Mighty Life List
Sep 27 2012

Mighty Summit 2012

• Attend a state dinner
• Take breakdancing lessons
• Learn to apply false eyelashes

The best thing about Mighty Summit is reading everyone’s Life Lists. It’s like speed dating for your brain.

Though reading everyone’s posts afterward is a close second:

“We stayed at Boon Hotel + Spa for the weekend. The air up there was just so clean. I felt like I could breathe deeper.” - Meg Biram of Mimi+Meg

• Have a sexy marriage
• Own 200 dresses
• Help someone through college

Reading someone’s goals gives me the same thrill I used to get when I first started reading personal websites in the early days of the Internet. You get to know about someone before you dive into knowing them for real. It gives you so many good places to start, so many chances to find their most sympathetic side.

“Each woman at Mighty Summit brought a life list. 100 or so things she wanted to accomplish over her lifetime. And on our last day together we picked five that we want to tackle in the next year. It sounds like it could be a little hippie-dippie woo-woo (and we all know I’m totally hippie-dippie woo-woo) but it was truly powerful.” – Kathleen Shannon of Braid Creative


“There is power in sharing your goals, in being vulnerable, and frankly, in being willing to fail. To really live out our dreams, we need to be prepared for the possibility that we won’t achieve them. It’s easy to make a list of things we can easily do (and there’s a need for that too), but to get to the heart of the matter, we need to dive in, leave fear behind, and say what we really, really want.” – Elizabeth Stark of Brooklyn Supper

• See North Korea
• Own a popcorn machine
• Take up barefoot running

It’s scary speaking your hopes out loud. I used to worry that I’d fail to achieve something I said I wanted. Or oddly, I worried that I would succeed, which means you can no longer define yourself by your struggle for a particular dream. What does it mean once you’ve written the book, had the kid, climbed the mountain? What next?

• Renovate a barn
• Drive a stick shift
• Be a junior member of the Explorer’s Club

Hoping for these things suggests that you deserve them. You never know how the people around you will react to that, or even how you will. I think that’s why so many people disdain this kind of emotional exercise. It’s easier to laugh at the idea of improving yourself, or your lot, than it is to face the terrifying vulnerability of claiming something better for yourself, and then attempting it.


“…as we went around the circle sharing dreams and goals of all scales of magnitude — the redwoods towering over us in an appropriately protective fashion — one by one, deep breaths were taken, souls were bared, vulnerabilities shared, help asked for. And 30 women became stronger by way of dipping their toes (sometimes their whole body) into a pool of vulnerability.” – Christine Koh of Boston Mamas


“The whole retreat was a perfect mix of socialization and thoughtful contemplation.” - Catie Nienaber of Cuffington

Talking about Life Lists is filling for me. It’s an exercise in trust, and an education in possibility.


“I left Might Summit with a better sense of self than I’ve had in quite some time. Goals clearly outlined, plans written down, proposals in the works.” – Kelly Beall of Design Crush

So what are you hoping for yourself? Who can help get you there? And if you had to choose, just five things to knock off your life list this year, what would they be?

Jun 15 2010

Worth the Wait

Hank: Dad, I need a rainbow.
Dad: Hmm. How can we get that?
Hank: Mom. Let’s be right back. Need to get a rainbow.
Me: OK, let’s go to look out the window.
Hank: I don’t see a rainbow.
Me: A lot of times, you have to wait for a rain, and then the sun comes, and you see a rainbow.
Hank: Hmm. Let’s wait for it to come.
Me: OK.

Apr 12 2010

Before I Die I Want to… Project

The Before I Die I Want to… Project collects polaroids of people as they state their wish, then asks them to write it down and send it in.

If you’d like to participate by sending in photos, you’ll find detailed information here.

(Thanks, Karen. You always send the best stuff my way.)

Jul 24 2009

Taste 1,000 Fruits: No. 65. Starfruit

This is a starfruit.

The flavor is light, more like a perfume than a solid taste. They’re juicy, citrusy with a slightly tangy aftertaste. The texture is like less crunchy celery, if celery didn’t have strings.

Taste 1,000 Fruits is on my Mighty Life List, so Intel paid for my starfruit. Thanks, guys.

