Things I’ve Already Done Before I Die

It’s popular to make lists of “Things I Want To Do Before I Die.” As a lister, I can understand the appeal. But after thinking about it for a while, I decided not to do it for several reasons — which I won’t bother listing.

Instead, I decided to make a list of Things I’ve Already Done Before I Die. It’s not nearly as ambitious, I know, but on the other hand, it’s concrete evidence that my life hasn’t been totally without accomplishment and excitement. Those things listed in red are updates and additions since I first made the list in 2010.

As of September 13, 2017, I have …

  1. Gone spelunking in an unimproved cave.
  2. Planted a tree.
  3. Sung in an ensemble in front of a crowd.
  4. Taken two years of piano lessons and played at a recital.
  5. Visited a World’s Fair (in New York in 1964).
  6. Gone to a Major League game with a Major League ballplayer (Phil Reagan of the Cubs).
  7. Attended an NBA game (and saw Michael Jordan play).
  8. Been to a Mozart festival.
  9. Attended an NHL game.
  10. Attended an NFL game (and saw Walter Payton play).
  11. Performed on a released CD (I had one spoken line).
  12. Gone to a drive-in movie.
  13. Seen the northern lights
  14. Seen a lunar eclipse
  15. Seen a solar eclipse
  16. Found Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter in the night sky.
  17. Traveled in a steamship.
  18. Flown in a pontoon plane that took off from and landed on water.
  19. Spent a night under the stars (and got bronchitis and pneumonia).
  20. Read over 1,000 books that are considered classics.
  21. Identified almost 450 483 species of wild birds.
  22. Completed a New York Times crossword puzzle by myself.
  23. Watched almost 300 movies that are considered classics.
  24. Earned a college degree.
  25. Eaten in an automat.
  26. Ridden in a helicopter.
  27. Ridden on a motorcycle.
  28. Hiked 28 miles in a day.
  29. Biked 30 miles in a day.
  30. Found the rare Brewster’s Warbler hybrid on three separate occasions.
  31. Eaten caviar.
  32. Had a book published (albeit with no by-line).
  33. Built a sandcastle.
  34. Lost 50 pounds.
  35. Attended a Chautauqua tent show.
  36. Baked a cake.
  37. Survived a tornado.
  38. Juggled three tennis balls.
  39. Read biographies of all dead presidents.
  40. Spent Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve and New Years Day
  41. alone.
  42. Visited all 48 contiguous states.
  43. Gone white-water rafting.
  44. Gone swimming in a waterfall.
  45. Bred and raised tropical fish.
  46. Ridden a horse (including one that was running full speed).
  47. Seen Casablanca in a theater.
  48. Taken an all-day train ride.
  49. Seen Blue Man Group.
  50. Been a camp counselor.
  51. Beaten everybody else in the world at online Boggle (or at least everybody who happened to be playing at the time).
  52. Won 103 consecutive games of Free Cell.
  53. Waded in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
  54. Waded across the Mississippi River headwaters.
  55. Gone on an overnight canoe trip.
  56. Spent a day detasseling corn.
  57. Ridden on a combine that was harvesting corn.
  58. Driven a pony cart.
  59. Walked across a lake on the ice.
  60. Taken a ballroom dance class.
  61. Gone archery golfing.
  62. Seen a moose, elk, pronghorn, and black bear in the wild.
  63. Broken par at disc golf.
  64. Won a ping-pong tournament.
  65. Carved a wooden duck.
  66. Attended a Broadway play.
  67. Built a snowman.
  68. Taken a walk when it was -30 degrees
  69. Taken a walk when it was over 100 degrees.
  70. Walked at least 100 miles a month for an entire year.
  71. Seen Niagara Falls at night.
  72. Traveled alone at least 300 miles from anybody I knew.
  73. Been to the top of the Washington Monument.
  74. Been to the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
  75. Learned to do “around the world” with a yo-yo.
  76. Written a letter to a President.
  77. Parred a hole in golf.
  78. Boxed a round.
  79. Collected hail and use it as ice in a drink.
  80. Pulled an all-nighter to study for a final.
  81. Caught a snake with my bare hands.
  82. Won a prize at a carnival game.
  83. Stacked three golf balls.
  84. Adopted a stray cat.
  85. Had a published book dedicated to me (by my father).
  86. Gone to the top of Pike’s Peak.
  87. Ridden in an electric trolley.
  88. Eaten an entire baby octopus
  89. Had one of my photographs published in a book.
  90. Celebrated the Fourth of July in two foreign countries.
  91. Eaten ostrich.
  92. Eaten shark.
  93. Eaten musk oxen.
  94. Eaten caribou.
  95. Been to the top of the world’s tallest building (at the time).
  96. Caught a fish that weighed more than 10 pounds.
  97. Skied down a hill (on cross-country skis)
  98. Ridden on a snowmobile.
  99. Gone water skiing.
  100. Heard Timber Wolves howling in the wild.
  101. Driven a London taxi.
  102. Managed a car wash.
  103. Stood on Little Round Top at Gettysburg after dark.
  104. Seen a Gray Whale.
  105. Been a School Safety Patrol crossing guard.
