I am 54 years old, still healthy and in a pretty good shape. However, time and mathematics don’t lie, so it’s unfortunately safe to assume that I’m closer to the end of my journey than I am to the beginning. Because of that somewhat painful truth, about a year ago I started to make a list of things/adventures that I wanted to do in life. I had it in mind for many years but looking at all of it on a piece of paper was both exciting and intimidating. The physical challenges were a big question mark but the more pressing issue was cost. I didn’t know where to start and it was still very much a dream until a few months ago, when the Whitehead Institute at MIT hired me as a Cell Sorter Specialist for their evening shift in addition to my full-time job at Boston College. The distant dream was becoming more realistic. I would have to work a lot and it would be hard to find enough time to train but now I could support my family’s needs and envision checking one or two “adventures” off my list per year. My children are both independent - my daughter Estelle is living in NYC attending Columbia University for graduate school, and my son Damien is a 16-year-old sophomore in high school. As for my wife Anne-Cecile, we’ve been married for almost 30 years, therefore she knows me very well. In many aspects, we’re cast from the same mold - we make impulsive decisions, whether it’s emigrating from France and starting a new life in the USA or planning a trip to go somewhere or registering for a challenging race. The point being: we never know what the outcome will be but we are not afraid of trying, knowing there is a possibility of failing. Although she would probably never set foot on Mt. Everest, she understands why I want to do this.
Immediately, I was thinking of the next steps. My family and I always wanted to go to Australia. Once I was officially hired at MIT, I texted them the news and immediately Australia was on everyone’s minds. The texts flew back and forth between NYC and Boston. It was hilarious because I couldn’t keep up answering all their questions with my one-finger “dad” texting skills. Like all of our previous family vacations, our Australia Christmas break trip was all set in a matter of days. Now, we’re just 2 weeks away from leaving Boston and we can’t wait to visit Australia and start the first of my “15-dreams” project by hiking Mt. Kosciuszko as a family.
Above, you will find a small description of all 15 of my dreams. Except for Mt. Kosciuszko where the difficulty is just getting there (it really is just a “walk in the park” kind of hike), the other 14 are challenging both financially and physically. I expect this to be a long and difficult journey, but I hope I get the opportunity to complete my list. As the saying goes: “If it were easy, everyone would do it”. I will definitely be bringing my family with me on as many adventures as possible because, well, that’s the way it should be!