Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner


Originally posted on May 5, 2011

Revising my “bucket list”—i.e., the things I want to do before I kick the bucket. Here’s how I think about it. Let’s say there are a thousand things I might do, and let’s plot them on a spectrum from 1 for things I hate to do to 100 for things I love to do. Most would be in the middle, so it would look more like a sort of bell-shaped statistical curve.

Let’s recognize that at the lower end, from things that would rank from 1-150, I’d pay good money not to do them! For activities ranking 150-300, I might not pay much money, but I’d still try to avoid them. I would pay someone a little and delegate what I couldn’t get away with just ignoring. For items ranking from 300 – 600, I’m sort of neutral. If dragged along, I’d smile weakly, but basically be indifferent. Some family visits are like this, more duty than enjoyment. Various other activities.

On the scale of 600-1000 I might like to do these activities, but realistically, or in terms of affording it, I can’t fit them all in. Let’s see, for items scoring 600 – 700, these might be fun but if they would require any investment in building skills and expending energy, nah. It’s still fairly weak of a whim.  Now for activities that score between 700-800, we have a higher line-ride ratio. That’s the ratio of how long you’d be willing to wait in line at a Disneyland ride for how much fun the ride is. Depends on how tired you are, how cold or hot it is, how many kids around or, worse, you’re carrying, if you need to go to the bathroom, etc. Price / payoff. And up it, for the next rank, 800-900, lower ratio, more fun, less stress; more desirable.

Add to this the growing realization that time is limited and it seems that a fair number of activities that rank between 600 – 940 are in fact distractions in that their pursuit would distract me from the top 60 things I want to do. Of course, some distractions involve a necessary advantage / disadvantage ratio; others have a low ratio. For example, for me, watching television yields a good deal of wasted time or annoyance in proportion to the sense that this is really worth it. It offers a higher number of dumb or lame or annoying elements, including time spent on commercials, for meaty stuff that I could say, "gee, I’m glad I didn’t miss that."

Some skits on Saturday Night Live used to be very delightful, a new form of parody, comic strip. Now they’re on the edge of lame, just don’t have the snap and fun. Some of this might be them, some might be that the novelty has worn off. Indeed, most movies and television has for me moved into the column of almost-annoying distraction. Much media now takes on edgy elements, bitter-sweet, they call it, but for me it introduces a lot of painfully negative elements!

Indeed, I’ve cut back on my priority list as I have grown older. I feel that if I could finish half the projects I have set out for myself I’d die happy. But that list is now less than a score or more.  In another blog I’ll note that list of my priorities.

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