- Write a book (I wrote two.)
- Get published in a magazine (Due to racism at Northern Michigan University, I submitted my English final and it was accepted as my first paid magazine submission.)
- Travel somewhere outside of the United States (I took a black history tour with the Girl Scouts of America all throughout Toronto and Ontario. Yes, I realize it's also a good idea to extend that goal past North America.)
- Work for a newspaper (I've worked directly for two at the Trib and my first newspaper job at the Chicago Defender, and worked in partnership with the Chicago Sun-Times through Sun-Times Network.)
- Get a college degree (As obsessed as I was with "A Different World," I couldn't have been happier to graduate from an HBCU. Then I went on to become a real-life Denise Huxtable and changed my major three times during grad school before I dropped out. I have no regrets for being a grad school dropout, and writing so heavily for lawyers in the past three years calmed my urge to go to law school.)
- Start a 401(k) plan (Did that twice, and it came in quite handy due to a 750-plus person layoff from the Trib after three years of employment.)
- Become more active politically (I reported on a canvassing project for former President Barack H. Obama as an assignment for Yahoo! Contributor Network. I also worked on the Affordable Care Act awareness campaign.)
There are still two things on my bucket list that I have not fully accomplished, and I'm passionate about though.
- Learn the ins and outs of stocks, bonds, and CDs so I know how to properly invest. (Business books have bored me to tears. I've tried reading at least 10 of them. Paint drying is more interesting to me than these books, and what little I do know is courtesy of my late grandfather.)
- Visit all eight islands in Hawaii. (This had to be tweaked after reading this USA Today post that confirmed two of the eight do not allow visitors: Niihau and Kahoolawe. So now it's six instead of eight.)
I don't know what in the world is in the coffee and chocolate, but I kinda understand why the agricultural system is so uptight about people trying to smuggle in Hawaiian chocolate and coffee off the island. That stuff will make you dance in place the way Norman Reedus does on "Ride with Norman Reedus." I drank the coffee black because creamer and sugar just got in the way. And I disrespected every single thing that my dentist ever told me when it came to candy: I shoveled Hawaiian chocolate down like someone had told me I'd never have chocolate again in life.
Even doing things like riding a real steamboat put a huge smile on my face.
Recommended Reading --> Turning 36: Paddle board yoga, parasailing in Honolulu
Until the next Hawaiian visit, aloha!