Fuck the bucket list! (And fuck off to New Year’s resolutions!)

[Warning: If you haven’t guessed, there is swearing in this post. If that offends you, you may want to stop reading now.]

I’ve always bristled at any attempts to contain individuality. I don’t like labelling people. Once, when I was a student, I sent a boyfriend a long letter ranting about why I hated it when people approached dating and potential partners with a huge tick list (that’s “check list” in North American English). As you can imagine, he was a bit bemused.

The mere idea of trying to reduce a person to a list of traits gets my hackles up. I know that labels and details of humans and human behaviour can be useful for all sorts of things, like figuring out ways to help people. Labels are useful because they reduce something that is very complex to something that is graspable, quantifiable. Things that are impossible to pin down can be reduced to data that you can manipulate for your own purposes.

The problem is that anything viewed in quantifiable terms lends itself to being judged. This isn’t a problem if you’re a researcher, looking for ways to innovate, and you need data. But it can be a HUGE problem for anyone who is seeking to be a happy healthy human. Judging oneself (and consequently others) is short cut to misery.

So what does this have to do with bucket lists? Well, a bucket list is basically a way of quantifying experiences that your life has to include in order for you to feel most fulfilled. Well, fuck off to that. Whatever happened to enjoying the moment, and appreciating being alive, right NOW regardless of what the past has been like and what the future holds?

OF COURSE everyone has difficult experiences in their history. And OF COURSE we all want to experience wonderful, magical times in our future. But the only time that we are EVER alive is the present. And the only way we can experience the wonder and magic of being alive is if we pay attention to what is going on in our present, and participate in that. And the best way to participate in the present is to say FUCK OFF to judgements and agendas: stop judging yourself, judging others, judging life.

I say leave your agenda where it belongs (which is anywhere but in the present moment), and open yourself up to the infinite possibilities of each moment. Fuck the bucket list. And experience THIS moment to its fullest.

In fairness, I do like certain aspects of bucket lists. “What do I REALLY want to do?” is a GREAT question. And “What can I do with what I’ve got NOW, in a way that honours my desires, as well as the present moment? How can I stop making excuses for not doing NOW what I really want to do?” are more great questions.

It’s the “What do I really want to do BEFORE I DIE?” bit that pisses me off.

Anyway, a belated Happy New Year to you! I’d best be off now … to tackle something on my bucket list 😉


Want to be powerful? Here’s a clue.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again:

Being powerful is not about having power over others.

It’s about having power in yourself, so that whatever anyone else does, or whatever happens, you can be okay, ultimately.

Those whose power is dependent on having power over others and external circumstances, are the most disempowered of all. Because one can never truly have power over others and external circumstances.

I understand that this concept is rather abstract and perhaps difficult to apply. So let’s dig a bit deeper.

How does one find power within, become able to survive and thrive, whatever happens? I’d say, in short, this comes from learning to accept oneself, and owning everything about oneself, shamelessly and fearlessly.

This means being able to tolerate one’s bad feelings as well as good, accepting when one feels sad, angry, upset, jealous, insecure, psychotic, heartless, ashamed, afraid, stressed, or otherwise distressed. It means letting one feel whatever one feels, and not blaming those feelings on anyone or anything else. Simply owning those feelings, allowing those feelings, and not trying to get away from them or stop them.

I love how Louis CK puts it in THIS INTERVIEW WITH CONAN.  He says, “Y’know, underneath everything in your life, there’s that thing, that empty, forever-empty. You know what I’m talkin’ about?” And he goes on to tell about an experience he had, where he grappled with that feeling and came out on the other side, not just as a survivor, but empowered from having gone through all that.

It reminds me of Jacob wrestling with the stranger in the desert (who turns out to be God). Or Jesus going into the wilderness to be tested. He came out of the desert filled with power.

When we are tested, and we meet those tests, we become more powerful. And those tests are about sticking around when the going gets tough, and the toughest tests are about what is within ourselves.

So in conclusion, learn to accept yourself. Learn to feel your feelings. Be kind to yourself.

