I’m sitting in an apartment in a new city, further from home than I think I’ve ever been before. The New Year has just passed, and then a second time…and in a few days I’ll celebrate it once more. There are big and positive changes going on at work, I’ve just put the final touches (for now) on a wonderful art project with Joanne, one of my two favorites Europeans, and it’s warm enough to wear short sleeves. Life is good to me!
All these goings-on have got me thinking. Retrospecting with my Retrospect-Ray Goggles. I’ve seen a lot of things in my day but I never cease to marvel at the world around me. For example, yesterday I saw a girl using her iPad as a placemat to rest her iPhone on while she played some iPhone game. It struck me as odd and perhaps a little…I don’t know what. Mostly I thought it was funny, but there’s part of me that would go on an anti-consumerist rant if I were a different person or a different writer. So we’ll just go with funny!
I think I’ve discovered why the frequency of my blog posts fluctuates so wildly. It’s because the blog, my writing, and I have all changed with time. I’ve been writing for what, a year and a half now? Originally, I started my blog as the most convenient way to keep in touch with friends and family back home. It was easier than sending dozens of individual emails and I could easily share photos online, as well! After the TLG blogs all blew up last October when links got published on a Georgian website, I must admit that I did some number chasing. Sure, I wrote to keep my family informed, but it was also shaded by my desire to see that little WordPress number-tracker shoot up after I published a post. As time marched forward (Aside: I once read a book called Time, Forward! For a 20th Century Russian Literature class. It’s a Socialist Realist Novel from the 1930s (40s?) about a cement mixing brigade and comes replete with a chaste comrade-to-comrade love story, a capitalist pig-dog who sees the error of his ways and immigrates to the USSR, and a heated competition to break the record for most barrels of cement mixed in an 8-hour shift. Gripping, truly.), I began to write for my friends. I wrote posts to make them laugh and smile or to bask in the memory of adventures passed.
Now, finally, I write for me. I write when I feel like it—I’m not beholden to any agenda or higher power. I write when I want to say something. Sure, most of the time that’ll still be the same type of writing everyone’s used to. I’ve got plans to write about Trabzon and my New Years Trifecta, and My recent adventures. But maybe once in a blue moon, you’ll get a nice introspective post like this one. Maybe no one likes this kind of post, but you know what? I don’t care. I’m writing for me now!
So today I’m going to tell you about some of my Pipe Dreams. This is kind of personal stuff, my friends! But why not? I’ve written some 120-odd posts and probably hundreds upon hundreds of pages of text. The faithful among you probably know me pretty well already!
Now keep in mind, these are Pipe Dreams. Some of them are very likely unattainable—or at least there is little I can do to achieve them. Some are more within my grasp. Maybe “Pipe Dream” is not the right word for those goals, but let me tell you, if I accomplish something that I previously referred to as a “Pipe Dream,” it just makes me feel that much more remarkable! And now that I’m writing for me, I might as well write myself into the most remarkable me I can be! (Also, this is not a bucketlist. Or at least I think it’s not. I could be wrong—I never saw the movie.)
- Live to the ripe old age of 113.
- Why 113? It’s such a random number! Well I can tell you I don’t have a thing for prime numbers. This pipe dream is the public face of the more hidden pipe dream of living in three centuries. Having been born in 1987, if I can make it to my 113th birthday then I will have spent some time in the 20th, 21st, and 22nd centuries! How nuts is that!? And yes, I realize that I could do this and only be 112. But living until 113 guarantees that I see the 22nd century. Trust me. I’ve put a lot of thought into this one.
- Become a modern Renaissance Man.
- This involves a bunch of creative endeavors. I have lots of creative energy, but little focus. I compensate for this by using the term “Renaissance Man” as an excuse for my inability to settle on one or two goals. Here’s what it means in this context:
i. Write a book. More than one, in fact. I’d like to write a well-regarded work of History and I’m also piqued by the idea of writing a novel. So, I want to write at least one of each.
ii. Write a movie. So many ideas for this one! Mostly historical non-fiction, actually. History is so full of good stories that you hardly need to embellish it! Just put it to film and you’ve got yourself some quality stuff, my friend! In the mean time, I sate my dream by making music videos.
iii. Be in a band. This would be super fun and maybe it’ll happen sometime soon! I’ll keep you posted. I’m certainly the least musically talented Nuzzi—no contest there. But talent or no, I still enjoy music. And isn’t that what it’s really about? No? It’s about talent? Okay, well I bet I can still whip something together to have a band in Georgia!
iv. Make a video game. So one of my nerd secrets that you may not have picked up on from this blog so far is that I do really enjoy video games. I think they’re a fascinating medium for storytelling and for technological razzle-dazzle (I care more about the former than the latter). Having played my share of games over the years, I couldn’t help but come up with ideas of my own. In fact, I’ve even started pseudo developing several with the help of friends. Every boring, lonesome, rainy day my mind wanders to the unfinished project on my external harddrive and I vow to complete it. But alas, it is a pipe dream.
