100 Things Worth Doing

21st March 2008

More scenes I hope to see as my life flashes before my eyes, numbers 26-50:

26. Riding through the canals in Amsterdam with the baby
27. Picking confetti from my hair
28. Catching fireflies in Tuscany
29. Jumping on the hotel bed
30. Mixing Pimm’s Cups at my Great Gatsby birthday
31. Surge of joy on the swing set when I remembered there were no doctor or dentist appointments looming
32. Passing out signs at the Boston convention
33. Popping my first champagne cork
34. Swinging out above the river from a rope
35. Walking around the park at night with my tipsy college roommate
36. Giving the wedding toast
37. Dancing in the middle of jam circle–perfect partner, red dress
38. Dappled light on the deck with girlfriends
39. Swing band in our living room, sailors smoking on the porch
40. Slipping on my engagement ring
41. Watching the old couples tango over a bottle of wine in Argentina
42. My name beneath an article in the New York Times
43. Riding through the cave on an inner tube
44. Tea in the claw-footed bath with an ocean view in Malaysia
45. Wading in the backyard creek, hip-deep, my Keds sucking on and off my feet.
46. In line for the De Young Museum opening at 4 a.m., ludicrously painful stilettos
47. Archery in the mall in Asia
48. Flying on the swing ride at the California State Fair
49. Floating in the unearthly hot springs in Iceland
50. 4 a.m. tea and peanut butter toast with mom before an antique show

Emerging themes for me: travel, the sensation of flying, water, dancing, and being awake when I’d usually be asleep.

Again, if you haven’t already, please add a few of yours in comments.

38 thoughts on “100 Things Worth Doing

  1. Jen

    I thought of 20 for my blog and I’m done. I can’t write anymore after reading yours. Your life is way cooler. #44 pretty much did me in. ;)

  2. Suzyn

    Too long, but what I see these days when I close my eyes: My very proper grandmother on an inner-tube on a river in Missouri, laughing silly as she spun in an eddy. She died in January after five years of debilitating Alzheimer’s. Everything she’d lived was gone for her; we had to remember for her. With my last breath, I hope to hear my son’s bubbly laugh, first exhibited when he was 3 months old, and still as refreshing at 13, and see my daughter’s lively, curious, empathetic blue eyes.

  3. Amy the Mom

    1. Seeing my firstborn smile at me-really smile-for the first time.
    2. The ultrasound where I found out I was having twins.
    3. Laying on a deck during a frigid November night watching a meteor shower with someone I loved.
    4. The view from the top of Hearney Peak in South Dakota and the elation at completing the hike.
    5. The look in my husband’s eyes as he told me he loved me the first time.

  4. Sara

    Drinking Oolong on Alishan mountain in Taiwan while looking over fields of tea.

    The sound of the large, Japanese bell as I walked down the outdoor aisle at our Buddhist wedding.

    The first cry of my child, born in the back of an ambulance; the happy look on the EMT’s face as he announced, “it’s a girl!”

  5. Julie

    My daughter’s head and arm crowning. Such a miracle.

    My beloved dog’s eyes closing for the very last time. I was lucky to be able to hold her through her last breaths.

    The stars on top of the volcano on the big Island of Hawaii. Surreal.

    My baby’s lips while she breastfed.

    My first boyfriend’s eyelashes.

    A forgotten, tiny, cove in the British Virgin Isles found after a hard hike.

    A turtle’s eyes two inches from mine in Hawaii’s Haleakalua Bay.

    My toenails painted blue peeking out of my wedding dress as my Dad walked me down the aisle.

