Dave’s Bucket List
By David Metcalfe
December 4, 2017
“Honey, I’m Home!” As Society’s Perceived Pinnacle of Existence
I think our existence in the world is a wonderful opportunity that should be put to good use. If we were purely primal beings who needed only to survive and reproduce, aspiring toward something more than that would be wholly unnecessary. However, it seems as though humans have greater desires than to simply exist. They want to really live. Some more than others, it would seem. Many people wonder why I won’t just get married, work a 9-5 job, and buy a house in Alberta. I, on the other hand, wonder how anyone could live such a mundane existence.
But this week, as I chatted with my friends who have chosen to live such a life, I see no mundanity in their expressions of it. To them, getting married is an exciting and meaningful expression of the ultimate state of love between people. Work affirms their place in the world, and the accompanying monetary rewards allow them to feel the tangible results of their labor. The prospect of buying a house is a culmination of their workplace efforts, as well as an affirmation of themselves as valuable, integral members of society who have rightfully earned a right to property, security, and independence.
I, however, see things differently. To me, marriage is a kind of tyranny that serves as a forum for disappointment, false fulfillment, and inhibition of greater potential achievement. Majority of 9-5 jobs are the epitome of mundanity, and the antagonist of creativity. Buying a house falsely affirms one’s self in a façade of material wealth that restricts many of our liberties.
*I should note, however, that in recent months I have become less pessimistic towards marriage. One girl in particular whom I liked very much back in Colorado (but will likely never get to see again, let alone date) kind of restored in me the idea that a romantic relationship may serve valuable at some point in the future, as long as it is with the right person. But keep in mind, I am still fairly pessimistic towards most of the marriages in modern America.
So, who is correct? Is marriage, a 9-5 job, and a house good or bad things to aspire to? Well, that is up to each one of us to decide. There is no moral imperative, that I know of, that would imply the acquisition of such things as morally inferior or superior. What I care more about is the intent that people have behind it. For example, does the person want a fancy house so that they can show off how wealthy they are, and prove they are better than other people? Or perhaps instead, does the person want a fancy house so they can host people who need a place to stay? I think those are the real kinds of questions to be asking.
Ramses’ Number 1, He Knows The Secrets of Desiya
But most importantly, the things that I personally aspire to are in no way superior to what normal people aspire to. God has uniquely blessed me with a persistent discontentedness of the ordinary. One of my favorite authors, who “rarely” ever gets quoted among Christians, once said,
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” -C.S. Lewis
In the world of rural Alberta, I’m not even close to satisfied. I need another world. Working for Axis in Colorado provided that for a time, but the pseudo-intellectual, pandering, and unreasonable attitude of my supervising editors made me well aware that I’m meant for something much greater than that. With the valuable skills, abilities and knowledge that I have gained from university and my writing/speaking experience, I have set my mind towards goals that I hope to achieve in my lifetime.
These are things I have been thinking about for a while, and I have so far composed a list of ten things that I would like to do before I leave this earth:
1) Travel to every continent in the world
Mark Twain once said,
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” (Twain, 1869).
It’s just so true. I want to experience all of the cultures, the beauty, the depravity, the virtues, and the wonder of the earth that we exist in. I want to do humanitarian work in Africa and the Middle East, visit historical and art museums in England and France, and live among the penguins in Antarctica. Ok, maybe not that third one, but you get what I mean.
2) Adopt an orphan
“But I thought you hated all the orphans in the whole world?”
“Not anymore. I like them.” –Nacho Libre
There are approximately 140 million orphans currently in the world (Worldwide Children, 2016). It seems absurd to me that anyone would be so selfish and ignorant as to make children of their own when there is such a dire need for these children to have parents. One of the reasons I would like to get married is so that my wife and I can provide a home and care to orphaned children from third world countries.
3) Publish an article in Maclean’s or The New Yorker
Those are my two favourite magazines. The writers for them are incredibly intelligent and talented people. I write and submit articles to publications all the time, but I never submit to these ones. I don’t feel worthy. I read them and I’m like, “holy crepe nuggets, I need to be able to write like that someday.”
4) Write a book
I love books so much. The other day I spent 4 hours at the “Chapters” in south Edmonton just reading through the American history section. In about ten years from now, I would like to write my first book. In the meantime, I want to become very knowledgeable in a variety of subject areas, and practice writing for several hours every day. I want it to be something ground breaking that serves to simultaneously educate and inspire. Ideally, something similar to my favourite book of all time, “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, but in a subject area that I am an expert in.
