Columns 13.10.2017 05:30 am

The older I get, the longer my ‘before I die’ list gets

AFP/File / Greg Baker

AFP/File / Greg Baker

With every travel magazine or sci-fi movie, the before-I-die list gets a few additions.

The older I get, the longer my to-do lists seem to get. I have many to-do lists, most notably the to-do-before-I-die list and the to-do daily list.

With every travel magazine or sci-fi movie, the before-I-die list gets a few additions. This year alone I’ve added more items than I’ve ticked off.

A train trip through Mongolia and sleeping in a real igloo sound like adventures, don’t you think? And what about Irish coffee in Ireland or Peking duck in Beijing?

And who knows, maybe by next year this time they will not feature any more, either ticked off or just erased. Maybe Route 66 will take the number one spot then. The items on my to-do daily list are much harder to achieve.

Being kind always, doing no harm, thinking before speaking, forgiving, admitting mistakes … those are hard ones. They turn a hike in the Himalayas into a walk in the park.

But I don’t just have to-do lists. I also have a not-to-do list. That one also undergoes a constant metamorphosis. My parents started it for me way back.

As I recall, the first two entries on that one were not to talk to strangers and not to get into a car with a stranger. I think they’re on every child’s not-to-do list. Like all lists, that one also grew with time.

Drinking, smoking, gambling … all no-nos. Somewhere along the line – probably due to the wisdom that comes with youth – smoking migrated to the daily list. There it was, 20 times a day for 20 years.

And then I moved it back to where it belongs. No list is cast in stone, so it does happen that drinking or gambling sometimes take a day off. It’s normal.

I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a crisp, slightly wooded chardonnay at Turffontein? As for not getting into a car with a stranger, it’s not something one considers when sober.

But after a couple of beers, I’m the one to set the example by Ubering. And as journalists, we earn a living talking to strangers. Next time you make a list, use a pencil. Nothing can be inked in permanently.

Danie Toerien

Danie Toerien


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