  6. Katie I

    1. my mom and i talking on porch
    2. the way my brothers carried me to bed
    3. the feeling of a child’s head resting on my shoulder
    4. the morning after stories with my college friends
    5. sitting behind my dad in the car, gazing up at mountains for the first time
    6. successfully driving stick shift, windows down
    7. getting on the overnight train in china

  7. April

    * spending all night on a panga in the ocean in San Blas, Mexico and after holding my pee forever finally having the courage to hang my rear over the edge and go (with my husband holding on to me)…
    * then watching the sunrise over the ocean while my husband and the panga captain pulled the net in, pelicans were swooping down to get any remnants and there were a lot of small jellyfish caught in the net
    * naps on the couch with my dad when I was little enough to sleep between his legs
    * taking family vacations to the Oregon coast (from Idaho)
    * dropping acid then sitting on the front porch recovering the next morning, talking to robins, and watching a black dwarf with checkerboard cornrows approach us to ask if we knew where someone was (that was trippy)
    * seeing Boogie Nights at a theater when I was sneaking around dating my husband (who was my manager at the time)
    * having to tell my husband his dad committed suicide
    * realizing that reality is an illusion that we all participate in
    * listening to Freddie Mercury sing Golden Boy, turned up to 11, in a car in the driveway of a friend’s house
    * sunrise in Zion National Park
    * exploring The Rat House (abandoned country house) with my sister and friends, thinking we were going to find a treasure
    * giving my sister a ride on my banana-seat bike on a gravel road with logging truck traffic; we wrecked and I have the scars to prove it, she got gravel up her nose
    * hearing the phone ring in the middle of the night and my mom telling me my dad had been in a serious accident at work (fell 14′ onto his tailbone, broken back, etc.)

    Wow, I can see how this would be addictive.

  8. April

    (Thanks for letting us share and thanks for sharing. I realize some of the things I posted can be seen as negative, but I believe that even those can be worthwhile b/c they sometimes teach us the most.)

  9. jessica

    what an awesome idea, Maggie! It makes me want to start a blog to post just this type of stuff in. Even if I’m the only one who ever reads it.

    1. the very first time my daughter said “wuh you” to me without me saying it first.
    2. my husband deep dipping me at the end of our first dance together as husband and wife.
    3. watching the sunrise at Reykjavik Airport during our layover from our MOVE from the states to Amsterdam.
    4. taking my first drive, alone, with Led Zepplin playing SO LOUDLY in my very first car.
    5. My daughter, husband and I builing our first snowman together as a family.
    6. nursing my baby for the very first time. or any time really.
    7. the move back from amsterdam, seeing my family eagerly awaiting us to pass through the gates and join them again.
    8. seeing my husband hold our baby for the first time, and crying happy tears. (wow – that one has me weepy just thinking about it)
    9. making peach ice cream with my grandmother on her back porch when I was nine in her mother’s ice cream maker. I can still recall the sweet taste.
    10.the look on my husband’s face as I walked down the aisle.

    hmmm, I think I’m going to work on this list some more tonight with my husband. that sounds much better than watching whatever’s on the DVR…thanks for a great idea, Maggie.

  10. Jan

    – The time D woke me up at 12:01AM on my birthday with a coffee cup full of tiny wild roses he’d picked from the bluff outside our front door. (We were newlyweds and sooo broke.)

    – When I was tiny and frightened by a storm, my mom telling me the thunder was just heaven telling all the little animals to hurry home and the lightning was just so they could see their way to get home fast.

    – Rocking my newborn godson to sleep.

    – The taste of a diet Pepsi when I haven’t had one in a long time.

    – Bouncing in my chair and singing along while playing my favorite music when I was a DJ at an all oldies radio station.

    – When I was 13, my dad teaching how to waltz and foxtrot.

    – Twirling around dance floors with D who was a great dancer and made me look good.

    – The first time I was called a computer geek and didn’t demur.

    – Wearing a blue velvet miniskirt “for the troops” while singing in the Memphis USO with two other people.

  11. samantha

    Crossing the Mississippi in a car for the first time on a cross-country move to a town where I didn’t know a soul.

    Touching rocks in China and realizing just how many people had been touching those rocks for longer than I could imagine.

