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Tuesday, October 22

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Bucket List Mon Dec 31 2012

My Chicago Bucket List: Applying to Grad School & the Rest of my Unfinished Bucket List

Previous Entry: Gambling and Hangovers aka My Wednesday of Powerball and Dating

Numbers 2, 10, 19 and most importantly number 25: Apply to PhD programs you chicken shit!

I did not finish the bucket list. Not even close. In fact, although I added eight random things to my original list of 25, I didn't get to 10 of my original to-do's.

And I think I'm kind of OK with that, which is kind of amazing given what an insane type-A, control-freaky-type, check-every-box kind of gal I was coming into 2012. But the thing about a bucket list is it kind of gives life some perspective.

In 2012, I learned that despite all my lists, I can't do everything or be everything. But I can do and be what is most important to me, what I choose to be. And in 2012 that turned out to be writing, facing fears, doing scary shit and the combination of all those: applying to a PhD program.

Getting my doctorate has always been this thing I wanted to do, not as a whim or a passing dream but at my core it is what I felt like I should be doing, what my purpose is in this little life. Like when I'm aimlessly wandering the streets of Chicago with my over-sweetened Dunkin Donuts coffee, my mind wanders to images of published books with boring jargony titles, lecture halls filled with hung-over freshmen and tweed jackets with patches on the elbows. But a PhD just seemed so... idealistic... and impractical... and well... for people with higher IQs and less social skills.

But this year something clicked. After having my first article printed in the RedEye and then dancing in front of 750 people at Park West, impossible things began to seem like the everyday. So I began to research schools and programs and think about what I would really want to study if I had to dedicate six years of my life to studying one subject. And then I found the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and a group of amazing professors studying the effect of pornography on society.

submit.JPGToday I submitted my application (and more importantly the $55 application fee) to study pornography for the next six years of my life. There was something in pressing submit that made this entire year of the bucket list make sense, like in a way I had to go to the Green Mill and stand on my head and eat a venison dog at Hot Doug's and volunteer with kids and see my name in print, before I could get to this moment of submission; like all these random silly or scary things on my bucket list add up to the sum total of courage needed to hit submit.

Not that that really makes sense, nor really adds up to anything, nor was this some sort of equations I could have figured out NYE 2012. And definitely not that I know something more about the sum total of my life will look like next NYE.

Making bucket lists is probably the opposite of finishing something. For my 2012, it was the beginning of a life with less checked boxes and more possibilities.

Four years ago I had one thing on my bucket list: move to Chicago and start my life. Check. With the luck of the grad school gods, this will be my last year in our fair city. For my last year in ChiTown, I still have 10 amazingly Chicago things to do including:

1. Go to Porn and Chicken on Monday night at Evil Olive.
2. Recommit to my hippy ways for a night at the Full Moon Fire Jam.
3. Do something purely touristy: kiss on top of the Ferris wheel at navy peer, skate at Millennium Park, buy a $26 drink at the Signature Room.
4. Geek out at a taping of "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me." I would like to finally embrace my "I heard on NPR" yuppy self and possibly touch Mo Rocca.
5. Host a workshop about sex for young women.
6. Turtle Races at Joe's.
7. Attend a Chicago Ladies' Arm Wrestling event.
8. See a stupid Cubs game because I live in Chicago.
9. Spend a day in Pilsen.
10. Find my favorite Chicago band and see them in concert.

Who knows what this next year will bring, but I know I've got a list full of potential, which is better than any checked list imaginable.

Happy New Year Folks; may your bucket list never be finished!

My 2012 Unfinished Haphazard List
1. See my name printed in black and white byline; there is nothing better in this world than having your writing printed in a tangible format you can physically mail to your mother.
2. Watch the Star Wars series, preferably all in one sitting, and preferably while still wearing my pajamas.
3. Have a moment of wholehearted living.
4. Go to Porn and Chicken on Monday night at Evil Olive
5. Fall in love, preferably with someone lovely and fluffy who is already neutered and declawed.
6. Gamble on something.
7. Dance even though 700 people are watching; ever since I was rejected from my middle school show choir, I've had a fear of dancing in public. This year I'm conquering that fear by participating in Fear Experiment Three. After three months of what I can only assume with be torturous dance practice, my troupe of non-dancers and I will perform at Park West in front of 700 people. Yes I am insane.
8. Stand on my head.
9. Recommit to my hippy ways for a night at the Full Moon Fire Jam.
10. Never say no to a food fest: oyster fest, rib fest, burger fest; there are no weight loss resolutions here.
11. Volunteer, preferably with cute kids.
12. Do something purely touristy: kiss on top of the Ferris wheel at navy peer, skate at Millenium Park, buy a $26 drink at the Signature Room.
13. Geek out at a taping of "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me." I would like to finally embrace my "I heard on NPR" yuppy self and possibly touch Mo Rocca.
14. Host a workshop about sex for young women.
15. Go home by 2am unless the late night destination is Green Mill; then go and jive hard.
16. Turtle Races at Joe's.
17. Attend a Ladies' Arm Wrestling event.
18. Send my Grandma more pictures of Chicago. She may think the Internet is evil but she still loves the "big city." In the '30s, she traveled down to Chicago all the way from Antigo, Wis. to meet her finance before he left for training. Her 92-year-old eyes still light up when she talks about the thrill of riding the el.
19. Hit up every brewery/liquor tour in the city: Koval, Half Acre, Revolution. Because a Wisconsin girl can never sample enough beer.
20. See a stupid Cubs game because I live in Chicago.
21. Spend a day in Pilsen.
22. Take my mom to a few places mentioned on Food Network including: Kuma's Corner, Honky Tonk Barbeque, and Hot Doug's so that she stops texting me asking me if I have been to these places and if they are in "good" neighborhoods.
23. Go to Logan Square and don't make a hipster joke, not even in my head.
24. Find my favorite Chicago band and see them in concert. Spoiler alert: it's not going to be Wilco.
25. Apply to PhD programs you chicken shit.
26. Dye hair red.
27. Go to a singles event, because being awkward never killed anyone outright.
28. Take a self-defense class.
29. Go to Logan Square and don't make fun of hipsters.
30. Be silly and embrace the 2nd City art form, aka one night of Improv.
31. Ride a bike in the city and try to not die or be permanently damaged.
32. Run three consecutive miles without walking, faking a leg cramp or throwing up.
33. Make a movie, face more fears and become everything I am.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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