The Ulysses Bucket List

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yoinkie (@yoinkie)    1 year, 7 months ago

When I was 15 years old, I ran away from home because I was pissed off at my parents for a reason I cant remember. I didnt have much money, so I decided to hop onto the skytrain(public transport train in British Columbia) and ride it as far as it would go. I reached the end of the line in less then an hour, and decided I wanted to ride it all the way back again, while trying to formulate some kind of plan of how I wanted to live the rest of my life without my parents or anyone.

At the last stop, or the first stop depending on your perspective of it, a girl came on and sat in the row right behind me. I didnt pay much attention to her at first, as I was busy writing 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 began talking about everything and anything. Her name was Amanda, 17 years old, and absolutely wonderful. She told me she was getting off at the last stop, which was also the first stop, depending on how you look at it. It was also the stop I had gotten on originally, and I told her we would ride to it together. The train ride took less then an hour, and what a wonderful hour indeed.

When the last stop did come, we both knew we probably wouldnt see each other ever again(this was before the days of cellphones, and I was a shy little kid afraid to make moves). As we got to the end of the sidewalk which split in two different directions, she went right and I went left. Before saying goodbye she turned to me and asked me a question 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 confused as to why, but I thought about it, and told her, “Sing a song acapella in a room full of strangers.” She said perfect and asked me if I would like a challenge 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 a awful memory, and cant remember most conversations I have with most people. But I remember 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 different sittings. Everytime I open my copy of the 780 page monster of a book, I always think of her, and I always think of that day. Ive never been sure if it was her intent or not, but she left her lasting memory on me with that challenge. I soon after learned what she did, was a completey wonderful and amazing thing for me. So I decided to keep it going.

Ive met a lot of strangers in my life; some that have become friends, and some, due to living in different time zones and whatnot, didnt. I dont want to just have experiences and then let them go. I want to remember these meetings, and embrace the fact that they happened. So whenever I leave someone who has left an amazing impact of my life, I always make sure to add them to my Ulysses Bucket List. I ask them to give me a challenge, as difficult or as easy as they want it to be, and regardless of the fact that they have done it or not; simply something their heart has had at one point or another, to do.

Some have been easy and fun; 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 intend on eating, and give the other half to a stranger in need. I completed that mission 8 years ago, and thought about that man and the time we had all the way through. 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 feeling the temperature of the water first. I did that the very same year. I met a couple at an outdoor music festival a few years ago that told me to wear the most bizarre outfit imaginable and walk through a public place, completely oblivious to the fact that you arent looking normal. I did that task the very next day, at the same festival.

Some have been difficult, to say the least: three guys I met in Amsterdam and smoked all night with, told me to go to a mall and give 10 strangers 10 presents. That one took a lot of courage, but I did it a year or so after I met them. It was nerve racking, but at the same time exhilerating leaving my comfort zone. A girl I met on a plane told me to sky dive; Im still in the process of getting that done. A couple I met in Cali on the beach told me to tell the 5 people I hated the most, that I love them and respect them. That one was very difficult because of my stubborness, but ive come close to completing that list many a times(still in the process, 2 more people to go).

And some things, have had an everlasting impact on my daily life. I met a girl burning man, who told me that whenever I get mad at someone, walk away, sing my happy song in my head for 5 minutes, go back to the person im mad at with a clam heart and mind, and work things out. Ive made this my way of life. I once met a man at a gym in a hotel I was staying at, that told me “whenever your body and brain tells your that you are exhausted and done…use your heart instead and push out 2 more reps.” Ive made this my motto when working out or working on any kind of extrenuating exercise in which my body demands me to quit. I also use it while working on anything, and while studying. One of the best pieces of advice ive ever received.

There are many others that each brought joy to my life. There are still many tasks I have yet to accomplish, and everytime 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 cant remember so many aspects of even yesterday. These experiences, not only do I take from them a “mission” or a “challenge”, 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. Im in the final 30 pages of the book, also known as the most dreaded of the read(in the last 40 pages or so, James Joyce doesnt use a single punctuation mark; no periods, no commas, no nothing; a straight 50 page run-on sentence).

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.

