100 Things to Do Before I Go

5th March 2008

Fifty through seventy-five:

50. Live in another country for a year
51. Wear a large hat at the Kentucky Derby
52. Taste durian
53. Sparklers with Hank and Bryan
54. Get in the habit of grand loving gestures
55. Live in a house with a window seat
56. Parasail
57. Have a portrait done of myself in the style of a portrait of my grandmother
58. Swim with bioluminescent plankton in Puerto Rico
59. See the floating fire lanterns
60. Ring a church bell
61. Attend services at Glide Memorial
62. Take photos of the little girls twirling outside the Nutcracker
63. Organize a gathering for strangers I’d like to meet
64. Rewire a lamp
65. Use my work to improve lives
66. Form a workplace with people I love
67. Repay the woman who let me live with her in college
68. Participate in a giant food fight
69. Know San Francisco like the back of my hand
70. Pretend we’ve had a power outage once a month
71. Go a day without speaking
72. Plant a tiny orchard
73. Carve our initials inside a heart somewhere
74. Write another book
75. Do one of Miranda July’s projects

These are getting much more difficult as I go along. I also find that I’m very hesitant to list things that I think are improbable, which is part of my drive to cross stuff off. I’m struggling to roll with the unlikely anyway, because I think most of us tend to have a skewed perspective of what’s possible for us versus what’s possible for others.

As usual, add a few from your list to the comments. The comments have been an awesome springboard for me. Also, start thinking about the stuff you’ve already crossed off your life list.

41 thoughts on “100 Things to Do Before I Go

  1. Angela

    I’ve done 55, 71. I’ve also crossed off skydiving (last summer, suhweet!)and living past 25(because as silly as that sounds, at one point I didn’t think I’d make it there.)

    Still on my list, and in no particular order:
    1)Hike into the Grand Canyon 2)visit India, 3)go back to school and 4)accept that it’s ok to like someone because they are your family, even if you don’t like them.

    There are so many more, but these are the ones off the top of my head.

  2. Rachel

    I’m late the game, but here are mine:
    -Learn new constellations
    -Read Les Miserables in French
    -Sing in harmony
    -Play jazz piano
    -Live for a month in Africa
    -Learn a non-Western language
    -Visit all my favorite Klimt paintings in Austria

  3. spandrelstudios

    Despite an abject fear of heights, parasailing was always a secret wish of mine, and my husband and I went while on vacation in Mexico. The view was spectacular and the feeling of flying was surreal. And it was a very good thing I went first.

    Here are a few of mine:

    – Triumph over my fear of inverted yoga poses
    – Take a graphic design course
    – Convince my husband that Paris is a worthy vacation destination
    – Pick up the guitar again
    – Write a screenplay
    – Learn to paint a room
    – Grow heirloom tomatoes

  4. Earth Girl

    #62- My niece sent me a picture of her 2-year-old daughter in her pretty pink ballerina dress with this commentary: “After watching an entire ballet quite intently, how would Emily dance? Would she glissade like the Snow Princess? March like the Toy Soldiers? Twirl and leap like the Sugar Plum Fairy? Emily promptly flopped on her back, waving her hands and legs in the air in a dramatic re-enactment of the death of the Mouse King.”

  5. kristen

    In response to your list, I decided to make a list of 100 Amazing Things I’ve Done Already — just to remember that I’ve already done some cool stuff and need to give myself credit for it. It was a fun exercise in gratitude — and the first thing that popped into my head for that list was parasailing. It’s very fun — you’ll love it.

  6. Divrchk

    One that I’ve done that I don’t see on your list (unless I missed it) was to play in the mud during a rain storm. I did this in college and it was very freeing.

  7. Stella

    58 – You should get here to Puerto Rico fast then! The bay in Lajas is just…depressing. But the one in Vieques seems to be intact still.

    As for food fight, I recommend la Tomatina as well. But be warned, it can get very violent.

    Love your blog, by the way…and this is totally inspiring me to make my own list :)

  8. Megan

    Something I wanted to do was sleep on the street for Saturday Night Live tickets. I did it when I was 16 and it was so worth it! You’ve inspired me to make a formal list now, too. :)

  9. bre

    just thought you should know that your list totally inspired me – i’ve been in medical school for 8 months now, and i feel like it’s taken up my entire life, but your list reminded me of all the wonderful things i was able to experience before my quest for an md started – so thanks !

    have a wonderful trip :D

  10. merry jennifer

    I have to say…if your work includes this blog, you have already accomplished #65 (at least for one life, but I have a feeling that others would agree with me!).

  11. Rachel


    I am along time lurker and these postings have inspired me to comment for the first time. Your lists, so far, really show what kind of person you must really be. Exceedingly deep, while being so simple and enjoying those truly simple things in life. I admire that simplicity and complexity all wrapped up in the person that I imagine you to be. Thanks for inspiring me to do a list too.


  12. Jill

    Better hurry with #58… I did it once 7 years ago and once this year, and the growing problem of light pollution made the experience worlds different!

  13. barlow

    – build my own telescope
    – see a “UFO” – something creepy and undeniable
    – dig for fossils somewhere and find a trilobite fossil
    – answer the phone everytime it rings (for a day)

  14. Kirsten

    HA! I had 61 on my list as well (for the past 12 years)… and I crossed it off my list last Sunday.

