Mighty Life List, Detail

23rd March 2009

Below you’ll find my answer to my guest prompt today on Plinky. I’ve been honing my Mighty Life list today, crossing a few things off, and making some changes based on the principle of dreaming bigger.

“Know basic French” and “Know basic Mandarin” became “Be conversational in seven languages.”
“Taste Durian” became “Taste 1,000 fruits.”
“Publish a piece of fiction” became “Write a novel.”
“Do something I think I can’t” became “Write a screenplay.”
“Attend my sister’s nursing school graduation” became “Get my health issues in hand,” because my sister has decided she loves her current career too much to tackle a new one.
“Gather together strangers I’ve wanted to meet” became “Organize a retreat.”

What have you been doing with your lists? Give us an update in comments.

My Plinky answer starts here:

I have a life list with a hundred items, which you’ll find in the left sidebar if you’re reading this on Mighty Girl. Here’s a handful of them:

Be conversational in seven languages.
For one, this is just a badass, super-spy thing to do. Nothing is hotter than the pasty redhead who surprises you by speaking Mandarin with the cab driver. (Except maybe the busty blonde who surprises you by speaking Mandarin with the cab driver. We’ll have to settle this with mud wrestling.)

Anyway, when I learned Spanish it changed how I thought. I had less access to irony and sarcasm, a greater tolerance for old-fashioned romance. It’s hard to sound cheesy in Spanish.

Language shapes our perception so fundamentally that we don’t even know it’s happening. Learning a new language teaches you another point of view, one that’s been honed over thousands of years by millions of people. It’s the deepest way to access another culture.

Go on a multi-day biking trip.
Like many writers, I don’t consider myself athletic. I was the kid picked last at kickball, the kid who never played soccer, the kid who died a little on dodgeball days.

So screw that. I never tried, which makes for an automatic fail. Now seems like a good time to put down the book and get off my ass. And I like bikes.

Do a “10 Things You Don’t Know About Women” feature for Esquire
Are they even doing these any more? I just realized that this month’s issue doesn’t have one, and I can’t remember seeing one for the last few months either. Shit.

Give $100 to a violin-playing busker.
Mostly, buskers irritate me. But if I hear a violin when I step off the train, it makes my whole day. I got $100 worth of two-dollar bills at the bank for just this purpose. Now I just need to spend a few days on the subway.

Lemonade on the front porch swing, warm summer night.
I can’t believe I’ve never done this. Friends, that’s no way to go.

18 thoughts on “Mighty Life List, Detail

  1. Nichole

    I haven’t made all that much progress on my list. I am, however, blonde and a bit busty. (Also: pasty.) Once we’ve learned those 7 languages, let’s apply for “The Amazing Race” together. I’m sure they’ll have a mud-wrestling challenge.

    Anyway. The list.

    I’m taking a cake-decorating class starting in a few weeks, which gets me a little closer to Make a Wedding Cake, and I’ve joined a CSA. Which is not at all Growing My Own Vegetables, but it’s related, at least.

  2. meg

    Mmm. I was just thinking of that Washtington Post article, which was also in a McSweeny’s non-required reading book. I’ll have to ruminate on my life list, but I wanted to pipe up to say that I lovelovelove that your readers are so SMART Maggie. Testimant to the blogger, always.

    I hope you give all $100 to one person. In $2 bills. Rad.

  3. Candice

    I’d love to hear about what happens when you give the violinist $100…he’ll be telling the story to friends for years.

  4. Jennifer

    You’ve never had a “lemonade on the front porch swing on a warm summer night” ???? What????? See, that’s why people need to grow up in the Midwest. Slow down people! Drink your lemonade!!

  5. auntjone

    I was the kid that loved dodgeball day. Sorry.

    Brains last longer than athleticism and you have great hair so rock on.

  6. Michelle

    I suggest RAGBRAI, the weeklong ride across the great state of Iowa. I did it twice in high school and have such great memories of all the people both on the ride and in the small towns we cruised through. It’s a rolling weeklong party.

    The only downside is that it takes place in July, which can be hot. But hey, no mountains.

  7. Sarah

    I’ve been the pasty redhead speaking Mandarin to service workers. They would have looked less shocked if the furniture had started talking. Very cool for all involved.

  8. Auntie

    What???!!! Hank hasn’t had his first ice cream cone yet? Camping scheduled for July..come with us! I’ve got sparklers! That would be 3 on your list to cross off!

  9. V.

    I love your list and have ‘borrowed’ (copied, appropriated, stolen) some of your goals. But as a life-long procrastinator, I have to warn you that changing a specific (learn basic French) into something grander (…seven languages) makes it easier to not actually do it. Speaking from experience, even as I congratulate myself on living in a house with a window seat.


  10. Leanne

    Van, I work near that metro stop and saw the violinist. The music was beyond beautiful. Not many stopped though. I admit that I too was in a hurry to get to the office and slowed my gait to listen as much as I could, but didn’t stop. And now, after reading the article, I wish I could go back and sit at his feet. So I’m adding that to my list of things to do in life: See a famous violinist perform, get the chills, and allow myself to cry through the entire performance if I feel so moved to do so.

  11. Mrs. H.

    Best busker I ever saw was on the ring road that goes around the center of Munich. He had a small, worn picture of himself as a young man (with instrument) propped up on his case. It was like a kick in the stomach.

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