To mark the upcoming release of her first book, 18 Things, Jamie Ayres is hosting an 18 Things Blogfest, ongoing through the book’s release date, 24 January. She’s partnered with a lot of people in the writing community to give away a total of 18 prizes to anyone who signs up. Participants don’t need a blog, but can participate via Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. All one has to do is post up to 18 things on one’s bucket list.
I’m going with 18, because 18 is considered a very lucky number in Jewish tradition. The two letters of the word chai, life, add up to 18 in gematriya, mystical Judaic numerology. It’s considered lucky to give charity in multiples of 18, and there are 18 blessings in the Amidah, the long central prayer of the daily service.
1. While I realize the ship has in all likelihood sailed on me having a big family, I’d like to have at least one child before I’m 40. I never dreamt I’d be unmarried and childfree nearly this long, but obviously Hashem (God) had other plans for me. Any child I have will be appreciated even more because I had to wait so long for it. (Just so long as my recurring dream of having quads doesn’t come true!)
2. Even though I’m going back to school for my master’s in information science (i.e., library studies), I’d love to someday get a doctorate in Russian history, with a specialization in GULAG and the Stalin era. Yeah, it’s obvious why my calling is for long, serious historical sagas and not contemporary stories!
3. I’d love to finally travel to Russia someday so I can see all these places I’ve written and read about.
4. I’ve wanted to visit Australia since I was in second grade. At one point, I even wanted to move there.
5. I’d love to finally attain complete fluency in Russian and German. I’d also love fluency in Hebrew.
6. I’ve taught myself the Armenian alphabet about three times now, but I always have to relearn it because I stop practicing and don’t get a chance to use it. I read Russian and Hebrew all the time, so they’ve remained current in my brain, but I don’t exactly get a chance to keep Armenian fresh in my memory.
7. I’d love a trip around Europe, so I can see all of these countries I’ve read and written about for so long—Hungary, Germany, Holland, Italy, France, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, England, Ireland, so many places.
8. I’d love to go to Japan. Years ago, I taught myself a bit of Japanese through an instructional program on public tv and through a teach-yourself book with vocabulary stickers. At one point, I even knew how to read a few Japanese characters.
9. I’ll always regret not having written to my favorite writer, Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, of blessèd memory, while he was still living. I assumed he’d live to at least 100. The second-best thing now is to visit his grave in Russia and pay my respects in person.
10. I would love to go to Hawaii.
11. Since childhood, I’ve dreamt about someday having my own little farm. It would just be a humble little hobby farm, small or mid-sized, and not a meat farm at all.
12. I’d love to go to India.
13. It was once my dream to be a veterinarian, but that ship has sailed. I’d need too many science courses (hasn’t been my strong suit in years), and I personally couldn’t put an animal down. The next-best thing would be to acquire like my own miniature zoo—lizards, dogs, cats, turtles, tortoises, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses, frogs, toads, tarantulas, birds, fish, pigs, you name it. Even at my age, I have a whole menagerie of stuffed animals of all sorts. The king of my jungle is my gigantic stuffed frog Simon, who literally takes up half my bed and is almost as big as I am. He’s so cute, soft, and cuddly.
14. This is a really, really, really long shot, but I really still believe we’ll see some sort of civilian space settlement in my lifetime. Even though my first real memory of a historical event was the explosion of the Challenger, that hasn’t frightened me out of wanting to go into space someday.
15. This is also a long shot, but I used to want to be the first female president. The first election I’ll be old enough to run in is 2016. I know I’d never make it past the primaries, with my complete lack of political experience, but at least it’s worth a shot.
16. I would like a relationship with a healthy, normal man, not someone with enough issues to keep several types of therapists in business for their entire careers. I also want a man who knows how do more than just closed-mouth, five-second kisses.
17. I’d like to trace my family genealogy back as far as possible. By pure luck, I discovered that one branch of my family tree (my nine-greats-grandpap) arrived in Colonial America in the 1640s. I’d love to find similar exciting discoveries among the other branches.
18. Last but not least, I’d love to have my books traditionally published, even with the uphill battle against historical sagas these days. My dream is to win the Nobel Prize in Literature just like my two favorite writers.
What’s on your bucket list?