Mighty Life List
Things To Do Before I Go
My Mighty Life List has been sponsored by amazing companies like Intel and Verizon, and has inspired hundreds of readers to make their own lists. If you're interested in sponsoring one of my goals, drop me a line at maggie at mighty girl dot com. If you've made a list of your own, please send it to me. I love reading them.

Go dog sledding | Safari in Africa | Get Scuba certified. | See the salmon run in Alaska | Ride a camel in the desert | Pyramids at sunset | Tango in a milonga | Cross the Canadian border | See Cuba | Have a croissant at a French cafe | Try escargot | Take a road trip across the U.S. | Have an exceptional time in Greece | Whiskey at a pub in Ireland | Linguica in Portugal | Open a Swiss bank account in Switzerland | Stay in the ice hotel | Visit that church made entirely of bones | Make butterscotch from scratch | Go on a multi-day biking trip | Fund and finish my art project/store | Gather a few dozen people to blow bubbles from the Golden Gate Bridge | Attend the San Francisco Black and White Ball | Grow vegetables | Learn to roll in a kayak | Write a novel | Be conversational in seven languages: 1. English 2. Spanish 3. French | Set foot on all seven continents: 1. Africa, 2. Antarctica, 3. Asia, 4. Australia, 5. Europe, 6. North America, 7. South America | Set foot in all fifty states | Help someone get into or through college | Stand atop the Great Wall of China | Stand inside the Taj Mahal | Host a party when the fruit trees bloom | Go clamming again | Do two pull ups | Go berry picking | Meet Ms. Winfrey | Have a dog again | Take tap dancing lessons | Ride through the Panama Canal | Make my own perfume | Redesign Mighty Girl | Take Hank camping | Make a peaceful living space | Institute chocolate and champagne Wednesdays | Tithe | Do a "10 Things You Don't Know About Women" feature for Esquire | Attend TED | Give $100 to a violin-playing busker | Wear a large hat at the Kentucky Derby | Taste 1,000 Fruits: 100 and counting! | Sparklers with Hank? Check. | Get in the habit of grand loving gestures: 40 Gifts for Bryan's 40th | Live in a house with a window seat | Go parasailing (Not paragliding) | Have a portrait done of myself in the style of a portrait of my grandmother | Swim with bioluminescent plankton in Puerto Rico | Attend Loy Krathong, the sky lantern festival in Thailand | Ring a church bell | Attend services at Glide Memorial | Take photos of the little girls twirling outside the Nutcracker | Organize a retreat | Rewire a lamp | Use my work to improve lives | Form a workplace with people I love | Repay the woman who let me live with her in college | Participate in a giant food fight | Know San Francisco like the back of my hand: Crown a favorite burrito • Take five tours: 1. Market St. Tour, 2. Palace Hotel Tour • Finish 7×7’s Big Eats Top 100 • Make my own list of the hundred best things to eat • Choose the fifty best cocktails • Choose my fifty favorite shops • Photograph all the public libraries: Anza, Bayview, Bernal Heights, Chinatown, Eureka Valley, Excelsior, Glen Park, Golden Gate Valley Branch, Ingleside, Main, , Marina, Merced, Mission, Mission Bay, Noe Valley, North Beach, Ocean View, Ortega, Park, Parkside, Portola, Potrero Branch, Presidio, Richmond, Sunset, Visitacion Valley, West Portal, Western Addition • See the view from Coit Tower • Write up mini guides to the main neighborhoods • Choose my top ten things to do when you visit | Pretend we've had a power outage | Go a day without speaking | Plant a tiny orchard | Write another book | Watch Hank eat his first ice cream cone | Write thank you notes to my teachers | Own land | Throw a block party | Remove money as a concern | Write a million dollar check to a charity | Help decorate Hank's bike for a neighborhood parade | Take a two-week vacation without computers | Get my health issues in hand: Allergist visit • oral surgery • acupuncture for hives and carpal tunnel • vitamins • more exercise | Zip line through a canopy | Lemonade on the front porch swing, warm summer night | Finish up or give up all the unfinished projects in the house | Play imaginary games with the kiddo | Buy a stock on my own | Make a quilt of Hank's jammies | Make 1,000 lovely things: 1. Pink ruffle sweater, 2. A Cake for Michelle, 3,4.fishy and jellyfish Costumes, 5. wax paper snowflakes, 6. Sidewalk Chalk Party Favors, 7. Paper Flower Party Hats, 8. bourbon cherries | Dinner at the French Laundry | Finish the baby book | Christen a boat | Read or attempt every book on the book list I started in high school | Remove toxins from our food and environment | Attend La Tomatina in Spain (August) | Plant bulbs in a public space | Have a family portrait taken | See a glacier in Antarctica | Live in another country for a year | Do one of Miranda July's projects | Wear a sequin bikini to Carnival. | Go on a night dive with the manta rays in Hawaii | Make a font | Spend the night in a bookstore | Sleep in a treehouse | Take a drawing class | Learn to use my camera | Throw 100 parties: 1. Fall Dinner Party | Enter a swing dance competition | Live in a converted barn with a view of the ocean | Create an office that cradles me | Start an annual event | Have a holi color fight | Movie night on the deck | Go shelling | Do a two-finger whistle for a cab | Listen to 1,000 new songs | Do something big you thought you'd never do (write a novel, compete in a triathalon) | Summit Kilimanjaro | Stand up bass or guitar lessons | Take Hank to Disneyland | See 1,000 bands play live | Make a gorgeous tea pantry | 365 thank you notes | 100 bathtubs | Try 100 cocktails: 1. Shots in 'Cots, 2. Avocado Bourbon Shake, 3. The Vacation, 4. Sassy Lassi, 5. Cherry Bing, 6. The ABC, 7. Toddy Shots 8. Cafe Picante 9. Gin and Juice (Box) 10. The Neighbor 11. Halloween Spiked Punch

