie Lady said…
Great post, you really captured the spirit of the thing. I feel like I was there with you!
D... said…
This is an excellent post. However, I'm sorry, I can only concentrate on one thing. Madonna only sang for 40 minutes? Only 6 songs? Which songs?
Bubba's Sis said…
You, my friend, are awesome! Perhaps I will see Paris someday...if not, I feel as if I've seen it thru your eyes, and thru your heart.

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100 things--thankful

hey, would you like to see the nursery?