“Germany Incest Couple Loses Appeal”

Yesterday I happened upon this news.

Patrick Stuebing was sentenced to 3 years in prison for the crime of having sexual relations with his biological sister.

So, incest in Germany is a criminal offense, and on 12th April 2012 the European Court of Human Rights upheld Stuebing’s conviction and prison sentence.

I find this ruling disturbing.

Yes, you may shudder at the thought of siblings having a sexual relationship. You may feel repulsion or disgust.

But does it follow that two adults in a consensual sexual relationship should be imprisoned for their relationship, and their children taken away from them, because of their blood relationship? Is it right to treat those people that way? Really?

There has got to be a reason for something being a crime, something beyond, “It disgusts me.”

The argument for making incest a criminal offense is that children born of incest have a high probability of being born with disabilities.

So is it a crime to produce children if there’s a good chance they will be disabled? What if one person in the incestuous couple is sterile? Is it alright then?

Or what about people with hereditary genetic defects with a high probability of passing on those defects to offspring? Should they be convicted and sentenced if they have sex with the possibility of producing offspring?

What about women in their 40s? Or men above the age of 60?

Here’s another (and for me, more interesting) question:

Is it morally wrong to decide to have children if there is a good chance that your children will be born with disabilities?

This question is sneaky. The question presupposes so many things, for example, that getting pregnant or impregnating somebody involves a conscious decision to have a child. In a lot of cases, that’s simply not true. Look at Genghis Khan. He committed a lot of crimes, including rape and genocide. He also fathered a lot of children (without any particular intention of doing so).  I wouldn’t count his fathering children amongst his crimes, though obviously I would count the rape.

Anyway, I digress.

Back to the topic: it seems a lot of people actually believe that it’s morally wrong to bring a child into this world if that child is severely disabled.

It doesn’t take a genius to see why someone might not WANT to give birth to a severely disabled baby. Severe disabilities are challenging (yes, an understatement) for the disabled person and for carers and parents, and many people do not want to take on such a challenge.

But that doesn’t make the choice to do so morally wrong.

Or is it wrong because of the disabled child’s quality of life? In other words, that child would be better off dead?

Or is it wrong because of the impact the disabled child has on the people who have to care for him/her? The child somehow has a harmful effect on others?

In my experience, mentally or physically disabled people are not any more likely to hate their lives than people who are not disabled. And similarly, it is not somehow inherently worse to have someone in one’s life who is mentally or physically disabled. A disability does not define a person. It defines certain challenges for that person, not who they are. And we ALL have different challenges.

Every human being is immeasurably precious, and has infinite potential to positively impact others. It’s not for me to say who would be better off dead or alive, especially not before they’re even born! And it’s not for me to judge someone else’s decision to have a child.

I’m not saying that absolutely anything is okay, that others can do what they like with their lives and it’s all okay by me. It is not okay to hurt others. That’s an easy one to understand. This one is more subtle: it’s not okay to try to make other people’s decisions for them, or to punish others for not doing what you’d like. Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.

And it’s not okay to treat people as criminals for not conforming to society’s ideas of what is or is not repulsive.

So yeah … that’s what I think of this whole “Germany Incest Couple Loses Appeal” business, which has touched on so many sensitive issues for so many people …

I love you more …

LeeSun and KOToday, KO told me (as he often does), “I love you SO MUCH.”

I replied, “I love YOU so much.”

And he said, “I love you MORE.” He pulled himself up to his full metre-and-a-bit height and said fervently,

I love you even more than I CAN SAY
Even more than ONE MILLION
Even more than the ENTIRE outer space
Even if the planets were CAMOUFLAGED
More than the ENTIRE SUN … which is a BIG BALL OF FIRE
More than the ENTIRE WORLD

I love you MORE
Even more than YOURSELF
Even more than ANYTHING!

And then he paused, evidently thinking hard for some way to express how very much he loved me. And then he hit upon it. He said with conviction,

I love you EVEN MORE than YOU love HOT SAUCE Mama!

Well, I think that about sums it up. My boy 🙂