Back in 2008, when I was feeling sort of low and sad about my life, I made a “Life List” (idea inspired by Maggie Mason of Mighty Girl) of things I wanted to do in my lifetime. It was all pretty free form and there were lots of ridiculous and lovely items on it. In April of 2012, I participated in the Chookooloonks Path Finder Course (by Karen Walrond), an online class dedicated to finding your passions and loving your life. As part of the course, we were to create what Karen called a “Life Menu,” similar to a Life List, but something a bit more flexible, with lots of items you’d love to accomplish, but less pressure to complete them all. She explained that a menu is something you look at and choose from, but you don’t berate yourself for not trying everything in one swoop.
As a classic Type A Personality, I was a fan of this approach. The pressure of completing everything on my Life List was making me want to scrap it all together. A Life Menu sounded like a lot less pressure and a ton more fun. So I rewrote my Life List/Life Menu, to reflect who I am right now, today.
My list is a little silly at times, sometimes it can get a bit serious, but when I look at it, it makes me happy. Some of my 2008 items are still on there, and I may add more in the future, even though the original perimeters included keeping the list at 100 things. My menu, my rules. I am Megan, hear me roar!
I wrote this list out in my now falling apart journal about two months ago, and I’ve already managed to complete some of the items. The strangest thing is I never really looked at the list and picked something, saying, “OK, I’m checking this one off now.” It just happened organically. As I sat down to share this list in a post, I realized I had already completed some of it. It’s crazy, but true. When you really decide to change your life, and take steps to plan out that change, it just starts to happen on it’s own! I’m not saying I won’t have to work at some (most) of these things, but just the very act of writing them down has inspired me to get out there and DO!
In that same realm, here is an article the famous Mighty Girl posted just yesterday, that had me feeling inspired and ready for action: How to Make Decisions (via the July 2012 O Magazine). If you’re feeling like I was, it is a perfect read to get you going.
Without further adieu, here is my current Life Menu. I hope you enjoy and gain some inspiration from it. At the bottom of this listing, you’ll also find the items from my oringal 2008 list that I completed. Hooray for me!