    The first time I realized that the first kiss I was having was a really, really good kiss.

    My friends gathered and telling jokes to comfort me when my recent ex-boyfriend committed suicide.

    Following a rainstorm down the street in a sun dress as a child.

    Dancing at a house party full of strangers in a sudden moment of Journey-based bonding.

    Drinking champagne straight from the bottle while standing in a fountain filled with bubbles in the middle of the night.

  12. JoAnn

    Open-mouthed baby kisses, before they learn any different.

    The smell of my sons’ as newborns and the warmth of their small bodies snuggled into my neck.

    Walking quickly through the cold streets of Prague with a fresh, warm, round loaf of heavy, dark bread for my roommates and I. The bread store only baked on Tuesdays (This was just after the revolution and before Western stores found their way in). I can still feel the warmth through my coat as I rushed home.

    Cafe Correttos in a street cafe at the end of a long day in Rome.

    Riding bikes through the fog (I don’t recommend this. It’s not the safest thing, especially after a fair bit of wine)

  13. She Likes Purple

    1. The first bite of an In-N-Out burger, after a day on the Russian River
    2. Beating dozens of men in a poker tournament
    3. Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge
    4. Eating drippy ice cream with my brother in the backyard

  14. catherine

    1. getting married to JP, being loved by him.
    2. fishing on Lake Winnebago with my Dad as a child
    3. running away from school in 3rd grade, feeling so free and really believing we could “make it”!
    4. having dinner with my treasured next-door neighbor Mrs. B as a child.
    5. learning to read
    6. dancing to anything by Fat Boy Slim
    7. daily walks with Goody
    8. Christmas dinner with my sister J. at the Harriet Island Inn
    9. All my memories of Christmas rolled into one.
    10. Holding/hugging my nephew A.

  15. christina

    There are some on my blog, but here are a few more:

    1. Sleeping in a hammock in my parent’s backyard

    2. Hungover road trips with Kristy in which we laugh uncontrollably

    3. My mom’s wedding to my step-dad

    4. Snuggling with Sophia, my niece

    5. The view from the small bridge on Main St. in Osterville at sunset

    6. Singing Weezer at the top of our lungs in my best friend Mary’s minivan

  16. Tea

    Waking up in my first apartment in a foreign country, terrified and exhilarated.

    Being part of my nieces lives–taking them to fly kites, have tea parties, feed ducks.

    Successfully negotiating my first big raise (why don’t they teach us things like that in college?)

    Falling in love, each time its happened, that feeling of your heart opening.

    Dawn on the top of Mt. Fuji.

    Waking up on backpacking trips at my favorite lake high in the mountains, feeling like everything is perfect.

    Sunset on a Pacific beach or Mt. Tam, the sun slipping into the water.

    Times with girlfriends–road trips, laughing, dancing, even crying sometimes.

    Having my first book go to auction.

    Thanksgiving last year with my family, for one day we all just enjoyed each other.

  17. Jennifluff

    I have to say, you’ve inspired me so much with this list…it brings a Mona Lisa smile to my face just thinking about some of these things:

    1. The second I saw my husband for the first time

    2. Mud fight with my mother at the beach at sunset

    3. My grandmother’s scrunch face when no one else was looking

    4. My two year old singing along to “Lola”

    5. Stumbling arm in arm with my best friend on the way to getting a drunk massage

  18. Julie

    I love this thread…

    Sitting in my dad’s lap, feeling incredibly safe and loved, looking up at the sky, while he is teaching me the constellations that I now teach my daughter.

    Sipping cafe au lait in france, people-watching alone.

    Watching my 1 1/2 year old daughter see the ocean for the first time, and run full steam ahead into the waves with her clothes on, oblivious to the fact that it was 40 degrees outside.

    Tasting Grappa on the Rocks for the first time.

