chipping away at the life list


IMG_0206 In November of 2010, I attended Camp Mighty.  We had homework to do before we arrived, and it was in the form of writing a life list; 100 things you would like to do during your life.  Boy, I had no idea the emotions it would stir up for me.  100 items is a lot to try to think about accomplishing in what we have left of our lives, and at the end I admittedly added some spot fillers just to get to 100 items.  Things like zip lining with the kids in a rainforest???  I saw that tonight and I honestly can’t even remember why I added the “in a rainforest” part.  To sound more adventurous?  Sure, I would like to visit a rainforest one day, but really I could die tomorrow, and having not visited a rainforest wouldn’t be my main regret.  At any rate, writing the list was daunting, a bit silly and fun to dream of these wild things, and also very emotional.

In some ways it helped to fine tune my dreams and desires for what I want my life to look like in 50 years, and it also helped me to realize that if I had to whittle that list down to 10 things, I could.  Some of those things aren’t items you can even put down in words as things to check off, but rather, take years of hard work and prayer and hope, and maybe even just some good old dumb luck to see realized.  And some of those things aren’t even in my control.  Things like raise happy and well adjusted kids, and watch them get married and have babies.  Have a passionate, loving and mutually fulfilling marriage.  Have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  These are the most important things to me, and the things I want the most out of life, but they most certainly aren’t things I can just mark down on a list and one day cross them off and call it good.  So as you take a look at my list below, many of the items I’ve listed are things that would hopefully help to lead to these really big ticket life items.

Shortly after I attended Camp Mighty, I got pregnant with Hayden, and as the realities of pregnancy and taking care of 2 busy children set in, the Life List got pushed to the back burner.  We still managed to unintentionally check off a couple of things last year, but in no way was I focused or ambitious in really trying to chip away at it.  A few days ago though I realized that this year I would like to start taking a stab at some of these items.  While many of my life list items are crazy and may never happen, or not be possible for many years, there are plenty of easy and very doable things that if I take the time and focus, can be accomplished over the next year.  So out of the almost 100 items below, the five I would like to try and tackle this year are: become flexible enough to do the splits (I’ve already started practicing below), donate hair to Locks Of Love, take the kids to an Angels game, organize digital photos, and perform at least 26 random acts of kindness. photo

I deleted a few of the items on my list tonight that just seem so out of place over a year after creating the initial list, and so I have some spots open to make it an even 100.  I’m leaving them open for now because I’d like to add some new ones reflective of our new family of 5.  And over the years I’m sure some other items will be added and deleted and I may look back on this list in 25 years and realize that half of these things are just silly.  But for now, this is where I am today.  My goal for this year is to enjoy life more.  For me that means slowing down a bit so that I can take the time to enjoy life more.  Plan some adventures, be intentional with how we spend our time as a family, as a couple and on my own.  Don’t let work or chores or ambitions stop me, and us, from living life.  I read this today and it sums up what I hope for this year, and I guess just life in general:
“I think the main intention that I’ve uncovered today though, is joy. The joy of being in the wild, of being with my loved ones, of being a family, of being by myself, of being healthy, of faith. I want to be more aware of the joy that is presented to me every day. It sounds simple, and fundamentally it is. Yet all too often I find myself breezing past a chance to feel joy, because I’m too caught up with what I’m missing, what I’m waiting for, what went wrong, what I’m worried about, other people’s messy emotional and physical lives.” from The Girl Who Married A Bear

This is the year I start taking this life list thing seriously.  How about you?  What do you wish for in 2013?  And if you have a life list, please share it!  I love reading others life lists, they’re so inspiring and thought provoking.

Teach my kids how to fish
Organize a family reunion
Throw my parents a big party to just say thanks
Visit all major museums in the US
Sublet a Manhattan apartment from Thanksgiving Day-New Years (parade, tree lighting & times square)
Stay on a ranch/farm
Take the kids zip lining
Teach kids how to snowboard/ski
Teach kids dirt bike riding (Art’s in charge of this one)
Go sledding in White Sands New Mexico with the kids
Make a family movie
Teach kids how to drive
Take kids to their first Angels game
Digitize all film & organize footage
Organize all digital photos
Hot air balloon ride
Create some sort of journal/book/photo album for each of the kids

Read the Bible cover to cover
Go on a Mission trip
Visit the Holy land
Have a 1 on 1 session with a Pastor & ask all the questions I’m afraid to ask in public
Attend Bible study on a regular basis & study all the books of the Bible
Visit my brother’s grave annually

Travel & Adventure
Visit all 58 of the US National Parks (Acadia, American Samoa, Arches, Badlands, Big Bend, Biscayne, Black Canyon of the Gunninson, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Carlsbad Caverns, Channel Islands, Congaree, Crater Lake National Park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Death Valley National Park, Denali, Dry Tortugas, Everglades, Gates of the Arctic, Glacier, Glacier Bay, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Great Basin, Great Sand Dunes, Great Smoky Mountains, Guadalupe Mountains, Haleakala, Hawaii Volcanoes, Hot Springs, Isle Royale, Joshua Tree, Katmai, Kenai, Kings Canyon, Kobuk, Lake Clark, Lassen Volcanic Park, Mammoth Cave Park, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Olympic, Petrified Forest, Redwood, Rocky Mountain, Saguaro, Sequoia, Shenandoah, Theodore Roosevelt, Virgin Islands, Voyageurs, Wind Cave, Wrangell-St. Elias, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion)
Live in New England for a year
African Safari
Great Britain
New Zealand
Swiss Alps
Visit all 50 states (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming)

