Camp Mighty begins tomorrow night in Palm Springs, and I'm late with my life list.
Oh hey! Here I am! Already here, just finishing this post now. (Actually this is last night, pre-space party, to which I went without a "costume" that met the theme. This spurred another list item. Please see below.)
Of course I'm late. Water is wet, etc.
And oh, here I am, again! Just now posting this, on Saturday, at 3:47 PST.
Can you tell this exercise freaks me out a little? Well, it does, to tell the truth, and to top off my problem here, the list I drafted last week (sitting in a bar, impulsively, after Kris intelligently got in a cab to go home) is in a notebook that is way, way back in Maryland, in a purse I swapped out the other day. Change bags carefully, people. Sigh.
Anyway, I just thought that since this is supposed to be a positive, aspirational thing most of all, I'd do it over again, stream of consciousness, here. And that also I would shut up and just start writing. So here we go.
1. Shoot an Operation Smile surgical mission.
2. Have Boston Terriers in my house again and work more actively with senior rescue.
3. Have a yard.
4. Pay off all student loan debt early.
5. Embrace my most hated holiday: go to a Halloween-type event in a costume and not feel like a fool and also not complain about it.
6. Hike the Grand Canyon.
7. Finish the Ancestry.com family tree for both sides of my family.
8. Travel the regions in Ireland and Germany where my relatives originated.
9. Digitize as many of the White family photos as possible and share them with the whole family.
10. Have an online presence that reflects my personality and my skills, and what I have accomplished so far in writing and photography -- a portfolio, a business site and a blog. Also, to help Draft Day Suit be the best that it can be, along with the other sites I write for.
11. Have Washington Capitals season tickets.
12. Have competent knife skills, and a really great set of kitchen knives.
13. Have somewhere I can go to stay on a beach that is mine, anytime.
14. Be self-supporting strictly through writing/photo/media work.
15. Grow a hydrangea and a lilac bush.
16. Print out and organize copies in books and frames of all of my images that move me or that I want to keep off of the computer.
17. Find the courage to visit my grandmother's grave, at least once.
18. Be able to hold crow, headstand, side crane, wheel and all other yoga poses that I currently cannot successfully hold.
19. Visit the rest of the 50 states.
20. Have a 41st birthday party, because I wasn't ready for 40.
21. Have my grandmother's ring resized and made more stable so I can actually wear it.
22. Go to a Super Bowl and a Stanley Cup championship game with Sarah.
23. Grow a garden -- even just an herb garden or a few flowers -- without killing it.
24. Get overall financial house in order so it is not a constant source of anxiety.
25. Have a Christmas Eve tradition that brings me joy.
26. See every country in Europe.
27. Go back to Vietnam, and to Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.
28. Find a place called Dodge and get the hell out of it.
29. Understand how to competently use Speedlite flash and studio lighting.
30. Work in a darkroom again.
31. Publish an article in a national magazine.
32. Get my 200-hour yoga certification.
33. Visit the White House, go into the Washington Monument, and other things I've never done because I live in the D.C. area.
34. Actively support surgeries for at least five children per year through Operation Smile.
35. Go on one silent weekend retreat per year.
36. Drive cross-country.
37. Find a way to give back to my parents in the significant way that they have given to me.
38. Go to Michael's Virginia Tech graduation.
39. Get another tattoo before I turn 41.
40. Host a Thanksgiving dinner.
41. Have a regular practice of having people over to my house for meals and conversation.
42. Have a women's weekend in a pretty place by the water with some of my closest friends.
43. Read every classic novel I feel I should read before I die.
44. Purge all belongings that have no purpose in my life -- clothing, books, stuff -- and be at peace with the basics that remain.
