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Katherine’s Life List: Croatia, Camels and Barbecue

life listThis 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

  1. Get Postpartum Progress in the top three search results on Google for “postpartum depression” … because, REALLY
  2. Speak at the California Women’s Conference
  3. Go to the White House to discuss women’s mental health and create a proactive plan
  4. Live close to my children when they are adults
  5. Run a 5k
  6. Have grandchildren
  7. Celebrate my 30th anniversary with my husband at the Chicago Historical Museum, where we were married
  8. Go on a luxury safari in Africa with my family
  9. Take the kids to Paris
  10. Testify before Congress about women’s mental health
  11. 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
  12. Go to Croatia (especially Dubrovnik)
  13. Go to Istanbul and stay at the Ciragan Palace Hotel
  14. Go to Santorini
  15. Go dog sledding
  16. Finish my damn girlfriend’s guide to PPD
  17. Eat at the French Laundry and Per Se
  18. Be able to pay for my kids to go to any college or university of their choice
  19. Raise the money necessary to create a national awareness campaign for postpartum depression
  20. Go to Santa Fe, New Mexico
  21. Go to Sedona, Arizona and stay at a fancy resort
  22. Take the family to a dude ranch
  23. Increase the percentage of women who get treated for PPD from 15 percent to 50 percent
  24. See the Pyramids
  25. See the Taj Mahal and stay in one of the Oberoi Hotels
  26. See the Aurora Borealis
  27. Go to New Orleans, Charleston, Savannah, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, DC, Martha’s Vineyard, Las Vegas
  28. Go to Paris, Florence, Rome, Prague, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Budapest, Bangkok, Dublin, Barcelona, London, Edinburgh, Athens, Hong Kong, Krakow, Sydney, Venice, Amsterdam
  29. Speak at the TED Women’s Conference
  30. Visit at least 7 Caribbean islands (so far I’ve been to Anguilla, Antigua and Paradise Island)
  31. Vacation in a castle in Ireland
  32. Take the kids on vacation to New York City
  33. Take the kids on vacation to Washington DC
  34. Celebrate Christmas in the Swiss Alps
  35. See the Alhambra in Grenada, Spain
  36. See Angkor Wat
  37. See Petra in Jordan
  38. Take the kids to San Diego
  39. Go to Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz Festival
  40. Attain Delta Frequent Flyer Platinum Status
  41. Learn how to make flawless macaroons
  42. Learn how to properly apply fake eyelashes
  43. Go on a Northern Baltic cruise to St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Tallinn and Stockholm
  44. Learn how to do updos — I have tons of hair and no idea
  45. Go to the Olympics
  46. Learn how to wear a scarf fabulously
  47. Get my teeth fixed
  48. Go scuba diving
  49. See the 4th of July fireworks in DC on the National Mall
  50. Ride a camel
  51. Take the kids on a Disney cruise
  52. Get Botox. Yes, I said it.
  53. Go on a vacation with only my daughter
  54. Go on a vacation with only my son
  55. Take the kids to Disney World
  56. Go to the beach at least once each year
  57. Learn how to barbecue without setting myself on fire
  58. Pet a big cat (jaguar, lion, tiger, cheetah, whatever) a cub will suffice
  59. Go to the Grammy Awards
  60. Be quoted in the New York Times
  61. Receive an honorary degree from a prestigious university
  62. Find a papillon puppy for my daughter
  63. Go glamping
  64. Eat french fries in Belgium
  65. Stay overnight on Mont St. Michel
  66. Travel the Amalfi coast
  67. Travel across France from Nice to Paris
  68. Travel across Tuscany
  69. Travel across Austria from Salzburg to Vienna
  70. Travel across Scotland from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye
  71. Attend the White Nights festival in Russia
  72. Have a dermatologist
  73. See the Vatican
  74. Get a massage once a month for a year
  75. Go to Banff and Lake Louise
  76. Attend the Super Bowl
  77. Belong to a bouquet of the month club.
  78. Be a keynote speaker; Do it again. A lot.
  79. See a live volcano
  80. Live long enough to celebrate my 50th anniversary WITH my husband
  81. See my children graduate from college
  82. Pass a law
  83. Finish my kids’ scrapbooks
  84. Ensure my children know how loved and cherished they are
  85. Host a social media women’s retreat at my mom’s house in the North Carolina mountains
  86. Build a beautiful small garden in the back yard of my new house
  87. Donate my grandmother’s Civil War papers to a Mississippi university
  88. Transfer my early videotapes of my first child to CD
  89. Swim with dolphins

Photo credit: © www.doglikehorse.com – Fotolia.com

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