My Life List

4 May

A few summers ago, I found myself shiftless and unemployed, having recently quit my job at the Center for the Homeless to go to law school, and then deciding not to go to law school after all. I was thinking a lot about what I wanted to do in life and what would give me personal fulfillment, so I started a Life List.

A friend recently mentioned that the movie The Bucket List was playing here in Cairo, which is about two dying men crossing off their lists of things to do before they die. This made me think of my own Life List and I searched the house looking for the scrap of paper where I’d started writing goals down several years ago. I realized that since writing it, I’ve actually fulfilled a few items. I thought I’d share my Life List with you. The checked red items are in progress or done.

• Write and publish a book – children’s book, travel book, novel, anything will do really
• Visit Alaska
• Learn to play classical guitar well – I took a class last year and got up to a few basic songs and playing the blues but I’m not to “well” yet
Get my black belt – I’m at purple right now and on hiatus for a while
• Get a graduate degree
√ Be published in a magazine – I was just published in Sunstone Magazine’s January issue with a blog post I wrote here and on By Common Consent. When I put this on my Life List, I was thinking more of journalist-type writing than creative writing, but hey, I’ll take it. It was pretty cool to see my name in print.
• Master a full meal for every major ethnic food category – I’m talking appetizer, soup/salad, main course + sides, and dessert. I can do snippets here and there, but I’m nowhere near completion. I may sign up for a Thai cooking class this month, so hopefully I can get a move on this.
√ Show paintings in a show – accomplished at Art Beat 2006 in South Bend. I only sold one painting, but it was still fun. I’m showing a whole new set at an art bazaar here in Cairo at the end of this month. I’ll let you know how that goes.
√ Wear a Notre Dame shirt in Ireland – accomplished August 2007
• Learn to scuba dive
• Have a darkroom in my home
• Teach my kids to love books
• Write a family history
• Learn how to surf
• Do community theater
• Make a coffetable book of photos that I’ve taken
• Start an internet business
Keep a travel journal with every place I’ve visited – so far so good. I even had Rick Steves autograph it when I met him. He signed the page that mentioned us dropping his guidebook down the side of a hill in Assisi and running after it.
• Be able to look at things and say “I can make that”
• Have a warm, welcoming home
√ Visit the Holy Land – we want to go back though since we didn’t have time to go north to Galilee
• Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
√ Never go a day without saying I love you to every person in my family
√ Learn to sail – accomplished summer 2006, haven’t done it since
• See the aurora borealis
• Take an Americana roadtrip – I’ve been planning this one for years. I’ll hit all the states (not at once, this can be broken up over several roadtrips) and visit things like giant balls of yarn and the best cornbread in the country, etc. The pictures would make a good subject for my coffeetable photography book.
• Go to a black tie event where I have to wear a gown
• Work on a political campaign – you’d think I would have done this one by now
• Learn to throw pottery – and not just at the wall
• Watch the AFI top ten movies of all time: Citizen Kane, Casablanca √, The Godfather√, Gone With the Wind √, Lawrence of Arabia √, The Wizard of Oz √, The Graduate, On the Waterfront, Schindler’s List, and Singing in the Rain √.
• Learn to bake a good loaf of bread
• Have a romantic trip to Paris – the last one was, shall we say, not so romantic. We need a do-over.
• Visit a glass blowing factory on Murano (Italy)
• Have an extensive collection of spices and know how to use them
• Learn to play piano with both hands
• Go to Machu Picchu
• Rent a Vespa in Europe
√ Have an herb garden – accomplished in South Bend. It was great to go out back and grab a handful of herbs to throw into dinner. Of course, it would have helped if I’d labeled where I’d planted what seeds. Once they started to sprout, I was out there with pictures from Wikipedia trying to figure out what was what.
• Visit Greek islands
√ and finally….See a pyramid! – on my list, I write “a” pyramid, rather than “the” pyramids because I wanted to be realistic and didn’t think I’d actually ever make it all the way to Egypt, so I was willing to settle for pyramids in Mexico. Little did I know.

Speaking of which, here is video of us inside the pyramid at Dashur last week. Video evidence of a Life List item crossed off.

Sooo, what’s on your Life List?