45. Spend some time with Elisa and Maria in the Bay area.
46. Visit the Alamo. Remember it.
47. Go back to Houston and see my remarkable group of women of the blogs who live there.
48. Catalog and recognize all birthdays for all important people in my life. Send the damn cards.
49. Finally -- finally! -- visit Vicky in Seattle.
50. See Duran Duran in London.
51. Take trips on all major Amtrak routes in the U.S.
52. Do something hands-on and helpful in New Orleans.
53. Do the Edgar Allen Poe touristy stuff and other fun things I've never tried in Baltimore.
54. Throw a crab feast for my half-birthday.
55. Learn to pack a suitcase competently.
56. Have Maryland basketball season tickets -- men and women.
57. Publish a book.
58. Understand New York -- the subway system, visit all boroughs, know Manhattan like the back of my hand.
59. Cultivate a competent slap shot.
60. Learn to play the drums.
61. Go to an Orioles-Nats game.
61. Actually record a fun and ridiculous podcast with Sarah.
62. Go to Ireland with my sister.
63. See all the oceans.
64. Buy myself a pair of diamond earrings.
65. Have someone who knows what she is doing rewrite my resume to reflect my skills and experience.
66. Photograph a birth.
67. Drive on the other side of the road in England.
68. Own a pair of ruby slippers.
69. Pay someone's college tuition.
70. Have a photo site with Laurie.
71. Understand how to design a basic website in a variety of platforms.
72. Publish an op-ed.
73. Visit Karen and Shannon in Ottawa. See the rest of Canada and all of my friends there, too.
74. Throw a great 50th anniversary party for my parents.
75. Take a food and wine trip to Italy.
76. Spend a whole summer and a whole winter at the beach.
77. Publish a piece in Salon, Slate, Washingtonpost.com,
78. Understand wine, maybe at the sommelier level.
79. Take my mom on a trip anywhere of her choosing, on me.
80. Know how to give a basic haircut without ruining someone's life.
81. Consistently practice receiving compliments with gratitude, not apologies or self-effacing comments.
82. Hike a (smallish) mountain.
83. Sing backup in a band
84. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
85. Complete my local Mental Health Association hotline training, finally, and volunteer there.
86. Write a short story I don't hate.
87. Become a doula.
88. Learn American Sign Language.
89. Own a core wardrobe of green dresses.
90. Have a king-sized bed with really good sheets, an actual duvet, and pillows that don't drive me crazy.
91. Create an annual tradition with my cousins.
92. Perfect a variety of vinaigrettes.
93. Become conversationally proficient in French again.
94. Have a full Christmas tree of my own ornaments, and also a beachy, small tree with the ones I've bought on vacations.
95. Go to Bonnaroo and the Virgin Festival in London (or at least see a show at Wembley Stadium.)
96. Refinish and use an awesome antique writing desk.
97. Outfit my whole kitchen with good small appliances and all gadgets I need to make me feel like I'm not in college anymore.
98. See every artist live who is left on my list -- Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and I know there are more.
99. Drink coffee in a Parisian cafe.
100. To acknowledge the possibility of falling madly, yet sanely, in real, live adult love with an actual functional human being who feels the same way. Maybe let them live in my house.
And most importantly:
100. Be able to confidently say that I love what I do, that the structure of my daily life reflects what I care about, what I'm good at, and how I can best contribute in words and pictures. Oh, and that I love where and with whom I live, and that I am content in my life.
I picked five big goals off of this list to share with my group, that I'm going to work on extra special over the next year. There are some that I know I can do more easily that I didn't put on my five-things list. I saved some tough stuff for that one. I'll share that later.
And if you've ever thought this activity sounds lame or ridiculous or like something you shouldn't really have to do in an organized way? Well, I thought the same thing. I blew it off and shot it down as stupid for a long time. And at least in my case, I was totally and completely wrong. I just sat in a room with 20 strangers for three hours. I stood up and I said what I wanted, I acknowledged that I need help with some of it, and I listened to the rest of them do the same. It was one of the most powerful, uncomfortable, cool, inspiring, and sometimes just plain enjoyable things I've ever done.
Thanks for hanging in there with me. I'll keep you posted.
I keep thinking of new stuff.
102. Go to the Olympics.