Mar 31 2014

Go Mighty: Worth It Challenge

There are activities on my Life List I expect will be rewarding — doing something scary, traveling, volunteering for baby-saving activities, that kind of thing.

I did not expect that removing hair from my legs for thirty days would be one of the Rewarding Things. It started as an effort to do more small things that make me happy. And while this project isn’t exactly going on my résumé, it has had a surprising impact on my day-to-day contentment… read the rest of Shaving my Legs for 30 Days? Worth it on Go Mighty.

If you like this post, you might also like:

How Liz used Pinterest to get her reading lists organized. I now want to do this.
Desiree on accomplishing your life’s goal, but not your life’s work.
Katherine is all about Punk Rope, which is apparently a thing?
Paige in praise of getting your butt out of bed.
And Camille thinks you should visit the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

Go Mighty members have been recommending Life List ideas as part of our Worth It Challenge. Let us know what you’ve done that was worthwhile by tagging one of your stories #worthit.

Mar 19 2014

What it Means to be Cool

Image by Juan Ignacio Videla

A while ago, my friend Greg Knauss wrote an essay about what he calls The Empathy Vacuum. An excerpt:

“A few years ago, a photo made the rounds. It was taken from the back, its subject unaware. He was a fat guy wearing a jeans-jacket, and on the back he had stenciled the name of his heavy metal band. It was a sloppy and amateurish job. The photo earned a lot of mocking comments in my circle, including from me. Ha ha, look at the fat guy with the rock-and-roll pretensions. Look at him. Looooook.

And then someone said, ‘I think he’s awesome. He’s found something he loves, and he thinks it’s great enough to share with the world. This guy is a hero.’”

This is a change I’ve been feeling in myself for years. Admiration for people who are deeply enthusiastic, and less interest in the detached nature of “being cool.”

I think there’s a cultural shift happening toward enthusiasm and away from apathy. Our team at Go Mighty even has a term for it that I’ll talk about more next week. For now, I’m curious about whether your notions of cool have shifted too.

This concept was part of my entrepreneurship keynote at Square’s Open for Business. I’ll be fleshing out more points from my talk here over the next couple of weeks.

Mar 14 2014

Life List Inspiration from Go Mighty

So much good stuff on Go Mighty.

Susan Hall leaves for Port Au Prince in April.
Katherine Hill is gathering kneepads, elbow pads, a mouth guard, wrist guards, a helmet, a little cash, and an outsized indifference to bruising.
The Irish Countrywomen’s Association taught Jan to knit. Of course they did.
Amy Boyer is revamping her site, starting with one of her favorite things.
Ilysia Van Deren is tackling a bunch of great food goals: her dream birthday cake, and latte art, and sushi rolling.
Bonnie goes back to school this Fall. Huge congratulations, friend.

I don’t say this enough, but if you have a Life List on Go Mighty, thank you so much for helping us build this community of accomplishment and celebration. It’s fulfilling reading everyone’s hopes, and seeing the actions you’re taking to make them real.

If you’re new here, Go Mighty is our Life List community where we plot together and cheer each other on. If you’re the list making type, go make one for yourself. See you there.