    Making sure to get up early, before everyone else, so I could be the first one to get my grandma alone and eat her homemade sourdough bread and strawberry jelly with her full attention.

    That first, gritty inhalation of a cigarette when the girls would go “uptown” in college for a night out. And the sloppy kiss at the end of the night with some random stranger before the girls would get me home.

    Puppy breath.

    Driving all night long to get home from West Virginia because we were scared of the noises we heard when camping after the sun went down. Just me and three huge, huge guys.

    The anticipation of seeing my best friend after two or three years apart. Finally having him in my arms for real, instead of talking to him over the computer.

    Having my husband rub my his hands through my hair.

    Rubbing my hands through my daughter’s hair.

  19. Jenny

    If I could “Digg” this post I would. I just absolutely love the stuff you came up with! It’s the stuff everyone wants (or at least I do!) but can never thing of on their own!

    Magnificent. :)

  20. Melanie

    ~Watching the Macy’s July 4th fireworks on the FDR Drive with my best friend.
    ~Sleeping on the beach on another July 4th.
    ~Walking on the beach on Valentine’s Day, 1994, with my future husband. The air was pearlescent with fog and it was warm enough to unzip my coat.
    ~Riding in cars with boys, in the middle of a summer night with the windows open.
    ~Deep, passionate, dizzying, soul-exchanging kisses.
    ~Hearing “Ashokan Farewell” performed by its composer on a hillside under the stars.
    ~Performing for an audience of about a thousand people on another hillside under the stars.
    ~The first time my husband told me I was beautiful, and the first time he told me he loved me.
    ~Seeing his face as I walked down the aisle.
    ~Celebrating my birthday with two dear friends, and wishing as I blew out my candle: Let the rest of this year be as wonderful as this moment, surrounded by friends and knowing I am loved.

  21. Tired but happy

    I just had to look for your article(s) at NYT.

    Are those your pieces from 2005 about auctions? Or are your NYT pieces under your maiden name (which I forget)?

    If you ever feel like doing a post about your freelance writing work, I’d be interested.


  22. Karen (miscmum)

    I’m not sure if this idea has been floated yet, but what also would be cool is if people wrote 100 things in their lives that WERE worth doing (like what they’ve done) and why they’d recommend it to others.

    Say for me, you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a peach in the shower.

  23. Niz

    1. Sitting on the roof with my roommate as we tried to teach ourselves how to play guitar

    2. “Dance parties” at the children’s museum where I worked, looking like a fool but not caring because the 3-year-olds were awed by my mad skillz

    3. Ziplining over a waterfall in Costa Rica, so beautiful and thrilling I forgot to be afraid

    4. Singing beautiful music and having it click for the first time in the middle of the woods on college choir retreat

    5. Midnight, New Year’s Eve 2008, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, when the scarecrows below the balcony started exploding. Because they were filled with firecrackers.

    Thank you, this is nice. I need to think more.

  24. Dangercat

    1. That moment when I knew she “more than liked me” too.
    2. The second I swung the hammer and hit the first stake on my own land for the foundation of my own house I built with my own two hands.
    3. The sound of redwood trees in a winter storm, late at night as rain lashes against my roof.
    4. Hearing and seeing my friends laugh and sing on my deck while I am standing watching them, unseen, in the kitchen.
    5. Seeing my dogs, litter mates and obvious best friends for life, sniff and wiggle, and run together with nary a care in the world.
    6. Catching her when she fell of a rock at the beach, and her look of pleasure that not only was she unhurt, but I had been there for her.
    7. Waking up in the hospital and seeing her there for me.
    8. The first time I was actually able to waltz without a misstep, or missing the beat.
    9. Sailing in to San Francisco Bay after nine days at sea, solo.
    10. Seeing her on the dock, waiting for me.
    11. Hearing an entire Catholic mass sang in Latin. (Despite my being a heathen unbeliever!)
    12. Every time I ever backpacked in the Trinity Alps.
    13. The first time I rode a horse.
    14. Waking in Italy and realizing I was actually living and working in Italy.
    15. The first time my dad and his buddies spoke to me like I was one of the boys, “cuss words” and all.
    16. Having my nephew put his head on my shoulder, stop crying, and drift off to sleep.
    17. Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane and feeling like the world was ever so far below me.
    18. The smell of my grandfather’s aftershave on the morning he let me drive him in his truck to town.
    19. Watching people salute my grandfather as he walked down the street, 35 years after WWII was over.
    20. The day I understood why he never talked about WWII, or why people saluted him.
    21. Being nudged, ever so gently, by a dolphin while body surfing off Maui.
    22. Holding the fin of that dolphin, and looking at her look at me with a mutual understanding of a shared and joyful experience.
    23. Practicing Spanish con me amiga major, and having a native speaker speak to me en Espanol.
    24. Watching my newborn godson smile when he has his little tiny tummy rubbed.
    25. Every time she has walked up behind me put her hands on my chest and kissed me on the back of my neck. Every single time.

