Life List


I’ve been hesitant to start one of these, as much as I’ve loved seeing how Maggie Mason has inspired people to reach higher and do new things. For me, a Life List always felt like New Year’s Resolutions without a deadline (except…being dead), and I do better with deadlines.

Also, I like to have more general life goals, like “be something,” rather than “do something.” The truth is, though, that those are easy to let slide if you don’t look for ways to…periodically prove them to yourself. What does “be compassionate” look like? What’s the best way to actually “appreciate other cultures”?

As I await my revised passport — and realize I’m going to make good use of it this year — it feels like the right time to write down some things I’d like to do with this life of mine. And because I like starting off on a successful note, this list will contain stuff I’ve already done that later turned out to be life-listy.

Crossed-out items are complete. Items in italics are in progress.

This list is subject to change.

  1. Visit Australia and pet at least one stereotypical Australian animal. (May 2010)
  2. Attend a relaxation/self-focused/yoga retreat.
  3. Deposit my mother’s ashes somewhere in Hawai’i (she wouldn’t care where).
  4. Accept an award for something I’ve worked really hard on. (Winter Guard, 1994-95)
  5. Host a regular knitting group.
  6. Be proficient in at least two card games, not counting poker and Go Fish.
  7. Parent a child.
  8. Help someone pay for college.
  9. See London. (1994-95)
  10. See London as an adult.
  11. See Paris. (1994-95)
  12. View Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
  13. Walk the streets of Amsterdam.
  14. Explore Venice.
  15. Tour the Vatican.
  16. Spend a week on Nantucket Island.
  17. Start a business. (June 21, 2010)
  18. Visit St. Michel le Clou, France.
  19. Visit St. Augustin, Quebec, Canada.
  20. Write and publish a book.
  21. Teach a course on web content strategy and writing.
  22. Get a tattoo of a semicolon, bold, serif font. (Yes, really.)
  23. Drive across the country. (September/October 2000; March 2011)
  24. Take my kid to Field Days for fried dough and Rainbow Ice.
  25. Make Sunday dinner a habit and tradition.
  26. Take one special “girlfriends’ trip” every year, even if it’s only for a weekend. (April 2006,  September 2007, September 2012, March 2015)
  27. Make a quilt out of my old tshirts.
  28. Jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
  29. Build a chronological, hard-bound book of family photos.
  30. Learn enough of at least one coding language to be useful instead of dangerous.
  31. Sing a child to sleep. (Summer 2010)
  32. Sew a dress I’m proud to wear.
  33. Add a favorite California winery/wine club membership to my budget. (Renner, March 2015)
  34. Be in the audience for Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!
  35. Go on a whale watch off Cape Cod.
  36. Run the path around the National Mall.
  37. Complete a master’s degree. (Summer 2011)
  38. Study and get certified in massage.
  39. Help someone grow and succeed (to the speech-mention level).
  40. Knit Christmas stockings for myself, a partner, and any kids we have.
  41. Grow comfortable enough with yoga to practice at home, daily.
  42. Do a Sideways wine tour with friends…but with less drama.
  43. Move back to Northern California. (March 2011)
  44. Avoid procrastinating for a full year.
  45. Bake a souffle.
  46. Learn to tap dance.
  47. Attend a Mighty Summit.
  48. Stand on the beach during a rainstorm.
  49. Stand on the beach during a snowstorm.
  50. Grow my own vegetables. (Summer 2008, 2009)
  51. Drink 25-year-old cabernet.
  52. Take a picnic up to Breadloaf and hike a trail I used to ski.
  53. Ride in a helicopter.
  54. Tell a great story on This American Life (“borrowed” from Andrea Scher)
  55. Run a 5K (October 23, 2011)
  56. Run a 10K.
  57. Take Basic Photography — learn how to shoot and develop film.
  58. Build an online, interactive Family Tree with photos and a compendium of contributed, tagged family stories.
  59. Race at Head of the Charles.
  60. FIN: Know, when I die, that this list — this promise to myself — has been fulfilled, regardless of what’s been crossed off.

6 thoughts on “Life List

  1. Amy says:

    Great list!

    Mine is something like this.

    1. Go to St. John.
    2. Travel other places.
    3. Raise great kids.
    4. Be a good wife.

    😉 I keep getting stuck on #1 but 3 and 4 are coming along nicely too!

  2. elizabeth says:

    Great list – I really like the tattoo idea.

    My list is about 5 pages long, and it seems to grow over the years. Clearly I am hoping to live forever.

    • 8junebugs says:

      I think it would be totally appropriate to put “live forever” at the end of your list, then. 🙂

      I fully expect this list will grow and change with me. It’s so much different than it would have been when I was 15 or 20…or even just five years ago. I mean, what happens if it doesn’t grow and change and I cross everything off?

      So, five pages? Totally acceptable. Based on this, though, I think I’m going to add something that will always be the last item…

  3. Kathleen says:

    I LOVE IT.

    #21. Yay for type tattoos! I’ve got an ampersand in bembo. Jeremy’s getting one to match.

    And #35 is so sweet.

    Good list.

    • 8junebugs says:

      Hi, Kathleen! I’ve wanted that tattoo for a while, and seeing your ampersand actually convinced me I wasn’t (totally) crazy. Not for wanting permanent punctuation on my body, anyway.

      Y’all, go visit Their home and outlook will be the prettiest things you encounter on the internet today. (That’s why I go there, anyway.)

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