I’ve occasionally been challenged to put together a bucket list, but that framing device doesn’t do much for me. My dreams are at once too distant and too quotidian to fit on a “before I die” sort of list. For now, they’re a “when the tide comes in” sort of list: a dream for a future where scrambling for every cent is a distant memory, a plan for when I’m gainfully employed again (for various tiers of “gainfully”), and a promise to my future self.
I’m going to complete my Beast Wars collection, and change all the other colors on my inventory spreadsheet to the green I use for “in hand.” They’re getting some kind of display case.
I’m going on a shopping spree at heysomeday’s Etsy store, mostly for urchin-spine jewelry.
I’m getting my ears pierced, and completing this little feminine step most of us manage as children.
I’m mailing my remaining boy clothes to Misandry Angie, so that her kid can have a big wardrobe all at once.
I’m going on a road trip with Ania (and other partners who can afford to come, perhaps) to Miami, mostly to collect the items in my old bedroom that I still want. On the way, I’m going to eat at a Waffle House, because that ordinary little chain is one of those things that stuck in my mind and won’t go away, and I’ll have that moment even if they never impress me or anyone else ever again. I’m going to have back my 46-gallon bowfront and my Carnegie dinosaur collection, the binders of old Zoobooks and my university physics text, the majority of my Beast Wars figures that never made it to Canada and the secret heaps of papers from my youth, and who knows what else. A car won’t be enough. It will be beautiful, and my parents will cry, and I will have my LEGOs. And I will show her the Old Key Lime House in Lantana if it’s still there by then, and the weird, swampy, sunny drive to Key Largo, and what an acceptable temperature for swimming is. We’ll visit my friends, especially the one in West Palm Beach. We’ll eat delicious Cuban food and photograph royal Poinciana trees and touch everything that ever mattered to me in the alien place I used to call home and my parents won’t have any of it, because this time, finally, it will be just for us, just for me.
I’m having the rest of my body hair purged, so that I don’t have to keep living in this obnoxious hinterland between dysphoria and shaving.
I’m setting up the aquarium zoo I always wanted, with six or seven or twelve or I don’t even know how many separate habitats, each set up for a specific piece of the world, each fulfilling the collector’s impulse and zoologist’s nature that has me housing and watching a new species every time the last brood begins to succumb to old age. I’ll visit West Africa and the river next door and the Orinoco in the span of one room, and I’ll have the weird creatures I can’t bring home right now because we can’t afford a new setup for them, and the sound of running water will be the echo of my heartbeat.
I’ll catch up on years of PC gaming I’ve missed out on, Portal and Starcraft and Papo and Yo. I’ll revisit old favorites like Descent II and Star Wars: Republic Commando. I’ll waste entirely too much money on nostalgia trips through Grand Old Games, purely for the sense of owning something that turned ephemeral and vanished from me. I’ll investigate games like Never Alone and Mulaka based in mythic universes I don’t know well.
I’ll fill the rest of that plastic Carnegie mountain with dinosaurs.
I’ll take my partners on a cruise around the Caribbean. We’ll eat decadent cruise-ship food and lay out under the tropical sun, buy turtle-shaped tchotchkes from locals and drink wine in onboard libraries, tour historic sites and drink Wadadli on a motorboat circling Antigua. We’ll have to be more careful than I felt like I needed to be on my last cruise, now that we’re exposed to so much more hostility than I knew about back then, but we’ll enjoy late nights in hot tubs under the stars, hungover lunch-for-breakfast, and endless ocean views to keep us entertained. And I’ll have a cruise behind me where I don’t feel the need to spend most of it being alarmingly good at avoiding the people I’m traveling with, and I’ll have a cruise where I don’t feel any need to pack swim shorts, and it will be sunlit and beautiful.
I’ll get four tattoos, and figure out if I want more.
I will know indulgence I have urgently refused for years, because something more important was always on the horizon.
I will eat my way across Ottawa’s impressive selection of world cuisine, and for once, it will be without guilt.
I will learn French, maybe even Polish.
I won’t worry whether there will be extra costs if I have the surgeons fix my neck while they’re fixing my nethers, since one of those but not the other is covered by the province.
I will turn Ania loose on the task of getting her ultra-accessible kitchen built, and she’ll be able to do all of the cooking she enjoys without straining her back or hips.
I will pay for Xenorameme’s next concert tour.
I will take Kitmist clothes shopping, and she’ll run out of things she wants before I tell her to stop.
I will show Sidhestrix museums in places she’s never been.
We’ll have a wedding with an open bar, all our backgrounds’ cuisines, and troupes of performers.
This blog will be more prolific than ever.
My bills will include $50 here and $20 there to a slew of Patreons and GoFundMes and YouCarings and other places where friends in need have gone for help.
I will raise bantam hens and button quails and not care if they lay, and it will be the most Puerto Rican thing I have ever done.
I will take my pets to the vet without second thoughts or fundraisers.
I will have, just, the most impressive diversity of Pokémon plushies.
I will catch my breath, and remember what it feels like, to just breathe.
I will breathe.
I will breathe.
I will breathe.