  25. laura

    i love this, as cliche as it sounds it makes me stop and think about the little things in my life that i have loved. here goes.
    1. first time driving with my driver’s permit with my mom and laughing maniacally while almost hitting a (small) tree.
    2. holding both of my baby cousins hours after their birth in the hospital. the smell of their heads.
    3. the last conflict free memory with my dad- at my high school graduation, him crying, because he never had that day for himself.
    4. salsa dancing in my pajamas on a sunday morning with my grandpa in the living room of their house.
    5. my very first boyfriend kissing me on my forehead scar i was always so self conscious about.
    6. my first night at college i felt at peace, at home and happy.
    7. laughing so hard in the dorm parking lot with my friend and both of us peeing in our pants a little bit, then a silent walk balk to our rooms.
    8. still at the age of 18, climbing into bed with my mommy and have her hold me when I need some comfort.
    9. getting stuck in the sand on the way to the grand canyon and her getting us out.
    10. when my usually closed off brother opened up to me the first time in his apartment on a cold, november morning.
    11. driving with my best friend in high school to the oakland hills and just sitting and talking.

  26. kate

    1. having a conversation with my husband after reading a jane austen novel and crying because i couldn’t want anything more fairy-tale like than our love story.
    2. looking at photo albums with my grandma, the incredible sense of the beauty of time and people all condensed on a few glossy pages
    3. walking into a room in a museum and unexpectedly seeing my favourite painting by one of my favourite artists….and crying right there in front of the security guards

    more to come, no doubt. these things are excellent to focus on.

  27. Claire

    1. talking about the girthy bananas in safeway with my mother

    2. the feel of my winnie the poo rug on my feet from my childhood room

    3. falling asleep with my eat to the floor listening to my dad and his band play in the living room

    4. being able to order for myself in france when i was 14

    5. seeing neil young at an ampitheatre when i was young with my still together hippie parents

    6. hiding my pet rat in the sandy path in the park and hiding in the bushes and watching it scare people wakling by

    7. blowing up condoms while playing with our ‘off to college’ kits in the park, with my best friends

