An older coworker and I were talking today about school and I mentioned that, up until three or four months ago, I still experienced the panic of having to finish homework I had forgotten about. Even though I have been out of school now a year, the feeling that I am not doing something would sideswipe me, followed quickly by relief that I do not have any of that aforementioned homework, and then annoyance that I am not back in school already.

However, now that I have not experienced that panic in a while, I am getting a new brand of panic can I return to school now with the same enthusiasm and energy as I would had before I completed my bachelors? rnrnWell, the coworker said, do not wait to go back until you are an old fart like me. The sentiment was a familiar one but it got me thinking nevertheless: what else should I not miss out on before I am that proverbial old fart?

So here is my by-no-means-comprehensive list of five things, in no particular order, to do before I become an ‘old fart.’

1. Get at least a masters degree so I can learn how to learn better.

2. Save $1 million before I am 55, so that I do not have to work until I am 75.

3. Teach English in at least one foreign country for at least one month before I have children.

4. Own a piece of furniture that was purportedly seized by Napoleon during a raid in Madrid (or some other crazy story I cannot corroborate).

5. Write a slough of novels that gain a cult following of MENSA members. (This would normally be under the that-would-be-great-if column, but it will never happen if I only hope.)

I cannot say that anyone has the authority on shoulda, woulda, coulda, least of all, me. But I do know that these lists are important. They keep you on track when you have a thousand things you have to do before you can get to the things you really want to do. They are a string wrapped around your finger left to remind you of whats important.

So, before you become an old fart, whats important to you?