This weekend I’m headed to California to attend an event called the Mighty Summit. As part of this gathering, we were asked to create a life list and bring it with us.
I’ve seen others share their life lists online, but I never thought much about them. I’m not sure why I hadn’t created my own until now. It’s probably because I’m always so busy and sort of flying by the seat of my pants, so the concept of planning for anything further than about three days from now is somewhat foreign. Who has time for that? Also, the act of creating a life list reminds me that my life will actually end at some point, and I need to be getting on with doing things that are important to me before that day comes. I’m not a big fan of that day or of even thinking about that day.
Yet along comes the Mighty Summit, and now I’m making a life list. You’d think it wouldn’t be that hard — I’m sure there must be one hundred things I’d like to accomplish before I die — yet it’s been like getting my brows waxed. Rip. Ouch. Pluck. Yikes. My eyes are watering. My head hurts. Help me.
I started by spying on other people’s life lists online to try and get an idea of what kinds of things to include. All that did was help me get clarity on what I don’t care one whit about doing. I learned, for instance, that I’m perfectly comfortable not being a daredevil, and I have no need to prove to myself or anyone else that I have the guts to jump out of an airplane. I don’t have the guts, and I don’t care.
I also realized that I’m not feeling the need to learn a bunch of new skills. It’s not that I am unwilling or uninterested in learning new things, but I’m pretty sure I don’t care about knitting, or learning to speak another language fluently, or being able to build something with my hands. I will not be lying on my deathbed wishing I could crochet or speak German in heaven. (No offense to the lovely Germanic peoples.)
As I added things and removed others and added more things, I could see on my screen what I’ve always known: my chief issue is wanderlust. I have to go places. It pains me to think that my life might end without seeing as much of this glorious planet as possible, and you’ll see that many of my goals are travel-related. You’ll also see I’m a big snob when it comes to travel. I readily admit this. I have a rule that any hotel I stay in should have rooms nicer than my bedroom. Since I prefer quality over quantity, I’d rather wait, save up and then go all out. This is why you won’t see a lot of camping or wilderness adventures on my list. I would be willing to try glamping, however.
Mostly, the exercise of creating a life list confirmed how much satisfaction I already have. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to do quite a bit in these 42+ years, and I feel an enormous amount of contentment with my life and the experiences I’ve had, so much so that I decided to include things on the list that I’ve already done, because those things would have been on my list had I created it 20 years ago.
The greatest benefit of this exercise was that it gave me an idea to create a family life list with my husband and children, featuring things we’d like to do together before our kids leave the nest for good. I’m going to start working on that one and will share it with you soon. Meantime, I’ll share my personal list.
Please note that sharing this is nerve-wracking. I’m just waiting to be judged on what I’ve listed here, as well as what I haven’t listed. (Why doesn’t she want to learn to crochet? What’s wrong with crocheting?) But since I’m all about authenticity and openness, here goes. Besides, I figure if you know what I want to do and you’d like to help me out with any of the things on the list, now you can.
Once you read mine, let me know if you’re planning to do one, and if you’ve done one already please share a link to it in the comments. I’m curious whether you saw any big trends in yours, the way travel popped up again and again in mine.
Katherine Stone | Life List | 100 Things To Do Before I Die
- Get Postpartum Progress in the top three search results on Google for “postpartum depression” … because, REALLY
- Speak at the California Women’s Conference
- Go to the White House to discuss women’s mental health and create a proactive plan
- Live close to my children when they are adults
Run a 5k
- Have grandchildren
- Celebrate my 30th anniversary with my husband at the Chicago Historical Museum, where we were married
- Go on a luxury safari in Africa with my family
- Take the kids to Paris
- Testify before Congress about women’s mental health
- Convince people like Gwyneth Paltrow, Heather Armstrong, Bryce Dallas Howard, Amanda Peet, Alanis Morrissette and other PPD survivors with influence to join forces to spread awareness for postpartum depression
- Go to Croatia (especially Dubrovnik)
- Go to Istanbul and stay at the Ciragan Palace Hotel
- Go to Santorini
Go dog sledding
- Finish my damn girlfriend’s guide to PPD
- Eat at the French Laundry and Per Se
- Be able to pay for my kids to go to any college or university of their choice
- Raise the money necessary to create a national awareness campaign for postpartum depression
- Go to Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Go to Sedona, Arizona and stay at a fancy resort
- Take the family to a dude ranch
- Increase the percentage of women who get treated for PPD from 15 percent to 50 percent
- See the Pyramids
- See the Taj Mahal and stay in one of the Oberoi Hotels
- See the Aurora Borealis
- Go to
New Orleans, Charleston, Savannah, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, DC, Martha’s Vineyard, Las Vegas
- Go to
Paris, Florence, Rome, Prague, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Budapest, Bangkok, Dublin, Barcelona, London, Edinburgh,Athens, Hong Kong, Krakow, Sydney, Venice, Amsterdam
- Speak at the TED Women’s Conference
- Visit at least 7 Caribbean islands (so far I’ve been to Anguilla, Antigua and Paradise Island)
- Vacation in a castle in Ireland
Take the kids on vacation to New York City Take the kids on vacation to Washington DC
- Celebrate Christmas in the Swiss Alps
- See the Alhambra in Grenada, Spain
- See Angkor Wat
- See Petra in Jordan
- Take the kids to San Diego
Go to Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz Festival
- Attain Delta Frequent Flyer Platinum Status
- Learn how to make flawless macaroons
- Learn how to properly apply fake eyelashes
- Go on a Northern Baltic cruise to St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Tallinn and Stockholm
- Learn how to do updos — I have tons of hair and no idea
Go to the Olympics
- Learn how to wear a scarf fabulously
- Get my teeth fixed
Go scuba diving See the 4th of July fireworks in DC on the National Mall
- Ride a camel
- Take the kids on a Disney cruise
- Get Botox. Yes, I said it.
- Go on a vacation with only my daughter
- Go on a vacation with only my son
Take the kids to Disney World
- Go to the beach at least once each year
- Learn how to barbecue without setting myself on fire
- Pet a big cat (jaguar, lion, tiger, cheetah, whatever) a cub will suffice
Go to the Grammy Awards
- Be quoted in the New York Times
- Receive an honorary degree from a prestigious university
- Find a papillon puppy for my daughter
- Go glamping
- Eat french fries in Belgium
- Stay overnight on Mont St. Michel
- Travel the Amalfi coast
Travel across France from Nice to Paris Travel across Tuscany Travel across Austria from Salzburg to Vienna Travel across Scotland from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye
- Attend the White Nights festival in Russia
- Have a dermatologist
See the Vatican
- Get a massage once a month for a year
Go to Banff and Lake Louise
- Attend the Super Bowl
- Belong to a bouquet of the month club.
Be a keynote speaker;Do it again. A lot.
- See a live volcano
- Live long enough to celebrate my 50th anniversary WITH my husband
- See my children graduate from college
Pass a law
- Finish my kids’ scrapbooks
- Ensure my children know how loved and cherished they are
- Host a social media women’s retreat at my mom’s house in the North Carolina mountains
- Build a beautiful small garden in the back yard of my new house
- Donate my grandmother’s Civil War papers to a Mississippi university
- Transfer my early videotapes of my first child to CD
Swim with dolphins
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