    What a blast. I can’t believe I waited so long…

  15. Dawn

    One of the items on your list should be “create a list of the 100 things I should do before I go” – that will help you with your need to cross stuff off because you could do that one as soon as you complete your list ;) Seriously, “make a to-do list” is always the first item on my to-do list just so I can cross something off!

  16. Jill

    -take a CN train through the rockies from Vancouver to Edmonton.
    -jump a freight car in the prairies.
    -spraypaint something large and inspirational in a public place.
    -ride a giraffe.
    -have public showing of my photos.
    -dig up a time capsule

  17. jonniker

    Oh dude. Write down the improbable and then make yourself do it.

    For my part, I’m working on my first book — and in part, I’ve realized, through reading your list, and through thinking it through that I’m not sure I care if anyone ever publishes it. Doing it, on some level, will be enough.

  18. lisa

    I’ve done #52…while I was in early pregnancy. Whew, I really don’t recommend that.

  19. rose

    i’ve done #52…wouldn’t want to try again except for the candy version…teehee :)

    i love your blog..
    you inspired me to start with my own list:)
    btw, i love your book too! ;)

  20. Lauren

    Oh durian… I just tried it for the first (and last) time a few weeks ago. I was at a Thai restaurant with friends, and one had just learned of it and wanted to try it for dessert (with sticky rice and coconut milk). I’m a pretty open-minded eater, and I’m still twitching at the thought of the durian. It’s smell is the worst part, but it’s definitely not my favorite flavor.

  21. Leah

    We used to do number 70 when I was a kid. I loved it! We would call it “candle night” and my parents bought us those old-timey candle stick holders that had a loop to put your finger through, and we would camp out on the living room floor in sleeping bags.

    Of course, it was really more like practice for all the real times we had power outages due to blizzards and were snowed in ‘n such.

  22. Matthew

    I know what you mean about the sparklers. My fondest memories of our family get togethers on the Fourth of July was sparkler time. I can’t wait to do that with my kids. Perhaps we’ll have to have a cousin reunion and relive the old days!

  23. catherine

    blow glass
    open my own sewing shop
    learn French & Spanish simultaneously
    visit Paris
    write a book of short stories
    publish the children’s book I wrote
    say you’re welcome more often

  24. Lola

    Regarding #52 — I’ve seen the other (negative) comments, and I have to say that I don’t agree. I thought my husband was nuts when he brought one home a few years ago, and there definitely wasn’t any doubt when it was ripe enough to eat – ugh! – but it sure was tasty! By the way, I read somewhere that it’s against the law in I want to say Singapore to travel on public transportation with a ripe one. LOL! Anyway, I say go for it. Your list is amazing.

  25. Hilary

    I’ve actually been making a list since I was in junior high, (I’m 23 now) and I’m always adding new ones.

    Despite the impossibility of most of the list, however, I’ve actually accomplished a few things:

    1. Get a tattoo.
    2. Throw the perfect party. (This one’s subjective, obviously…)
    3. Take photographs worth framing and hang them in my own home.
    4. Embark on the classic road trip with friends.
    5. Experience Africa.

  26. ambika

    I’ve done #50 but it’s the only one from this list that I have. I love seeing how, as these stop being as travel related, they turn into being about doing good and being with people you love (ie #53, which almost brought tears to my eyes.)

    I very quickly started this the other day but I really need to keep working on it. So far, it’s mostly about seeing sloths in Costa Rica and going on a road trip.

  27. Michele

    Durian? Really?? After watching both Anthony Bourdain and that Zimmerman guy eat it, no way!

    How about visiting London for Christmas? And some day, I want to make a quilt>

  28. Michelle

    Going a day without speaking! That would be quite a feat for me.

    Being 20 years old, my list is quite simple, really.

    -get married
    -buy a house
    -have kids

    I’m sure once these things are accomplished, my mind will long for more specific pleasures.

  29. Candid

    I’d love to turn off the electricity once a month. I learned so much about my kids and my husband that week we lost power with the ice storms last December. I was sort of sad we got it all back.

    I had a gread food fight at a high school CYO retreat in Georgia. LOVED the fight. But we also had to clean up after it. Um…Ew. It was fun flinging the yogurt, eggs and sticky pancakes. Cleaning them up? Not so groovy!

    Love this list!

  30. wynn

    my husband brought some durian to work and left it in the break room and someone called the fire department because they thought there was a gas leak.

  31. Sethonious

    My wife and I have one real big super huge goal that has many travel related goals associated with it. I love it. We decided to swim in every ocean and sea in the world. (although some colder oceans and seas we will have to not “swim” but rather “dip a toe in quickly.” Technicality? Yes, but it stil counts cause we ain’t no polar bears.

  32. heather

    #58, the bioluminesent bay, was SO COOL. I’d recommend renting a house for a week in Vieques and just hang out, snorkel a bit, get to know the locals. I loved it there and was so upset I could only stay for 2 days. The vibe there is so laid back and friendly. And it’s gorgeous.

  33. laurie

    I love your ocean goal, Sethonius. That’s so cool!

    A few of mine:

    write a song.
    spend a season in NYC
    live near the ocean, at least part of the year
    really help an animal rescue organization in some way
    organize ALL of my pictures, on paper and online
    travel to Ireland with my sister

    i’ll be making my own list, Maggie, thanks. you’re one of my #1 online inspirations.

  34. Emiy

    52. Taste durian

    Are you sure you want to taste durian? My mom was in the Philippians and brought back some Durian fruit candy.

    It tasted like rotten onion pudding.

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