Jan 16 2014

6 Tips for Editing Your Life List

Editing your Life List isn’t cheating, it’s growth. I know some people feel like their Life Lists are set in stone, and presumably those people are still saving for the tribal band tattoo they wanted when they were fifteen.

Every year or so, I go through my Life List and make sure it still makes sense for me. A few of the ways I approach the editing process:

1. Break goals down.
“Become conversational in seven languages” has been one of my favorite goals. So erudite! So chatty! But I’m stalled. I currently speak English and Spanish. I keep saying that “someday” I will tackle the rest. Someday what? Someday I’m going to sit down and learn five more languages in an evening? Maybe on a Tuesday in 2023?

So I changed the goal to, “Learn French.” I have, in fact, taken French classes. I have also been to France, and would like to return. Hence, I will learn more French until I can have a conversation. And once I do, we can talk about those other four languages. In French, si vous préférez.

2. Make symbolic goals more tangible.
“Buy stock on my own” was on my list, because to me it was a symbolic marker of someone who had their shit together financially. Turns out I don’t want to know how to buy stock. I do not care. I want to keep my checking account balanced, and know I’m on track for retirement. New goal? “Get my financial life in order.”

3. Consolidate.
“Get organized and own less crap” is the same as “Become a tidy person,” in my mind. But the latter is what I actually want.

I don’t want to clean out my apartment, I want to change my relationship to material things. So I kept “Become a tidy person,” and added organization and closet clearing to the sub-list.

4. Examine your motives.
I tried “Start a daily meditation practice” and it didn’t stick, but I don’t feel too worried about it. I deleted the goal because the whole point of meditating was to worry less anyway? So it worked. Everyone should try meditation.

I also had “Write 365 thank you notes” on my list, because I wanted to get back into the practice of writing them. Gratitude makes you happier, and more evolved, and increases muscle tone. Read the studies.

Anyway, I didn’t feel excited about it. Turns out I just like to think of friends finding real mail in their mailboxes. So I changed my goal to “Send 365 pieces of real mail.” And now I’m all set up for success. Stamps!

5. Speak for yourself.
Hank was really into robots for about three weeks, and we decided to make a robot zine together. I added it to my list, because awesome. Then when I sat us down to do it? He was into it for 10 minutes. So instead of forcing him to draw robots as some sort punitive exercise for being an indecisive six year old, I removed it from my list. Zen parenting, om.

6. Own up.
One of the questions I ask myself is, “Do I want to do this, or do I want to say I’ve done it?” Often it’s the latter. Case in point? Multi-day biking trip. Would I do it? Sure. If someone showed up at my door and said, “I have arranged an all-expenses-paid biking trip, Maggie Mason! Here is your bike. I have packed your bags and your food and lodging await.”

Rad. I shall pull on some spandex forthwith!

But. Assuming that doesn’t happen, do I want to go on a biking trip enough to plan it myself — or spend a year pitching it to potential backers? Do I want to spend a lot of money on an adequate bicycle, recruit friends, arrange for lodging and food, set aside vacation time, find child care?

No. I will never do that. Delete.

Have you edited your list recently, or did you have it tattooed on your person? If so, pics please. And if you don’t have a Life List yet, you should make one on Go Mighty, which is our community site. Come hang out.

Jan 15 2014

Go Mighty: Life List Inspiration

- Every time I try to do this, I pass out.

- Could you go a year without buying new clothes? Kellee Bryan did it, Amy Rood is currently pining for cute shoes. I need to cut my closet by at least half, but don’t have the nerve yet.

- Eleven down, eighty nine to go. Man. I love Jenny Stockton.

Jan 10 2014

How to Make a Rubber Egg

Hank’s Rubber Egg Experiment over on Go Mighty

Is it awesome or is it gross? Why can’t it be both? Must we put everything in boxes?

Jan 3 2014

Mighty Thirst: Pineapple Crush

Sometimes you want a little snack with your drink.

1/4 Cup pineapple
1 Shot Vodka
Cream Soda

Chop up your pineapple until it’s the size you want for biting. You can also freeze it or use frozen pineapple to ice the drink, or blend the fruit with a little water if you want more pineapple flavor and a slushy texture. Add your preferred pineapple format to the glass, pour vodka over, top with Cream Soda to taste and give it a little stir.

Now turn your heater all the way up, and go find your sunglasses. Ah. Hawaii in January.

I’m making 100 cocktails as part of my Life List. Here are a few of the others:

Toddy Shots
Café Picante