28 votes, posted 11.27.2012 at 9:03 pm
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kaygee (@kyleeg)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie this was an incredible story and i thank you for sharing it, it’s absolutely beautiful and a great way for people to give to one another!

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VernalSoul (@vernalsoul)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie, I find my calloused self questioning if this is even true, but then I don’t give a shit, because it’s so beautiful, and inspired me more than anything else I’ve read since joining this site. I’m going to start asking that question, and I hope to see it open my life up in beautiful ways, which I’m convinced that it will.

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yoinkie (@yoinkie)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@kyleeg, thank you for reading. And to continue the tradition…

@kyleeg, and whoever else would like to join…what is something you have done, or want to do, that you think I should do? It can be as challenging or as easy as you want. As long as you pronise to give me the rest of my life to complete it, I promise you I will try my best to get it done. And in return, I will you your very own ulysses bucket list.

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ELizard (@heavydreamz)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie, beautiful

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yoinkie (@yoinkie)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@vernalsoul, my mom gave me the best addition to my ulysses list. She told me, “live a remarkable life that one day you will look back and be proud that you lived it.” I just hope that when that day comes, I can smile.

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ELizard (@heavydreamz)1 year, 7 months ago ago

I challenge you to return challenges @yoinkie,

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VernalSoul (@vernalsoul)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie, I’m an avid quote collector, and that has been a challenge that’s come to me many times from that [: I check myself weekly or so on that, not that i’m happy, but that i’m satisfied with what i’ve done, and that when I look back I smile. I’ve been doing that for a year or two, and damn, does it make a difference. I’m smiling right now just thinking about it [:

and I think you should only ask that question to people in person, not a site where a bunch of random people will tell you shit to do. But of course, that’s not my call :P

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yoinkie (@yoinkie)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@heavydreamz, accepted! I challenge you, @heavydreamz, for a day or a week(your choice) take the filter completely off your thankfulness meter. If you think someone is funny, tell them they are. If you like a strangers style, tell them. Every single person you love, tell them you love them randomly, without expecting anything back. Even if you think you like them and maybe not love them yet, fuck it, tell them you love them anyways. It wont hurt.

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Anonymous (@)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie, Holy crap that was an amazing story

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kaygee (@kyleeg)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie when i was leaving walmart the other day, i asked an older couple if they needed help with their groceries. they were both walking very slow and looked like they had difficulty carrying their bags. the old man turned to me and smiled, he refused my help but said i was so sweet for asking. so that is my challenge to you- offer help to a stranger, in any way, if they look like they may need it. so i am very excited to hear the challenge i can receive in return :)

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Flynnstone (@flynnstone)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie, This is so great. I love those friends you make for five minutes, or a day, or an hour and usually never see again. I think about them sometimes and wonder where they are now. Good luck with your list :)

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ryan (@highday)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie, wow, this left me pondering my own life for quite some time. Thank you so much for posting this, exactlt what I needed. And I tried reading ulysses a couple of times, I knowwhat you mean by a tough read.

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Taylor- Ann Battiste (@taylordacreator)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie, This is the most interesting post i’ve seen since i joined this website! If you don’t mind, do you think you could give me a challenge? I’m having a shit day and doing something random and exhilerating is exactly what I need.

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yoinkie (@yoinkie)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@highday, yea the book is definetely not for most people, but I see why so many people hold it in such high regard. Its not really a novel, more like a thought experiment that we get to read along.

@taylordacreator, I’m glad you enjoyed it! and yes. I want you to drive out of your town or city, at night, and keep driving until you come to a place where the stars arent polluted by the light. I want you to find a spot, and lay there until your mind is no longer cluttered by the thoughts of the day, and instead finds peace from the stars above. You can go by yourself or you can go with a friend. You can lay there and do nothing, or lay there and smoke or drink or whatever pleases your heart. Just dont leave until the problems of your days are put into perspective compared to the grand scale of things. And when you are done, pick up your favorite food on the way home and enjoy the rest of your night.

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Taylor- Ann Battiste (@taylordacreator)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie, I use to do that all the time during the summer with a really good friend. We’d lay there until we saw the sun starting to come up. It’s an amazing feeling, especially if you share it with a significant other! I plan on doing it again, however, by myself. And this will be the first thing on my official bucket list. Thanks!