- Get a Ph.D.
- Ahh! Finally, something I can reasonably achieve! I fancy myself pretty good at learnin’. I hope some admissions departments fancy me thus as well! I’ve recently sent in my second attempt of Ph.D. applications and I’m trying not to think about them because there is nothing I can do to increase my chances at this point. What’s worse than that is the economy! I get a little anxious thinking about the level of competition I’m facing. And I’m not just competing against Russianists, like one might imagine. No, I’m competing against Anyone who wants to get a Ph.D. Belts are so tight that schools can only bring in a fraction of their usual numbers of grad students. Michigan, to take an extreme example, kindly informed me that “We are sorry, but we will not be accepting any new History Ph.D. students for Fall 2012.” NONE. Doesn’t matter how good I am or how well put-together my application materials are. I’m competing against the recession.
- Go to the Moon.
- I’ve just gotta sit tight and hope I don’t die (see Pipe Dream #1) before this becomes feasible and within my means. I mean, twelve guys have done it ever. And that was 40 years ago. I really like the moon. People must think I’m nuts or high when I stop them mid-conversation to point out something like, “Look at the moon! It’s so big and just think, it’s right out there! Floating in space! You can see it just hanging out up there, going around us. How nuts is that!?” Most of the time I lose them at that point. Sometimes, though, oh sometimes! Sometimes I announce such musings to a fellow moon enthusiast (Moonthusiast? That sounds like some sort of legendary Greek or Biblical name! Like Methusela or Wenceslas or Mauna Loa). Those are the best nights.
- Tell tall tales about the 20thcentury.
- Again this is related to longevity. When I’m a crotchety old man and one of the few left who can remember the 20th century, I’m going to tell people outrageous lies about it. Yes, that ruins my credibility as a historian, but you know what? When I’m that old, I won’t care. I’ll tell my hypothetical grandkids about how great it was when the first telephone was invented and how Vice President Al Gore came up with the internet and how “Back in my day I had to swim through a crocodile-infested river to get to work. And I worked in a gold mine for the King!” I’ll show them any scars I’ve accumulated by then and tell fantastic stories of fighting space aliens on my trip to the Moon and getting slashed across the knee by an enraged Somali pirate named Black Beard. And they’ll eat it up! I know that as a kid I ate up my dad’s story of the time he and Nanny went to the sun in a silver spaceship. It’ll be awesome.
- Circumnavigate the Earth.
- A member of my immediate family has crossed every Longitude. As of today, actually. I bridged the gap between mine and my sister’s travels. I want to do it all myself. And all in one go. I want to physically move from one place, to that same place, by going all the way around the earth. There are a bunch of ways of doing this, some easier than others. Three ideas have struck me so far. The first, and easiest, is to return to America by crossing the Pacific Ocean when I finish living in Georgia, whenever that may be. That would do the trick. More excitingly, I could arrange for a long vacation that takes me to several far-flung places in a round-the-world sequence. I could do it in 80 days, or more, or less. I don’t mind either way. The final way is to really see the world I’m circumnavigating. This trip got some extensive planning a few years back. Fly to Lisbon or Paris and hop on the Eurorail to Moscow (leisurely). From Moscow, head out along the TransSiberian Railway to Beijing, stopping part way to visit the Mongols. Do a little puddle jumping through Seoul and Tokyo before flying across the Ocean to Vancouver from whence I would take the Canadian Pacific Railroad to Montreal or Quebec City (We watched a video about it in sixth grade during our Canada unit and it has stuck with me ever since!). An easy bus ride from there brings me right home! Piece o’ cake! I even estimated the costs. Conservatively, I could probably do it on $6,000! $10k is more likely, though. So if any philanthropists are reading this, you know how to reach me!
- Ride the TransSiberian Railway (See above).
- A cheaper, more achievable version of that goal is to ride the TransSiberian Railway. It would be such an adventure and as long as me and Woody Harrelson stay away from devious Spaniards, Heroin Matryoshkas, and Ben Kingsley, we should be fine!
- Become truly fluent in a foreign language.
- Yeah, I “know” French and I can “speak” Russian and “understand” Georgian, but none of them do I really feel fluent in. I wager that if I spent some time in France I could get there pretty fast. Unlike Russian and Georgian I have ten years of formal French instruction (which I did quite well at!) and so picking up what I’ve lost/never knew would be less challenging than in Russia or Georgia. That said, I still love to improve my Russian and my Georgian. I just want to really, really get there in a foreign language.
- Have a Biography written about me.
- Maybe there’s a bit of a narcissist in me. Isn’t there one in everyone? I want to have done something notable enough that someone wants to write about me. And then I want people to read about me! Basically, I think I’m the shit and I think other people should too!
- Die Happy.
- Oh, this one’s a shoe-in.
So, in conclusion, there’s my shortlist of penultimate goals. I might have had a witty, pithy ending, but I took a day and a half break between this sentence and the previous one. Oops!