by Evans Yonson

Barcelona – Finally, it’s out in the open. I’m 43 and there’s no stopping the clock from ticking. Instead of looking back to the past 365 days and being thankful, I’d like to write something different today. The next 365 days and still be thankful would be the more appropriate thing to do this year. Probably 43 most important things that I need to do until the next year.

1. Finish my PhD on time. I need to because I’m really sick and tired of going and back forth that dungeon called library. And my director is sick and tired of seeing me week in and week out.

2. See the rest of Europe. Or those cities and countries in my 2011-12 wishlist. There are 12 months in a year so I guess one country and two Spanish cities in a month won’t hurt.

3. Save money to start a new home. My niece inspired me to do it. She has two cute and bubbly kids, a loving husband, and a modest and humble abode.

4. Plan my second photography exhibit. After one element, it’s time to call in the winds of change.

5. Finish my dream coffee table book. It’s been in the burners for long. It’s long overdue. The librarians have been waiting for forever now.

6. Strengthen the Barcelona-based Filipino organization that I started in June. It’s paying forward now before I even get to go home and return all the favors from my Spanish sponsors. Call it, creating a legacy without even trying.

7. Learn how to fish. Real live fish. I’m done with smoked fish. Done with frozen tilapia. Frozen boneless milkfish.

8. Lose weight. With 50 just around the corner, it’s time to defy gravity.

9. Run a marathon. Even just half of it for now. Will run the rest later.

10. Start a new series of photojournalism worthy shots. Probably my own version of The Bang Bang Club but not as horrifying and bloody as the African originals but as adventurous.

11. Find a Buddhist monk to help me find my true past. It’s not that I’m abandoning my Christian faith but I have this insatiable feeling that I used to be a Buddhist in my past life. I was a teaching monk in a temple of many believers.

12. Grow my hair longer. Developing alopecia areata in June has caused several sleepless nights of thinking what I have done wrong weeks before that fateful day.

13. Relearn arnis (eskrima). I learned the Filipino weapon-based martial arts in the universe more than two decades ago. It’s not for self-defense but it is a good sports to practice.

14. Write more. Do advance writings for this blog. Write more about my past trips in Denmark, Thailand, Amsterdam, and Morocco. London is another marvelous city to write about. Write a short story about my home city.

15. Create a big film library at home. I need all my foreign friends to refer me (take note: refer and not give) their countries’ best films. I don’t know anyone in Cagayan de Oro City who has a film collection big enough to be called a library.

16. Read more. My guidance counsellor in the university once told me that I am a so lazy when it comes to reading. I need to find time away from this laptop. More time away, actually.

17. Watch the 2012 Olympics. I don’t care how I’ll get there but somehow I will.

18. Visit another African country before I go home. Christmas in Morocco alone was splendid. Another Christmas won’t hurt.

19. Present my paper in an international conference. It’s a requirement to get my degree. I don’t care where it will be but I need to stand infront of a foreign audience.

20. Sleep more. I don’t know but lately I’ve been sleep-deprived because of all these TV series and endless free movie downloads. Blame it on the free wifi from the neighbors.

21. Send two balikbayan boxes of books, things and stuff before June 2012.

22. Spend my 44th away from Spain. Probably South America.

23. Get laid as often as I can. The healthy and cleaner way, of course. Be safe than sorry. I want to live longer, Donna!  Strike while I’m still hot. Some friends are already losing their libidos.

24. Collect more pencils to fill my world map of writing instruments.

25. Learn to appreciate Spanish cuisine. I know how to cook so appreciating won’t be hard anymore.

26. Learn Catalan. I must admit I can understand the language but to converse is my handicap.

27. Send as many Christmas and birthday greeting cards to all my dearest friends. I love receiving post office-mailed cards. It’s high time that I return the favor.

28. Start an all-original music collection. Always say no to piracy.

29. Post more of my photographs online. Participate actively in the activities of a photo group.

30. Make a series of photographs about the ABCs of Barcelona. My host city has been very good. I owe it to her.

31. Discover the wonders of my Nikon D300S. I recently my new camera buddy and I have been explored totally its features. I’m thinking of time lapse photography in the Sagrada Familia before Christmas.

32. Visit a Barcelona cemetery again. It’s mystifying to be in this cemetery. It’s a macabre place to be in but when you see and hear musicians playing Bach and Beethoven while strolling this labyrinthine place, then it’s wonderful.

33. Have another tattoo. Perhaps on my lower extremities. It would be of all the major cities in the world that I have visited.

34. Learn how to dance – the Spanish Flamenco that is.

35. Visit more museums. As many as I could in the next 12 months. More visits = more ideas. More ideas = more learnings. More learnings = better person.

36. Listen more to classical music. Enough with the pop.

37. Watch Les Miserables (in Spanish) again here in Barcelona. Watch Ghost, The Musical in London. Love Never Dies.

38. Get a foot spa in winter. That would be a first since most of the time my feet will covered in the three months of winter except in the shower.

39. Abstain from buying new winter clothes. It gets more expensive every year.

40. Kiss a man. Not one but a few too many.

41. Help someone regardless of sex, age, or race.

42. Find more employment prospects.

43. Will not make another entry like this anymore. It’s getting longer every year. Must be the old age.