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Ellie (@tangledupinplaid21)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie, I love you. :)

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yoinkie (@yoinkie)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@taylordacreator, Its a special time. For me especially because I live in downtown of a big city, where I only get to see a handful of stars any given night. Getting out into the roads less travelled really opens up the door to the universe. Seeing a dull light polluted sky, only makes you feel like the earth has a fence around it. Being among the billions of stars without light pollution makes you feel like you truly are a part of them.

@tangledupinplaid21, I love you too! YEEHAW!

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twitwi (@twitwi)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie, Wow, very inspirational. I plan on doing this as often as possible. Thank you for sharing.

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yoinkie (@yoinkie)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@kyleeg, I took your challenge! Today I had to go to the laundromat because mine was broken. Anyway I was reading my book “Slauther house five” for the third time while waiting. When my laundry was done, in my haste I forgot my book sitting in the waiting area while I left. I remembered it when I got into my car, and when I returned I saw a stranger(Who looked down on his luck) reading the back cover. I excused myself to him and picked it up, and he said “Looks like an interesting book.” Keeping you in mind, I told him that he could borrow it. He said he couldnt, but I told him I had already read it, and hopefully it would bring him the same joy it gave me. I wrote my adress on the cover and told him to send it back whenever he was done. He was genuinly happy, and I was completely happy having shared one of my favorite books with a stranger. It was such an awesome day since, ive felt at peace in my heart ever since.

Your challenge: I want you to pick up a hobby you have thought about doing, but never found the time to. Whether it be drawing, playing a musical instrument, or ever learning something new from textbooks about anything; even learning a new language. And a side challenge; next time you feel overwhelmed or stressed or angry, go somewhere where you are alone and wont bother anyone, and scream as loud as you possibly can, for as long as you want. I cant tellyou how relieving this feels, it lifts the stress right out of you. Good luck!

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yoinkie (@yoinkie)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@kyleeg, I took your challenge! Today I had to go to the laundromat because mine was broken. Anyway I was reading my book “Slauther house five” for the third time while waiting. When my laundry was done, in my haste I forgot my book sitting in the waiting area while I left. I remembered it when I got into my car, and when I returned I saw a stranger(Who looked down on his luck) reading the back cover. I excused myself to him and picked it up, and he said “Looks like an interesting book.” Keeping you in mind, I told him that he could borrow it. He said he couldnt, but I told him I had already read it, and hopefully it would bring him the same joy it gave me. I wrote my adress on the cover and told him to send it back whenever he was done. He was genuinly happy, and I was completely happy having shared one of my favorite books with a stranger. It was such an awesome day since, ive felt at peace in my heart ever since.

Your challenge: I want you to pick up a hobby you have thought about doing, but never found the time to. Whether it be drawing, playing a musical instrument, or ever learning something new from textbooks about anything; even learning a new language. And a side challenge; next time you feel overwhelmed or stressed or angry, go somewhere where you are alone and wont bother anyone, and scream as loud as you possibly can, for as long as you want. I cant tellyou how relieving this feels, it lifts the stress right out of you. Good luck!

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MyName (@baconn)1 year, 7 months ago ago

Wow. I actually made an account just to comment on this post and express how amazed I am by this. I’m starting this.

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Avatar of kaygee
kaygee (@kyleeg)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie, that was a great act of kindness and i think books are a great and timeless way to spread happiness :) i am sure he will enjoy- it definitely does make you feel so good by doing such a small thing. that is why i will continue to try to do so whenever i can! also i look forward to meeting your challenge- its funny you bring up drawing because that has always been one of my favorites but i have not found time with school and work. I realize i need to create time to do things that i like such as this in order to relieve stress (which i have too much of!) so it is very ironic that you bring up both. i definitely look forward to engaging in both in the near future and i will be sure to post to you detailing my experience! sending peace your way <3

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Seasoning (@seasoning)1 year, 7 months ago ago

@yoinkie, you’ve completely inspired me. Thank you for that. Something I’d like to add to your list is for you to get to know a homeless person. What I mean by this is for you truly get into their world and have them open up to you. This would require you to be a listener and a friend. I feel that interacting with these individuals could really bring someone awareness. I feel that they have a lot to teach…

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