Jul 3 2009

Take tap lessons? Check.

My favorite thing about this video is how gobsmacked I look at the end of each section I complete. After the 50-second mark, it’s all celebratory improvisation, so please don’t blame Mr. Kloss for my lack of form.

Ready? Let’s do this thing:

Next time? Sparklers.

Ed note: Intel is making my site more interesting by sponsoring my Mighty Life List over the next few months. Things will be a little hectic over here for a while.

Jul 2 2009

Mighty Life List: Take tap dance lessons.

This is my tap dance teacher, John Kloss. Doesn’t he look hopeful? If you refuse to look hopeful while tap dancing, they pry the taps off your shoes, and point sternly at the studio door. Then they kick you on your way out.

See? Earnest! He’s a professional.

Anyway, Mr. Kloss is the founder of the Bay Area Tap Festival, and he teaches beginner drop-in classes on Wednesday nights at City Dance. I took one — it was the very first time I’d ever put on tap shoes. I quickly realized that I needed an accelerated course, because my plan was to re-launch Mighty Girl with a little tap routine. I had visions of sparklers! And a humorous, sequined tappy outfit!

In retrospect, my vision was overly ambitious (surprise), but Mr. Kloss graciously agreed to meet me on Sunday to teach me a routine. I then spent eleven hours practicing between Sunday and Tuesday. I lost like three pounds, and I’m also so sore I can’t hold the TV remote without whimpering.

Mr. Kloss had a very good sense of humor about my plan, and I did manage to record something on Tuesday. I am not wearing spandex (disappointment!), but I did get all the way through the routine without crying. I’ll post the video tomorrow, so you can enjoy my very stern tap face.

If you need me, I’ll be in an ice bath.

Intel is making my site more interesting by sponsoring my life list over the next few months. So they paid for my tap shoes and studio time. Thanks, Intel!

Jun 29 2009

Turns Out My Fairy Godmother Wears a Clean-Suit


Attend San Francisco’s Black and White Ball.

As many of you know, about a year ago I started writing down 100 things I’d like to do before I die — peacefully, in my sleep, of extreme old age. I called it my Mighty Life List, and I wrote it because I wanted to start dreaming bigger.


Taste 1,000 Fruits.

I was embarrassed by the list’s audacity, worried some of you might think I was cheesy, or maybe overreaching if I told you my plans. That’s silly, of course, because I’ve noticed over the years that you guys are nice. You make it lovely to write here every day, and doing that has helped me realize I want to spend more time celebrating, and less time slogging.


Cross the Canadian Border.

I made the list, changed things here and there, gradually started crossing things off, and then my life took a turn for the surreal.


Make 1,000 lovely things.

Intel has decided to sponsor my life list.

I told you your jaw would hit the floor. I’ve known for months, and my brain is still catching up. So! How did this happen? I’ll tell you the full story in a couple of days, but here’s the gyst.

Intel started this Sponsors of Tomorrow campaign, it’s the one you’ve seen on The Tonight Show, and the one with the geek rockstar ads that have been making rounds online. As part of the campaign, they asked me to choose ten things I thought I could accomplish in the next three months, and then told me to go do them — they’d pick up the check.

Cut to me at the Oscar podium dipping Halle Barry and kissing her full on the mouth.

And so, Mighty Girl is about to get more interesting, and slightly more frantic. My designer friend Helen Jane Hearn came out of blog-design retirement to help me with a beloved new look for Mighty Girl, which will launch Wednesday. I will not be sleeping between now and then.

Next week, I leave for Puerto Rico to swim with bioluminescent plankton. In between I’m taking tap lessons with John Kloss, Founder of Stepology and patron saint of patience.

I need a nap, but I couldn’t be happier. I’m the stupid kind of happy, the let-the-toddler-eat-an-entire-bar-of-chocolate kind of happy. And here’s what’s happening in my head:

In my head all of you are with me in some ludicrous warehouse space, screaming, jumping up and down, blowing celebratory horns, and ducking champagne corks. This Very Good Thing that’s happening, it’s happening because of you. So thank you.

Cheers.