Oyster Words: A (Sort Of) Bucket List
The life-long dreams of our Editor, from our 100th issue.
I always daydreamed in class at school. I perfected what I hoped was an interested expression, while not actually listening to anything that was being said. I'd think about boys, mostly, and having adventures in exciting places — I wanted to be an archaeologist/explorer/writer/supporting character in an Indiana Jones film. Sometimes I'd imagine that I was famous and dating River Phoenix or Devon Sawa. I'd also think about all the outfits I would wear — I could play that game for hours.
Another favourite game of mine was to imagine what I would do if I was granted three wishes. It was never simple; each wish had a number of extensive sub-categories and a detailed outline of how they would unfold. I would start with superficial things — various aspects of my appearance that I would change — and then there were other things depending on how I was feeling on that particular day, like World Peace or a mum who did not ring other people's parents (after looking them up in the phone book) to make sure they knew I would be attending a party at their house on the weekend.
I daydream now, but it's mostly when I'm on a plane, bus, train, or in a car. That's why I like travelling on my own — I still build ridiculous scenarios and stories inside my head, although I like to think I have matured somewhat. I guess that's ultimately why I wanted to be a writer — it's kind of a cop-out job for people who can't concentrate for very long periods of time, or use Excel — but I'm yet to put any of my fantasies on a page. I'm delaying disappointment for as long as possible. Dreams are so much better when they are dreams.
In the spirit of this issue's theme, though, I decided to stop daydreaming and write a bucket list of some of the things I've always wanted to do. I actually dug up an old list in the process — written by my 21-year-old self — and gave myself a deadline.
Disclaimer number one: Writing an achievable bucket list defeats the whole purpose of the thing. Bucket lists are created toward the end of your life, usually because the claws of death are almost upon you. I'm sure there is no greater source of motivation. As I am in perfect health I was propelled by a combination of other things: wanting to feel 21 and carefree again, a rare moment of opportunity, and (mostly) the need to contribute something to this issue.
Disclaimer number two: This list is still a work in progress, as things got a little busy with the whole 'making a magazine' thing that was going on — but as it turns out, that counts for something in itself. Which brings me to the first item on the list...
• Edit a magazine
Finding this on the old list was pretty exciting. It's like when you write a to-do list late in the day, include the things you have already done, then cross them out immediately.
• Live in Paris
Kind of the same as above.
This was another one from the old list, although 21-year-old-me wanted to do it much more than 29-year-old me. Thanks to the company of my sister; our Creative Director, Shane Sakkeus; and a very experienced and likeable man called Phil (my tandem partner at Sydney Skydivers), I went through with it. The best way to describe how it feels to fall through the sky would be to write approximately 17 swear words followed by six or seven exclamation marks. The best word to describe the feeling once you have landed is 'smug'.
• Learn to meditate
This is obviously less action-packed than the previous two points, but no less rewarding. When you have a mind that races around like a four-year-old after a hit of Wizz Fizz, it's important to learn to CTFD. This was a recent addition to the list and one that was prompted by several friends testifying to the "life-changing" benefits of meditation. Meditation might sound easy to do, but it isn't. You have to sit still for a decent period of time twice a day, and brave the mockery from closed-minded family members and significant others. You're not meant to talk too much about the experience you have during the lessons (although it's not a cult), but I would liken meditation — when it really kicks in — to the most sublime high I have ever experienced. It's as if your body is humming and your mind is floating away from you. (Thanks to Gary Gorrow for being my sensei.)
• Dive into a pool of sparkling mineral water
This is where things get a little weird (sorry everyone), but it's true: this has long been a fantasy of mine — mostly when I have a hangover. Unfortunately I couldn't make this happen before going to print, but to prove to you that I did try, below is my correspondence with a representative from San Pellegrino. As you can see we ran into some logistical issues, so please email me if you have any suggestions (or an empty swimming pool).
I like this idea — sounds fun. What do you need?
I would ultimately need to find an empty pool to fill. I am on the lookout.
What size pool and how many litres would that be?
• Visit a psychic
I consider myself to be a spiritual person: I check Susan Miller on the first day of every month, I know my birthstone, I sometimes practice yoga when there is a good studio located conveniently near me and the class time suits. Yet I had never had my palm read, my fortune told or seen a psychic. My visit to the psychic is kind of a hard thing to write about, but the experience reminded me of going to see the school counsellor: you squirm in the chair for an hour while they choose their words carefully, as if they don't want to commit to a specific diagnosis in case it backfires. It was a vague sort of conversation that may or may not have held some cryptic form of advice.
• Go to a health retreat
When you edit a magazine in a different hemisphere to the rest of your team you become quite dependent on the internet. That's a nice way of putting it; another would be that you become borderline psychotic about mobile data connection, wireless signal, batteries dying, and any other technical hiccups that should most probably be seen as things that 'sometimes just happen' rather than life-threatening disasters. A real bucket list might have necessitated a complete change of life — perhaps a pilgrimage to an ashram, followed by a lobotomy — but as I am only 29 and still have a good 20 years to go before I come to my senses, I went to Gwinganna Health Retreat in Queensland, Australia. For a whole weekend I was fed healthy food, told to exercise and banned from using technology. Gwinganna is an Aboriginal word meaning 'get a life' (possibly).
• High-five P. Diddy on his yacht
This is a very lame one, and sadly I can't even say that it's from my 21-year-old's list. The reason this made it onto the list is (a) I think he is very cool in the same way that Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Recreation is cool, and (b) I was in Cannes when he was in Cannes, so this was sort of like a dare to see if I could pull it off. It almost happened. I don't want to go into too much detail because I'm still mad at myself about the whole thing, but apparently I don't get out of bed after 11 pm for anyone.
• Write a book
How many words is this? Is it a book yet? But seriously, I have started something and if it's bad I will use a pseudonym.
• See Versailles without tourists
This happened (see photographic evidence above).
Words: Alice Cavanagh
Alice is our Editor. She lives in Paris, where she exists solely on cheese, dark chocolate and cups of tea.