Another Check Mark on the List

Another Check Mark on the List

From Chicken Soup for the Soul 20th Anniversary Edition

Another Check Mark on the List

There are many wonderful things that will never be done if you do not do them.

~Charles D. Gill

One rainy afternoon an inspired 15-year-old boy named John Goddard sat down at his kitchen table in Los Angeles and wrote three words at the top of a yellow pad: “My Life List.” Under that heading he wrote down 127 goals. Since then he has completed most of those goals. Look at the list of Goddard’s goals that appears below. These are not simple or easy goals. They include climbing the world’s major mountains, exploring vast waterways, running a mile in five minutes, reading the complete works of Shakespeare and reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.

Explore:

✓ 1. Nile River

✓ 2. Amazon River

✓ 3. Congo River

✓ 4. Colorado River

5. Yangtze River, China

6. Niger River

7. Orinoco River, Venezuela

✓ 8. Rio Coco, Nicaragua

Study Primitive Cultures In:

✓ 9. The Congo

✓ 10. New Guinea

✓ 11. Brazil

✓ 12. Borneo

✓ 13. The Sudan (John was nearly buried alive in a sandstorm.)

✓ 14. Australia

✓ 15. Kenya

✓ 16. The Philippines

✓ 17. Tanganyika (now Tanzania)

✓ 18. Ethiopia

✓ 19. Nigeria

✓ 20. Alaska

Climb:

21. Mount Everest

22. Mount Aconcagua, Argentina

23. Mount McKinley

✓ 24. Mount Huascaran, Peru

✓ 25. Mount Kilimanjaro

✓ 26. Mount Ararat, Turkey

✓ 27. Mount Kenya

28. Mount Cook, New Zealand

✓ 29. Mount Popocatepetl, Mexico

✓ 30. The Matterhorn

✓ 31. Mount Rainer

✓ 32. Mount Fuji

✓ 33. Mount Vesuvius

✓ 34. Mount Bromo, Java

✓ 35. Grand Tetons

✓ 36. Mount Baldy, California

✓ 37. Carry out careers in medicine and exploration (Studied pre-med and treats illnesses among primitive tribes)

38. Visit every country in the world (30 to go)

✓ 39. Study Navaho and Hopi Indians

✓ 40. Learn to fly a plane

✓ 41. Ride horse in Rose Parade

Photograph:

✓ 42. Iguaçu Falls, Brazil

✓ 43. Victoria Falls, Rhodesia (Chased by a warthog in theprocess)

✓ 44. Sutherland Falls, New Zealand

✓ 45. Yosemite Falls

✓ 46. Niagara Falls

✓ 47. Retrace travels of Marco Polo and Alexander the Great

Explore Underwater:

✓ 48. Coral reefs of Florida

✓ 49. Great Barrier Reef, Australia (Photographed a 300-pound clam)

✓ 50. Red Sea

✓ 51. Fiji Islands

✓ 52. The Bahamas

✓ 53. Explore Okefenokee Swamp and the Everglades

Visit:

✓ 54. North and South Poles

✓ 55. Great Wall of China

✓ 56. Panama and Suez Canals

✓ 57. Easter Island

✓ 58. The Galapagos Islands

✓ 59. Vatican City (Saw the pope)

✓ 60. The Taj Mahal

✓ 61. The Eiffel Tower

✓ 62. The Blue Grotto

✓ 63. The Tower of London

✓ 64. The Leaning Tower of Pisa

✓ 65. The Sacred Well of Chichen-Itza, Mexico

✓ 66. Climb Ayers Rock in Australia

67. Follow River Jordan from Sea of Galilee to Dead Sea

Swim In:

✓ 68. Lake Victoria

✓ 69. Lake Superior

✓ 70. Lake Tanganyika

✓ 71. Lake Titicaca, South America

✓ 72. Lake Nicaragua

Accomplish:

✓ 73. Become an Eagle Scout

✓ 74. Dive in a submarine

✓ 75. Land on and take off from an aircraft carrier

✓ 76. Fly in a blimp, hot air balloon and glider

✓ 77. Ride an elephant, camel, ostrich and bronco

✓ 78. Skin dive to 40 feet and hold breath two and a half minutes underwater

✓ 79. Catch a 10-pound lobster and a 10-inch abalone

✓ 80. Play flute and violin

✓ 81. Type 50 words a minute

✓ 82. Take a parachute jump

✓ 83. Learn water and snow skiing

✓ 84. Go on a church mission

✓ 85. Follow the John Muir Trail

✓ 86. Study native medicines and bring back useful ones

✓ 87. Bag camera trophies of elephant, lion, rhino, cheetah, cape buffalo and whale

✓ 88. Learn to fence

✓ 89. Learn jujitsu

✓ 90. Teach a college course

✓ 91. Watch a cremation ceremony in Bali

✓ 92. Explore depths of the sea

93. Appear in a Tarzan movie (He now considers this an irrelevant boyhood dream)

94. Own a horse, chimpanzee, cheetah, ocelot and coyote (Yet to own a chimp or cheetah)

95. Become a ham radio operator

✓ 96. Build own telescope

✓ 97. Write a book (On Nile trip)

✓ 98. Publish an article in National Geographic

✓ 99. High jump five feet

✓ 100. Broad jump 15 feet

✓ 101. Run a mile in five minutes

✓ 102. Weigh 175 pounds stripped (still does)

✓ 103. Perform 200 sit-ups and 20 pull-ups

✓ 104. Learn French, Spanish and Arabic

105. Study dragon lizards on Komodo Island (Boat broke down within 20 miles of island)

✓ 106. Visit birthplace of Grandfather Sorenson in Denmark

✓ 107. Visit birthplace of Grandfather Goddard in England

✓ 108. Ship aboard a freighter as a seaman

109. Read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (Has read extensive parts in each volume)

✓ 110. Read the Bible from cover to cover

✓ 111. Read the works of Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, Dickens, Thoreau, Poe, Rousseau, Bacon, Hemingway, Twain, Burroughs, Conrad, Talmage, Tolstoy, Longfellow, Keats, Whittier and Emerson (Not every work of each)

✓ 112. Become familiar with the compositions of Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Ibert, Mendelssohn, Lalo, Rimski-Korsakov, Respighi, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Toch, Tschaikovsky, Verdi

✓ 113. Become proficient in the use of a plane, motorcycle, tractor, surfboard, rifle, pistol, canoe, microscope, football, basketball, bow and arrow, lariat and boomerang

✓ 114. Compose music

✓ 115. Play Clair de Lune on the piano

✓ 116. Watch fire-walking ceremony (In Bali and Surinam)

✓ 117. Milk a poisonous snake (Bitten by a diamond back during a photo session)

✓ 118. Light a match with a 22 rifle

✓ 119. Visit a movie studio

✓ 120. Climb Cheops’ pyramid

✓ 121. Become a member of the Explorers’ Club and the Adventurers’ Club

✓ 122. Learn to play polo

✓ 123. Travel through the Grand Canyon on foot and by boat

✓ 124. Circumnavigate the globe (four times)

125. Visit the moon (“Some day if God wills”)

✓ 126. Marry and have children (Has five children)

✓ 127. Live to see the 21st Century (He will be 75)

~John Goddard

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