11 Responses to “My Life List”

  1. jeff carrier May 4, 2008 at 11:13 pm #

    You totally accomplished the “warm, welcoming home” in South Bend, I loved coming over to your house. I totally want to go on an Americana Trip too. Also, you can see glass blowing at the museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. That could be apart of your Americana trip. Some of the things on my list are: get published, watch the top 10 greatest movies of all time according to IMDB, I’ve seen 7 already, Watch some films off of IMDB’s bottom 100 list, I’ve seen 1 or 2 already, graduate from college, beat my brother Chris at a video-game…any video-game, visit Iceland, go to 10 live concerts, I’ve been to 5 already, Tom Waits, Sigur Ros, Blue Man Group, Amiina, and Vampire Weekend, participate in an Improv Everywhere skit, run/walk a marathon. Thats all I can think of on the spot. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Kay May 5, 2008 at 3:36 am #

    Jeff already stole my comment about the “warm welcoming home”. You accomplish that by being warm and welcoming people which you are. Pretty impressive list. I’m amazed at what you have accomplished so far and you have a lot to look forward to!

  3. tracy m May 6, 2008 at 7:49 am #

    Oh, wow- you make me want to go dig out my long lost list and see how I’m doing, too.

    Love the video- and I love these little peeks into your life- I know most of the people who read here are your family, and sometimes I feel a little odd commenting, but, well, obviously not so odd as to refrain… 🙂

    I love that you met Rick Steves- his travel shows on PBS always suck me in, and I’ve wasted many a saturday dreaming about the Cinque-tierra…

    I didn’t know you are an artist!!

    I’ve done some of the things on your list, and still want to do some- Machu Pichu and Nazca are on my list, and well…

    Learn to throw pottery
    Learn some basic carpentry
    Take cooking classes at a real culinary school
    Write and have published a book- (I did the Sunstone thing too, and it was thrilling to see “author”)
    Get my family, all of us, to the Temple
    Have that house everyone likes to be at-
    To be at ease with myself

  4. angela michelle May 7, 2008 at 6:10 am #

    Hey–I just found you via Dandelion Mama–I’m married to Mark Qshurst-McGee who did the Bushman fellowship with Patrick and has been in love with him ever since. We sat with you at the MHA dinner…last year? the year before?

    I’ve never made a life list. Other than the basic raise happy, righteous children, travel the world, and attain salvation, my life goal is to write THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL. Also, I recently did crow pose in yoga, which has been a goal for quite some time.

  5. Melissa May 7, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    The great American novel? Puh-lease! Can’t you set your goals a little higher??

    Of course I remember you. Glad you found us!

  6. Dre May 7, 2008 at 5:07 pm #

    I totally agree with Jeff and Kay about your warm, welcoming home. Every time I’ve stayed with you, I’ve marveled at your ease in entertaining. You are very “Mary” and I am oh so “Martha”, worrying about table linen, centerpieces, napkin folding, and oh yeah, the food (which is ALWAYS delicious in your home). You have taught me much, dear daughter.

  7. jen38 May 7, 2008 at 6:08 pm #

    Wow! That is an incredible list Michelle!

    Inside the middle of a pyramid; that is mind blowingly cool. How do like living in Egypt? My Brother in Law just accepted a teaching job in Cairo. I hope to sometime travel to visit him there.

    Best wishes and thanks for sharing your list!


  8. Melissa DM May 7, 2008 at 7:12 pm #

    Oh modest, modest LeAnn. Those Martha Stewart comparisions you get? They ain’t because of your insider trading. And all the good food I make? I’ll let everyone in on the secret. It comes from one of two holy grail sources: your recipebook, or The New Best Recipe Cookbook. I believe that you, dear lady, are truly the master.

    Jen, Egypt has its good days and its bad days. Overall we like it though. It’s great to feel adventurous even if you’re just going about everyday mundane life. Where is your BIL going to teach?

  9. Norris Hall May 8, 2008 at 7:47 pm #

    If you don’t make it to that thai cooking class try this
    It’s got about 30 recipes each one with a cooking video to go along

  10. Melissa CArter May 13, 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    Melissa, I LOVED this post! How inspiring and interesting and fun you are! I love that you don’t hold back. I’ve made a “Where I Want To Be in 5 years List”- uh, that was 5 years ago, and I was pretty safe about what I put on it.

    Have a great day and have fun working on the rest of your list! (I’m off to go work on mine now)…

  11. Kelly May 15, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    Rick Steves? Holy Moly. He’s on my list. And I need to meet him like you did, out on the travels, and not at one of those lame PBS sponsered events for old people. Not that I know anything about those….

    P.S. Like your blog

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