When I was 15 years old, I ran away from home simply because I was angry off at my parents for a purpose I can’t remember. I didn’t have much money, so I made the decision to hop onto the sky train and ride it as far as it would go. I arrived at the end of the line in less then an hour, and chose I wanted to ride it all the way back again, while seeking to formulate some kind of plan of how I desired to live the rest of my life without my parents or anyone.
At the last stop, or the first stop based upon on your viewpoint of it, a girl came on and sat in the row right regarding me. I didn’t pay much interest to her at first, as I was busy composing my life plan on a napkin. It was a few minutes later that she got up and came sat next to me, curious as to what I was writing. I told her the story, and after a few laughs, we started off talking about anything and everything.
Her name was Amanda, 17 years old, and definitely amazing.
She told me she was obtaining off at the last stop, which was also the first stop, based upon on how you look at it. It was also the stop I had gotten on initially, and I told her we would ride to it jointly. The train ride took less then an hour, and what an amazing hour certainly.
When the last stop did come, we both knew we probably wouldn’t see each other ever again. As we got to the end of the street which split in two various directions, she went right and I went left.
Prior to saying goodbye she turned to me and asked me a query that has become a wonderful part of my life; she asked me:
“Tell me something you have done, or want to do, that you think I should do? It can be anything, as challenging as you want it to be, or as easy. As long as you give me the rest of my life to complete it, I promise I will do it…”
I was puzzled as to why, but I imagined about it, and told her, “Sing a song acapella in a room full of strangers.” She said ideal and asked me if I would like a task as well. I told her I did, and she told me, “read, from start to finish, “Ulysses” by James Joyce.” I had never heard of it at the time, but I agreed, and we said our goodbyes.
I have an awful storage, and can’t keep in mind most discussions I have with most people. But I keep in mind all of that clearly. You know why?
Because of the challenge she gave me.
In the 12 years that have past since, I have tried to read that book in over 150 various sittings. Every time I open my copy of the 780 page monster of a book, I always think of her, and I always think of that day. Vie never been sure if it was her purpose or not, but she left her long lasting memory on me with that task. I soon after learned what she did, was a completely amazing and awesome factor for me. So I decided to keep it going.
I’ve met a lot of unknown people in my life; some that have become buddies, and some, due to living in various time zones and whatnot, didn’t. I don’t want to just have encounters and then let them go. I want to remember these meetings, and accept the fact that they happened.
So whenever I leave somebody who has left an amazing effect of my life, I always make sure to add them to my Ulysses Bucket List.
I ask them to give me a difficult task, as challenging or as easy as they want it to be, and no matter of the fact that they have done it or not; simply anything their heart has had at one point or a different, to do.
Some have been easy and fun;
1. I met a man in India 9 years ago who told me to, for a week or a month, cook/buy twice as much food as I plan on eating, and give the other half to a unfamiliar person in need. I finished that mission 8 years ago, and imagined about that man and the time we had all the way through.
2. I met a girl on a cruise 6 years ago, who told me to jump into a body of water on a slightly cold day, without touching or experiencing the temperature of the water first. I did that the very same year.
3. And some factors have had a long term impact on my daily life. I met a girl burning man, who told me that anytime I get mad at someone, walk away, sing my happy song in my head for 5 minutes, go back to the individual I’m mad at with a clam heart and mind, and work things out.
I’ve made this my way of life.
There are many others that each introduced joy to my life. There are still many tasks I have yet to achieve, and every time I think of these tasks, I think of the people that gave them to me. It amazes me how well I remember all these people, while I can’t remember so many aspects of even yesterday. These experiences, not only do I take from them a “mission” or a “challenge,” but I also take from them a memory of them that never fails to appear inside of my mind.
I opened my Ulysses book for probably the 300th time yesterday, and read a few pages, which prompted me to share this story with you today. I’m in the final 30 pages of the book, also known as the most dreaded part of the read.
I never saw Amanda after that day, nor do I know if she ever did get a chance to sing a song to a room full of strangers.
But what I do know is that she gave me a gift that has never once stopped giving. So wherever you may be, thank you for giving me the Ulysses Bucket List. And I swear I’ll finish it one day.