  106. Played Little League Baseball.
  107. Been to a tent circus.
  108. Qualified as a Marksman with the National Rifle Association.
  109. Camped for a night on an island in Lake Superior.
  110. Been to a Harlem Globetrotters game.
  111. Ridden in a gondola in the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco in Mexico City.
  112. Taken an eight-hour bus ride through Mexico.
  113. Swam over 100 yards.
  114. Learned to ice skate and roller skate.
  115. Gone sailing by myself.
  116. Worked in a library.
  117. Driven a catering truck.
  118. Worked as a roofer.
  119. Seen a Coati.
  120. Gone deep-sea fishing.
  121. Played the harmonica.
  122. Been married for 30 38 years (and counting).
  123. Been bitten by a dog.
  124. Been stung by six bees in 30 seconds.
  125. Pumped gas at a full-service gas station.
  126. Discovered the nest of a Bachman’s Sparrow.
  127. Taught a canoeing course at a summer camp.
  128. Been the southernmost person on the West Coast of the United States.
  129. Watched a Dallas Cowboys-Chicago Bears football game with Josh McDowell.
  130. Walked within six feet of a six-foot alligator.
  131. Memorized all the countries in the world and their capitals (and forgotten most of them).
  132. Taken a ballroom dance class.
  133. Been to the first night game at Wrigley Field.
  134. Been to the final game at the old Comiskey Park and the first game at the new Comiskey Park.
  135. Taught workshops at a training conference.
  136. Attended an opera.
  137. Been given a cooking lesson by the owner/chef of a fancy restaurant.
  138. Participated in the first ever Chinese fire drill in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.
  139. Maintained a daily blog for more than three eight years.
  140. Hiked 28 miles in one day from my house in Illinois to the Wisconsin border.
  141. Gone up in a hot air balloon.
  142. Climbed to the top of 14,271′ Mount Evans in Colorado, one of the famous 14’ers.
  143. Climbed 9,095′ Mount Herman and 9,368′ Eagle Peak in Colorado.
  144. Located and identified 69 species of wild animals.
  145. Eaten a bacon cheeseburger with two grilled cheese sandwiches as the bun and lived to tell the tale.
  146. Visited Grand Mesa, the largest flat-topped mountain in the world.
  147. Visited the second-place finisher in the 2014 “America’s Best Restroom Contest” in Lucas, Kansas.
  148. Watched the AdAmAn fireworks on Pikes Peak on New Years Eve.
  149. Had my photo taken under the marquee at Wrigley Field 9 hours after the Cubs won the World Series.
  150. Read all 106 books National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s Extreme Classics: The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time.
  151. Seen baseball games at 20 Major League Parks and 8 Minor League Parks.
  152. Seen Johnny Cash, Chet Atkins, The Beach Boys, Chicago, Olivia Newton John, Hewie Lewis and the News, Sha-na-na, The Lettermen, Over the Rhine, and The Everly Brothers live in concert.
  153. Became a member of the Century Club by hiking 1,000 miles within McHenry County Conservation District parks. 
  154. Stood on the highest point in the states of Tennessee, Arkansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Indiana.
  155. Walked every inch of every street in Cary and Fox River Grove, Illinois.
  156. Drank a glass of free ice water at Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota.
  157. With my wife, painted layer 24,505 on the World’s Largest Ball of Paint in Alexandria, Indiana.
  158. Been on a boat on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Mississippi River, and three of the Great Lakes (Michigan, Superior, Erie).
  159. Caught a “throwed roll” at Lambert’s Café in Sikeston, Missouri.
  160. Visited all 16 remaining (at the time) Dog n Suds drive-ins.
  161. Visited Redmon’s World’s Largest Gift Shop in Phillipsburg, Missouri and didn’t buy anything.
  162. Twice completed a 21-mile circumperambulation of Lake Geneva, in Wisconsin.
  163. Ate dinner with my wife in the Walnut Room at Macy’s (Marshall Fields) in Chicago.
  164. Had one of the 600 highest point totals in the entire world in Angry Birds (in my defense, I was incapacitated with the flu for a week and couldn’t summon the energy to do anything else).
  165. Had my name appear on the Colorado Rare Bird report (for spotting a Townsend’s Warbler) five months after moving to the state.
  166. Visited three state fairs (Illinois, Wisconsin, Colorado).

Stay tuned. Who knows what further adventures are in store …

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5 Responses to Things I’ve Already Done Before I Die

  1. n8 says:

    You’ve ridden a running horse while running? I’d say that’s an accomplishment!

  2. n8 says:

    Sorry, I misread. I thought it said … (including one as fast as I could.

  3. Angela says:

    You’ve ridden a horse!?!?!?!?!?!

  4. jeff says:

    ever been in a Turkish prison?

  5. karen says:

    139. Impressed your friends on a regular basis.

Comments are closed.