1. Write a freelance article.
2. Photograph 15 mothers.
3. Quit the corporate life.
4. Volunteer in an underdeveloped country.
5. Go on a trip, alone with my husband. – DONE – May 2012, NYC!
6. Redesign Crazybananas. – DONE – April 2012
7. Sell a photograph.
8. Open a shop to sell my art.
9. Teach a class.
10. Speak at a conference.
11. Take a design/art/photography class.
12. Run a half marathon.
13. Interview my dad once a month for one year.
14. Pitch my book idea to an agent.
15. Move abroad with my family.
16. Have a job where I dictate my schedule.
17. Take Lucy on a mother/daughter trip.
18. Take Tate to Legoland.
19. Go on a a wine tasting vacation.
20. Run every day for one month.
21. Learn to sew.
22. Take my family to the beach for two weeks.
23. Ride a roller coaster with Lulu.
24. Build/have a small studio.
25. Grow a vegetable garden.
26. Take the family apple picking.
27. Teach Tate to swim.
28. Teach Lulu to ice skate.
29. Run in another race with my dad.
30. Buy Trent a new truck.
31. Open a restaurant.
32. Learn to play the guitar.
33. Learn the B. Spears “I’m a Slave 4 U” choreography.
34. Send both of my kids to college.
35. Bake a loaf of bread from scratch.
36. Supervise a school field trip.
37. Go fishing with my kids at the lake.
38. Get up the guts to email my heros and let them know how awesome they are. – DONE – May 2012
39. Learn how to do letterpress.
40. Start a social non-profit business.
41. Give up drinking soda. – DONE – May 2012
42. Have beautiful photos taken in my wedding dress with my husband.
43. Write a screenplay.
44. Ride an elephant in India.
45. Report for NPR.
46. Live somewhere where we don’t have a car.
47. Get a bike and ride with the kids. – DONE – May 2012
48. Read a novel to the kids.
49. Learn to snap my fingers.
50. Learn to “wolf whistle.”
51. Teach the kids how to drive.
52. Learn to drive a stick shift.
53. Get over my fear of boats and go on a cruise.
54. Work at Harvesters for a day with the kids.
55. Start a charity in my family’s name.
56. Ride in a hot air balloon.
57. Renew my vows with the husband.
58. Go on a cross country road trip and stop at all sorts of kitschy places.
59. Finish my first painting.
60. Give up alcohol for one month out of every year.
61. Go to Vegas with my best friends.
62. Put together a will.
63. Ask our friends to be Tate’s godparents.
64. Learn to be more tolerant of people in my family who’s views are different from mine.
65. Look up my geneology and find out where I came from.
66. Throw a fancy dinner party.
67. Do another photography project (ie. NYC + KC).
68. Buy a beach cottage.
69. Cook every meal for one week.
70. Learn to surf.
71. Kiss Trent at the Eiffel Tower.
72. See the Grand Canyon.
73. Hike through a tropical rain forest.
74. Learn how to fly an airplane.
75. Relearn how to speak fluent Italian.
76. Go camping with the family.
77. Go to New Orleans during Marti Gras.
78. Get another degree.
79. Teach English at a school abroad.
80. Learn to snowboard.
81. Create new content ideas for the blog, like video and images.
82. Hug a koala bear.
83. Visit Hawaii.
84. Donate $100 on Christmas Eve yearly to a stranger.
85. Go to Japan.
86. See a show on Broadway (like, the real one). – DONE – Newsies in NYC, May 2012
87. Ride in a rickshaw. – DONEish – Rode in a pedicab in NYC, which Trent says definitely counts as a rickshaw…May 2012
88. Spend an entire day in a museum. – DONE – The Met in NYC, May 2012
89. Have a gallery showing.
90. Turn off my cellphone.
91. Find out what makes me happy and do it, every single day.
92. Learn to be a better communicator.
93. Make my home a happy and hopeful place.
94. Attend a non-traditional wedding.
95. Do “Project Life” for one month.
96. Be proud of my self. Treat myself better. Celebrate my successes.
97. Give a toast at an important event.
98. Read one book a month for a year.
99. Journal daily.
100. Create weekly goals. Organize what I want to do, and try not to get distracted.
101. Learn to deal with disappointment in productive ways.
102. Write affirmations. Don’t discourage myself.
103. Own my life.
Items Completed from the Original 2008 Life List
2. Purchase my own house – DONE – October 2008
11. Give a stranger $100 on Christmas Eve – DONE – Christmas Eve, 2009 (and 2010, 2011…it’s a tradition, yay!)
17. Take photos of someone famous – DONE – June 2011, Disneyworld, yup, I’m counting Minnie Mouse
24. Buy a brand new Mac computer – DONE – February 2011
31. Turn off my phone for a day – DONE – August 2008, Family Reunion in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
45. Attend a political rally – DONE – October 2008, Barack Obama “Change We Need Rally” in Kansas City
46. Donate to charity anonymously – DONE – October 2008, but I can’t tell you who or that ruins it!
47. Drink wine in Central Park – DONE – May 2008, Theresa’s Wedding
50. Reconnect with an old friend – DONE – June 2008, Anna “Banana” Kaye, Roomate from Italy
55. See a Broadway play – DONE – November 2009, Wicked, during the Broadway Across America Tour
58. Cook every night for 7 days – DONE – June 2009
69. Have more kids – DONE – December 2010, Mr. Tater Tot
77. Have a girls vacation with friends – DONE – July 2010, Girls Trip, Destin, Texas
88. Make enough money to support my family DONE – February 2008
92. Drink a fancy cocktail on the roof of an apartment building in NYC – DONE (sort of, close enough, technically not an “apartment” building) – May 2008, Theresa’s Wedding
93. Go to therapy – DONE – April 2011
94. Go for a week without checking email – DONE – August 2008, Peters Family Reunion