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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.
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?
Sometimes you want a little snack with your drink.
1/4 Cup pineapple
1 Shot Vodka
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: