Thank you, Amanda, for asking the multi-part question:

Name THREE things that you absolutely want to do before you die.
(a) What has stopped you from doing them so far?
(b) What will it take to accomplish them?

I realize my answer doesn’t have to be so awfully drawn out and descriptive. When I think about it the way you’ve posed the topic, it seems simple. And I’m grateful to you for that.

1. I absolutely want to compile enough essays or chapters to comprise a book, and I want to submit it for publication.
1a. What’s stopped me? My formerly fuzzy priorities.
1b. What will it take? Writing every day. Thanks to 30 Voices, I’m on the path. As Janna pointed out to me back in August, I’m doing my “piano scales.”

2. I absolutely want to marry my roommate.
2a. What’s stopped me? That day will come when he feels ready for the milestone. Until then, we are partners through and through. It’s for real, and being with him (married or not) is right where I want to be.
2b. What will it take? Continued trust and love, friendship and patience, laughter and gentle back scratches.

3. I absolutely want to spend time seeing Europe (And after that, Asia, Central America, South America, and Africa).
3a. What’s stopped me? Limited funds and too few vacation days.
3b. What will it take? Getting very close to having the dollars and additional time off . . . there’s no should, could or would about it: the day is coming.

Note to self: Get passport!

Ruth, 38, Los Angeles, USA