Today, Leonard Cohen passed away.
This may not mean anything to you. Maybe you don’t know who he is. Was. Maybe you do know who he is, but you don’t understand why it really matters…
It’s always strange when public figures die. It’s strange when you feel a need to mourn someone you’ve never met.
It only happens to me occasionally (usually authors or musicians whose work has made me feel I know them). When it does, I can’t stop thinking of the person’s family and close friends, and how this might be impacting them. I feel selfish, because I don’t really know Leonard Cohen. To me, his death means he will not write more lyrics. It means his impressive collection of songs will not expand. To those who really know him, the loss is so much greater.
Yet, I grieve. I grieve the loss of an incredible lyricist.
Leonard Cohen is dead, and my heart hurts because he created songs that resonate with me on a spiritual and emotional level. Creating anything that makes other people feel less alone in this world is always admirable. It is work of the highest order.
You may not know who Cohen is (was?), but you know “Hallelujah.” Maybe you haven’t even heard the Cohen version, but you’ve probably heard a version by Pentatonix, or Rufus Wainwright, or Jeff Buckley, or any number of artists.
Leonard’s work is literary, filled with Biblical imagery and historical references.
His work is sad and thoughtful and poignant and broken and beautiful. Most of all, it is raw.
RIP Mr. Cohen. Your legacy will long outlive you.
“Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried, in my way, to be free.”
On September 2nd, I turned 22, with little fanfare.
That was how I wanted it. I’ve been dreading birthdays since I was 15. Though I do like thoughtful gifts and kind words, of course.
It’s not that I fear growing older. I actually look forward to being 70 years old with gray hair, rocking a grandbaby or two on my knee as I take in the warm evening air on my front porch. I hope I’m a fun old person. I hope I still write. I hope my home is welcoming and warm. I hope I can care for myself. I hope I’m not a burden – more than that, I hope I can still contribute.
Anyway. Random tangent over.
All that to say, I’m not afraid of being old, but maybe it’s the aging process I don’t love. Or maybe it’s a fear of looking back at the past year and realizing I didn’t accomplish everything I thought I would’ve.
22. Practically middle-aged, really.
And I’ve already held this age for 2 months.
I decided to make a bucket list for this year.
I generally fail at this type of thing, but maybe if I’m blogging it I’ll feel accountable. So here goes. Here are the 22 things I want to do before I turn 23. I’ll try to blog about all of them.
22 Things to do Before I Turn 23
Travel to a new country.
Take a class. Learn something new.
Pick lavender. If you want to visit a lavender field with me, say when.
Buy my first bee hives. And the bees to live in them, obviously. And try not to kill said bees.
Read 12 books that have been on “your list” for ages. Seriously. You can’t go on pretending you’ve read Moby Dick for the next 40 years.
The books in question:
Moby Dick, Beloved, To the Lighthouse, As I Lay Dying, Midnight’s Children, Leaves of Grass, For Whom the Bell Tolls, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, On the Road, The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, one other, or as many others as I can manage. (Let the record show that when I searched a few lists of 100 great books you should read, I had read most of them and I now feel better about myself.)
Practice a random act of kindness every day for a month.
Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston AND/
OR go to the Smithsonian Institute museums you haven’t been to.
Write every day.
Spontaneous roadtrip somewhere new.
Do something aesthetically pleasing but don’t post it to any social media. This one is just for your enjoyment.
Complete a crossword puzzle. No cheating. Except to ask mom for hints, maybe.
Make a friend much older than you. (At least 30 years your senior)
Make a friend much younger than you. (At least 10 years your junior)
Apply to a grad program.
Learn (and retain) some facts about every single president.
Explore two American cities you’ve never been to. (1/2 done.)
Hammock in a national park.
Make a food that intimidates you.
Go to see a band you don’t know. Let yourself be completely surprised.
Discover/learn/try something new in the world of specialty coffee.
Speak with a fake accent for an entire day. Because what is life without being a little silly sometimes?
Go to a botanical garden.
Alright alright alright. Only 10 months to go. Follow along and suggest things you think I should add or try next year!