    8. my grandpa going down the slip and slide last summer at the age of 69

    9. the way my little sister smells when she’s asleep

  28. Angela

    *Being in the hospital room with my friend listening to my future god-son’s heart beat thru the speakers while watching him move on the ultrasound. I was completely unprepared.
    *Waking up to my best friend crawling into my bed to whisper secrets like we were little kids, my boyfriend asleep on the other side of me, her’s in her bed in the other room.
    *seeing my big brother with his new baby girl in his arms, watching as he stared at her with the most geniune smile I’ve ever seen.
    *Having my friend’s little girl crawl into my lap,crying and burring her head into my neck.
    *Having my boyfriend’s sister remind that as long as I have the scar on my arm, I will always have her brother in my heart.
    *Laying with my head in my boyfriend’s mom’s lap, both of us crying, and her rubbing my back until I fell asleep.
    *Laughing so hard in a fancy pants restaurant in Arizona that two of us snorted liquid out of our noses.
    *Sitting with a sweet old lady down the street, on a rock in her garden, as she recalled memories of her childhood.
    *My first real date with my now husband, kayaking and finding myself saying things I hadn’t been able to tell anyone. Then feeling overwhelmed because I was with someone who allowed me to be completely honest.
    *Riding in the plane to elevation before skydiving, looking around the plane seeing my now husband and two of our friends, thinking what if this is “it”? Feeling so overwhelmed with love that I decided now would be ok. Jumping, loving it and surviving :-)

  29. Kate

    1. Riding a bike in Yunnan. Pausing to take a picture of my shadow
    2. Jumping when the minister said, “husband and wife”.
    3. My daughter, in Christmas pajamas, asleep in my arms
    4. My mother and I poolside in Las Vegas
    5. High School – catching fireflies in my parents’ back yard. Knowing that we were probably too old to be running around like kids, but still soaking up the moment.
    6. Learning how to drive stick shift in the Jewel parking lot near campus
    7. Falling asleep in bed after my daughter’s baptism. Smelling the baptismal oils on her head as we snuggled.
    8. By noodles from a street vendor in Bangkok at night.

  30. Valeta

    Oh fun! a few of mine:

    breastfeeding at 3 a.m. when it seems all the world is asleep.

    the first time my son said, “I love you.”

    holding both my children in my lap

    dancing with my kids

    the drive home after we got married

    staying up late and playing sega with my best friend in 7th grade

    bob dylan in concert a week after we got married.

    Wow I think I could go on all day. I hope the flashing before the eyes right before you die thing lasts that long.

  31. Dorothy Stahlnecker

    Because of my current battle with Ovarian Cancer here are my hopes…

    Not having any more Kidney failure when I have my next treatment April 8th

    Not crashing when I take my steroids the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday the week of chemo like I did this month

    Getting good news back from my blood test which I take 3 times a month..regarding my blood and vital organs

    Being able to work so I don’t loose everything I worked for the last 29 years in commercial real estate.

    Remembering the help my family and friends have given me since my surgery January 18th…something I never needed before in my adult life.

    Being humble and grateful for the days, months, years, I live…and remembering to do that, live.

    learning how to relax in the face of fear which I feel most of the time.

    Remembering to love life as I did before cancer for the second time..

    My best,
    Dorothy from grammology
    remember to call gram

  32. canknitian

    1. Riding the rollercoasters with my youngest sister…and surprising her by going on ten in three hours. That was the day the fraidycat me disappeared. (Summer 2006)

    2. The brilliant blue of the water in the lagoon as I bungee jumped toward it. (Summer 2007)

    3. Dancing in the drizzle in Mum’s backyard after my sister’s wedding.

    4. Riding my bicycle (any of a million times) and feeling like I was flying.

    5. The look on my sister’s face when her yorkie sprayed her with green slime while shaking off after a swim in the river. We were all in a canoe and had nowhere to go!

    6. The delicious feeling upon finishing an exceptionally good book.

    7. Laughing uncontrollably in the backseat of Mum’s car with my best friend. It was wintertime, we were nine and our laughter completely frosted the windows!

    8. Long weekends at the beach with my gang of friends.

    9. Crying when my Dad called to tell me that I had a niece.

    10. Laughing my guts out with D / my Mum / my sisters / my friends.

    11. A crazy road trip to Ontario with my Dad and his two sisters and me and my two sisters. Six adults in a Buick in late May / early June.

    I could go on and on and on! Thanks Maggie!

  33. Nina Graue

    You had a Great Gatsby Birthday? Do tell the details! I am a huge fan of the book and an English teacher. I had a Great Gatsby party at school after we finished the book. I’d love to hear about your party.

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