5) Get invited to lecture at a university
Some of the greatest moments of my life have been doing presentations to high school and college students. While I was living in United States, I got to speak lots to big crowds all over the south west, lead Bible studies, and go for dinner with intelligent and ambitious people. Many people told me that I should become a professor, and I was like, “whaaaaat?”. But then I realized something; the last three books I read were all written by professors. Many of my heroes, like James Nickel, R.B. Bennett, etc. are professors. I love teaching people things and doing research projects. The only potential flaw is, I also really want to be a lawyer and a journalist, so I may have to just be content with guest lecturing from time to time.
6) Change a law
There are a lot of laws that I think could be changed to better serve society. I think pornography producers should be forced to uphold laws that guarantee consent from their performers. I think abortion should be illegal, at least in the last two trimesters. I think the rights of prisoners to receive fair, equitable punishment with potential restorative solutions should be upheld during the duration of their sentence and upon release. I think the freedom to live out one’s religious values should be upheld, so long as it does not infringe on the fundamental rights of another individual.
I guess when I really think about it, there are a lot of laws that would be nice to change, which is why I need to study lots and be a great lawyer.
7) Get elected to public office
I was reading through the biography of Pierre Trudeau the other day (one of the most influential Prime Ministers of Canada in history), and I was like, “hmmm…I bet I could do that”. Except, even for me that seems a tad grandiose, so maybe just some smaller thing, like working in research and activism for a party that I support, like what James Laxer used to do for the NDP party. Or perhaps I could get elected onto the City Counsel at a city that I care about and want to see reach new heights as a dynamic, urban centre with positive, shared values.
8) Be a guest on a talk show
My favorite talk shows are “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”. They are both incredibly intelligent and hilarious people who offer excellent insight into certain issues. They also have great guests, and I would like to be one of them someday. But more likely, I will end up being on some local radio show in rural Ontario or something. But hey, I’ll take it.
9) Truly love my wife
According to Statistic Brain, about 41% of married couples admitted to some kind of infidelity at some point in their marriage (Infidelity Statistics, 2016). It might be higher than that, since those are only the ones who admitted to it. That is something that I understand people have a right to do, and I wouldn’t want to pass harsh judgement on them, but I personally find it to be a very awful thing to do. I would hate it if my wife cheated on me, but I think I would hate it even more if I cheated on my wife. I never want to do that to someone. And that includes looking at pornography, cheating while dating, or possibly, based on the advice from one of my good friends, having sex with someone else before you even meet your future wife.
I remember seeing a guy on “American Idol” who had a tragic back story. It was so good, the guy was pretty much automatically onto the next round even if he sang horribly. His wife was very beautiful when they married, but she got in a car accident, and was permanently paralyzed from the neck down, and her face was disfigured. He stayed married to her, and took care of her every day. I remember him saying, “I love her just as much now as the day we married.” I cried watching that, and I thought to myself, “that’s the kind of love that I would want to have for my wife someday.”
10) Never lose sight of what’s important
The pursuit and acquisition of fame and fortune are ok, but they are not things that I personally believe in or want to achieve for myself. The reason that I want my writing to be published or my speaking to be heard should never be with the goal of self-promotion, but rather of promoting ideas that are true and beneficial to people. Right now, if I were to say what I think is most important in life, it would be to serve God and others in everything that I do. That goal may change, who knows…but I want to live a life beyond myself no matter what. I don’t want to die and have everything my life was about just die with me. I want to inspire young people to think more about life and benefit from my ideas to continue making the world a better place.
I hope that this will inspire you to think about your own life and the goals that you aspire to. Just because society says that you’re supposed to do things a certain way doesn’t mean you have to. If you aren’t content with your life, change it! Think about the things you love and care about in life, and pursue them passionately.
Infidelity Statistics. (2016). Statistic Brain. Retrieved from https://www.statisticbrain.com/infidelity-statistics/
Lewis, C.S. (1952). Mere Christianity. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/6439-if-we-find-ourselves-with-a-desire-that-nothing-in
Twain, M. (1869). The Innocents Abroad. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/travel
Worldwide Children’s Statistics. (2016). SOS Children’s Villages USA. Retrieved from https://www.sos-usa.org/our-impact/childrens-statistics