I saw an ad on TV the other day for eons.com, sort of a MySpace for Baby Boomers (slogan: Boom! Boom! Boom!). It looked interesting, so I wandered over there on my lunch hour.
Along with blogging capability, groups, links to travel opportunities for seniors, and ads for retirement communities and health care programs, they have a section called ‘life dreams’, in which they provide their registered members with a place to list the things they want to do with the rest of their life. Even unregistered folks like me, though, can peruse the ‘Eons 100’ – the top 100 dreams recorded by their members.
It’s not a particularly surprising list. But, being the geek I am, I couldn’t resist pulling it into Excel and running some statistics on it, categorizing things as related to Health (7 goals), Finance (6 goals), Home (7 goals), Social Relationships (10 goals), Personal Improvement (24 goals), Experiences (12 goals), and Travel (34 goals). (All the categories, and the assignment of dreams to them, are purely my own work; the ranking is courtesy of Eons.)
The number one ‘dream’ is to Lose weight, which is, of course, a health goal. There are six other health goals: Stay healthy (rank 3), Exercise more (rank 4), Quit smoking (22), Keep my brain sharp (28), and Eat healthy (33).
“Write a book” is the number 2 goal, which I categorized as an experience people wanted to have. Eleven of the 100 goals were experiences by my definition, which was that it appeared that the goal was to have done whatever it was, not to have gone through the process of doing it. Winning the lottery (23), Skydiving (57), and Meeting Oprah Winfrey (100) fit easily into the category; Start a new career (93) and Buy a boat (87) maybe less so.
Financial goals included Become debt free (5), Pay off my mortgage (8), and Be financially secure (16). Start my own business (30) scored surprisingly high, considering how difficult that is to do successfully.
The things I categorized as Social Relationships included Volunteer (15), Make new friends (21), Get married (27), Fall in love (84) and things like Spend time with family (88) and Have a family reunion (43). I put Write my life story (86) here, because I couldn’t see any point in writing it unless you had an audience in mind, probably an audience related to you.
Home goals include Buy a house (24), Own my own home (70), and a batch of ‘improve my home’ (general remodel, kitchen remodel, and landscape). But there are folks out there who want to Build their own house (71).
Personal Improvement includes all the “learn a language” goals (of which there are five, if you count sign language), “take a class” or “learn to X” (15 goals), Get a college degree (goal 19), Get organized (38), Read more (46), and Improve my golf game (81).
But by far the largest group of goals is Travel. Take a cruise is goal number 6, Go to Hawaii is number 7, and Travel to Europe is number 9. (Generic Europe is redundant to eight specific places in Europe that made the list individually, too, so traveling in Europe probably actually beats out losing weight for the number one spot…) Other places people want to go are Australia, Alaska (cruising or otherwise), the Grand Canyon, around the world, to all 50 US states, Africa, China, Disney World, Las Vegas, the Egyptian pyramids, national parks, Japan, Canada, Niagara Falls, Costa Rica, hiking the Appalachian Trail and the Galapagos Islands.
And, of course, I absolutely couldn’t resist check how many of the 100 goals I had done already. It works out to 46, there are 5 more that don’t apply to me (eg, you can’t have grandchildren if you don’t have children to begin with…) and there’re 29 more that I don’t care about one way or another (eg, learning to play golf…)
That leaves 20 items that I agree I ought to go for. Unfortunately, seven of those are those New-Year-resolution kind of things – ‘get healthy’, ‘improve my financial standing’, ‘get organized’ – that you really can’t argue with, but that have to be broken down into less-general segments in order to achieve anything.
There are five places on the list that I’d like to go (New York, Egypt, Greece, Japan and the Appalachian Trail). I’d like to do some work on my house to match my vision of what a 104-year-old Craftsman bungalow ought to look like. And I seriously covet an herb garden, a water feature in the yard, and a sitting area with a fire pit…
The only other things I can think of right off hand to add to the list is some other travel things. I’d like to make at least a part of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, which you can do following the same routes as the medieval pilgrims through southern France and western Spain and come home with a scallop shell to prove you’ve done it. (Well, these days, you get a certificate, and can have your name and your starting point announced at the daily Pilgrims’ Mass. I’ll have to lose some weight and get healthier for either that or the Appalachian Trail.) I’d like to visit Asheville, NC, particularly during the Arts and Crafts convention/show/sale at the Oak Park Inn every February. And I’d like to be in Tucson during the Gem, Mineral, Beading, and Jewelry shows the last week of January and early February.