Just For Fun
Learn a choreographed dance routine
Go to the Winter Olympics
Go to the Summer Olympics
Create a bottle of wine with my name on the label
Attend Sundance Film Festival
Attend Cannes
Get teeth professionally whitened
Go to an NFL game
Own an acre of land, somewhere, anywhere
Watch 100 Best Movies of All Time (AFI’s 10th Anniversary edition)
Own a 2nd home for vacationing

Run another half marathon
Become flexible enough to do the splits
Learn self defense
Complete a 1 month detox
Go to a wellness spa

Write a screenplay with my husband
Attend a marriage and counseling seminar with husband to have a kick ass marriage
Renew my vows
Celebrate 50 years of marriage
Go on a romantic vacation just the two of us
Finish the book we’ve had for a long time

Charitable Causes
Donate time together as a family
Donate hair to Locks of Love
Start a Love 146 task force in Orange County/Long Beach area
Dedicate time consistently to a charitable organization
Raise & Donate at least $2000 in a year to charitable causes (besides tithing)
Build a house with Habitat for Humanity
Donate money anonymously
Perform at least 26 Random Acts of Kindness

Home Ec
Grow flowers from bulbs
Make homemade pasta
Create & maintain organized files/records
Maintain the 20 minute rule
Make authentic Spanish paella from scratch
Make sopapillas like my Grandma used to make
Learn to make Chile Rellenos
Master a basic pie pastry recipe
Create a working office/craft room
DIY an office desk
Invest in a quality sewing machine
Pay off mortgage
Get all ducks in a row for financial investments

Personal/Professional Development
Learn to speak fluent Spanish
Learn to play the piano
Grow a blog to a successful level
Take a photography class
Take a graphic design class
Learn Photoshop well enough so I don’t need Art’s help
Read at least 50 of the books on the 100 Classics List of All Times (between the US/UK versions)
Take an art class
Take a religious studies class
Take an advanced sewing class
Take a jewelry making class

Andrea is the founder of For The Love Of, a lifestyle blog dedicated to approachable, modern living. She writes about style, her love of DIY, and living a healthier life through wholesome, nutritious cooking. She is also a regular contributor at Babble. Get in touch: Facebook, Twitter You can find Andrea on Instagram @andreavhowe and @gwynethmademedoit

  • amber says:

    oh this has got my wheels turning! I have had an itch in the back of my brain to write a similar list but it seemed kind of daunting!
    Now I’m excited to give it a whirl!
    A few of mine would be
    – take the kids to the San Diego Zoo,Wild Animal Park & Sea World
    – weekly date night w/ my hubby
    – get bold with my writing
    – publish a novella
    – become a published author
    – set up parent/kid dates for each one individually
    – take the kids to see the Grand Canyon
    – go to Italy

    ya know….just to name a few

    • Andrea says:

      Those are all awesome items! Get one started, it’s fun if you try to not reach a certain number right away. Just start one and add to it as you go and think of new ones!

  • Erica W says:

    I also revisited my life-list at the end of the year. You’re right about some items feeling silly and just thrown in to get to 100, I tried to let go of that and just have a list of stuff that was actually important to me. revisit listed here:

  • KateB says:

    I can’t believe it’s been that long since you wrote the list. I remember reading about it way back when! Some really great items on your list and I like your suggestion to not hit a certain number. 78 significant items is better than 100 created with a lot of fluff. I think I will finally start my list. Going to do it on my iPhone so I can add them as the ideas come to me while I am out and about. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Laura says:

    Now is the time to plant your flower bulbs … … in case you want to go ahead and cross that one off too 🙂

  • Anne Bogel says:

    I have been meaning to write something similar–a “list of 100 dreams”–for a few months now, but haven’t gotten to it yet. Thanks for reminding me (and encouraging me to make it a priority).

    I’m happy to see that now you want to visit all 50 states and not just 48! Come see me in Kentucky and we’ll wear big hats and go to the Derby. It’ll make a TERRIFIC style post! Hey, you could blog for weeks about Derby fashion–it’s insane. (From haute style to the ridiculous.)

  • Traci says:

    love the organize digital photos one! that is big on my list. I need to make one of these after my January Cure from Apartment Therapy. One task at a time.
    I see you have “create a working office/craft room”…i believe that may be done:)

  • Catherine says:

    Yes yes yes you should come to New Zealand. I am a reader and Facebook subscriber from New Zealand and fiercely proud of my homeland. It is a beautiful country with so much to offer but make sure you spend enough time here there is so much to see!

  • Gina says:

    I thought of you and your list when I saw this:

    There’s a mobile app, you begin whenever you want, and you choose the version you like. 😉 I’ve read through the Bible once and really want to do it again. Maybe this is the year. 🙂

  • Gina says:

    P.S. I think I’m going to read it Chronologically. They’ll line up books/verses in order of when it happened.

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