Thanks to "Dick" — my next-door neighbor’s self-chosen pseudonym — for inspiration yet again.

I’ve long admired how Dick lives so much of his life in flow in his garden, in his Halloween decorations, in his back yard crafts. He’s always alive, producing evidence of triumph.

I catch glimpses of Dick’s creative industriousness from the corner of my eye — or the upstairs window. Just glimpses, mind you. He deserves his privacy, even if his artist’s studio is outside. Whenever I’ve spotted Dick, I don’t want to break his concentration and interrupt his flow.

This week, Dick showed me his list of goals. It is five pages, single-spaced and color-coded (to indicate levels of completeness). Far-off destinations, awards to win, movies to see — the entire dramatic works of Wm. Shakespeare to see performed — and so on.

Dick said the list is modeled on the Life List by John Goddard, the self-proclaimed "world’s greatest goal achiever" who wrote a list of 127 ambitious goals when he was 15 years old. He has nearly completed them.

So How’s My Summer List Looking?
Loyal readers of Net Cotton Content will remember my list of nine goals for this summer.

Here’s an update, while there is still time to complete the list:

  1. How to teach teenagers.
    Status: Completed. I taught a course in creativity for high schoolers. They taught me plenty.
  2. How to ride Amtrak across the country.
    Status: Failure. We cheaped out. This summer, I visited Indianapolis, the eastern shore of Virginia, Fallingwater, Xenia, Yellow Springs, Morgantown, Cleveland, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Great traveling, but not Amtrak coast-to-coast. Next year?
  3. How to collaborate in the theatre.
    Status: Completed. Our Town. (I lost my temper only once. But, then, thousands of dollars were raised for charity.)
  4. How to better teach the Ethics of Speech, Creativity, and

    Status: Improvement. Still more to do. But big gains in graphics and presentation skills.
  5. How to read well enough to hear the protagonist’s heartbeat.
    Status: Improvement. I’ve read more fiction this summer than ever before.
  6. How to fix a flat tire on a bicycle.
    Status: Completed. Twice.
  7. How to park without scraping the tires against the curb.
    Status: Improvement. (But, really, who cares?)
  8. How to be a better friend.
    Status: Improvement. I’ve been studying people who are good friends to me. I have adopted some of their behaviors.
  9. How to listen better.
    Status: Improvement. This appears to involve my talking less. I’m doing some of that.

What’s On Your Life List?
Or your running-out-of-summer list?