the mighty mighty life list

Tomorrow, I’m catching a plane to northern California to attend this year’s Mighty Summit.  Mighty Summit is an annual getaway weekend for professional bloggers and content creators hosted by Maggie Mason and Laura Mayes.  I’ve heard it’s a life-changing experience from those who have attended before, and I’m thrilled to have been invited this year.

A part of the weekend experience is empowering each other to reach our goals, based on life lists we’ve written ourselves.  A life list is pretty much a bucket list . . . the things you hope or dream or plan to do in this lifetime.  Confession: I wrote a life list two years ago, when I first heard about the Mighty Summit and watched other writers publish their own lists.  I thought it sounded inspiring and fun.  I even got to cross a few off in the last year.  But I never planned to go public with it.  I didn’t even share it with Mark.

See, I have this awful personality flaw that makes it very difficult for me to announce the things I’m striving for, in case I don’t meet my goals. I’m a type-A, “get-it-done” girl. I don’t like to talk about things unless I have an action plan and an end in sight. This can be problematic, especially since I am married to a guy whose favorite thing to do is brainstorm and dream. In his family of origin, it’s perfectly acceptable to sit and chat about the restaurant you are going to open in Mexico . . . which prompts me into anxiety and running budget sheets and researching schools in Mexico, only to come back to find the conversation has turned to opening a cafĂ© in a storefront in Kansas, and then my head explodes. And it’s not them, it’s me. I have always been plagued with a not-so-fun combination of literalism, anxiety, and pessimism. You do not want me on your group project.

Anyways, that was a rather convoluted attempt at explaining why I struggle with announcing my goals until I am 100% sure of achieving them.  My life list is full of things both practical and whimsical . . . some goals that are realistic and likely, and some that are more wishful.  There is some hesitation for me in sharing them, and some trepidation about going into a weekend where I’m going to be looking at them in the presence of some powerful women and analyzing how to make a few really happen.  It’s going to stretch me . . . and it’s gonna be awesome.

Life List

Attend the Tony Awards
Adopt a teenager from fostercare
Dance in a flashmob

Write an unsentimental book for transracial families
Learn hydroponics (self-contained fish tank and garden ecosystem) and teach it to a third world village
Live somewhere outside the US for a year
See Indigo Girls in concert
Live in a downtown loft
Visit Buenos Aires
Be a guest on an NPR podcast
Backpack Europe with the kids
Learn to make “artisanal bread”
Figure out what “artisanal bread” means
Write a parenting advice column for a print publication
Meet Michelle Obama
Smoke a cigar overlooking the Grand Canyon
Play Aunt Eller in a community theater production of Oklahoma
Find a permanent solution for my chin hairs
Be a writer for the Colbert Report
Learn to give myself a French manicure
Take a cruise through the Caribbean
Put a container garden in our backyard and grow food we eat
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Take my adopted son back to visit his Haitian orphanage
Drive a VW van with vintage curtains
Tile the backsplash in my kitchen
See David Sedaris read something in person
Run a full marathon
Learn Spanish
Pay for someone’s adoption
Plant an avocado tree
Abandon the middle aisles of the grocery store
Get a law degree
Take a weekly Sabbath
Dance with my husband at our 25th wedding anniversary party
Have a house with a mud-room
Rid my home of things made of primary-colored plastic
Sing back-up in a band
Learn how to surf
Visit an ashram
Go raw. Or, raw-ish.
Write a children’s book about tolerance
Create a weekly meal rotation and grocery list
Play cards with friends in a retirement home
Go on a treehouse safari in Tanzania
Convince five people to adopt a foster child
Be a mom my kids want to stay in contact with
Hire someone else to design my blog
Write a parenting book that combines developmental psych principles with a conversational tone
Go back to the spot where my husband proposed
Give a TED talk
Learn to salsa dance
Organize my pantry
Fit into my size 8 clothes again
Open a private practice with my husband
Write a novel
Do some therapy to work on my family issues
Sing in a gospel choir
Buy a well in India
Howerton Family well
Take a silent retreat
Travel the US in an Airstream
Take a class at The Groundlings
Learn to use the function on my camera beyond “auto”
Put twinkly lights in my backyard
Sleep in a yurt
Go on a special trip with each of my four kids (just the two of us)
Host a foreign exchange student
Plan a fundraiser for a birthing center in Haiti
Be a court-appointed special advocate for a child in foster care
Eat at momfuku in NYC
Learn to paddleboard
Write a published piece of theatre criticism
Get a Ph.D. in clinical psychology
Get a massage overlooking the ocean
Hang some fancy wallpaper in a bathroom
Play my piano for fun
Get a tattoo
Stay in a beach hut in Thailand
Be comfortable in a swimsuit
Volunteer in my child’s classroom
Host a dinner party (with placecards!)
Build a house with Habitat for Humanity

Read all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series to my daughters
Catch up my photobooks on Shutterfly for each year
Write a letter to a person who hurt me(sending optional)
Mentor a younger couple
Buy a pair of Jimmy Choos
Create a gift-wrapping station in my garage
Buy a bike and ride it often
Stay at a bed and breakfast in Ireland
Buy fancy linens for my bed
Have sex every day for a month
Tour the coast of Australia
Return to South Africa with my kids – go to the top of table mountain
Read every Pulitzer winner
Eat gelato in Italy
Live within walking distance of the ocean
Go to the Sound of Music sing-along at the Hollywood Bowl
Raise chickens for fresh eggs
Own an Eames Lounger



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