Every year I make a list for my birthday. Then I try to cross off as many things as I can. I’m always surprised by how many I do achieve; often it’s the outliers and far fetched ones that end up miraculously manifesting. Others seem to show up again and again as works in progress. I’m never discouraged by the things I don’t finish, for I often find myself looking back on previous lists, and realize that though something maybe didn’t happen in a particular year–many do happen sooner or later.

 
There’s a chapter in my book about writing lists. I think there’s magic in the process. Listing for something makes it so much more likely to become real. And every year I’m reminded of this as I’ve had friends and strangers email me with opportunities to make items on my list come true.

37 Before 37

1. Strengthen my core 2. Visit as many museums as possible. 5, minimum. 3. Work slowly and steadily on producing pieces for publication. Let that work inform the slow and steady work of writing my second book. 4. Attend a writing conference. 5. Start swimming regularly again. 6. Spend time on the Pacific ocean. 7. Morning writing, weekly. 8.Yoga, weekly. 9. Make time to read the Sunday Times in its entirety once a month. 10. Make a driftwood mobile with Bean + Sprout. 11. Write a love letter to each of my boys. 12. Make a sock elephant with Sprout. 13. Read at least 12 books this year. 14. Buy some new house plants. 15. Make + give away survival packs for the homeless. 16. Send pretty cards for no reason. 17. Finally watch The Godfather. 18. Go to the circus. 19.Teach a workshop. 20. Get my financial life in order. 21. Find a mentor. 22. Be a mentor. 23. Set Bean up with an international pen pal. 24. Get a facial. 25. Use a standing desk. 26. Take a paragliding lesson. 27. Go on 12 super sexy dates with my guy. 28. Spend some time out doors everyday. 29. Finally host an interview series on my blog. 30. Paint at least one of big canvasses I’ve had in my studio for years. 31. Get as close to 8 hours of sleep every night as possible. 32. Spend an evening star watching my guy this summer. 33. Have a picnic with friends. 34. Learn a new water sport: kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing. 35. Make ALL work I do be either writing, or as as a strategist. 36. Go bright blonde for a while. 37. Spend an afternoon on a sail boat.

36 Before 36

1. Buy a pair of turquoise tights (They ended up being grey + polka dotted, but still. 2. Receive a huge bouquet of ranunculus 3. Help someone harvest honey 4. Run 15 miles a week 5. Drive less 6. Use reusable bags at the grocery store every time 7. Teach a creative workshop 8. Teach a writing class 9. Submit 5 pieces of writing 10. Nurture creative collaborations 11. Host a creative interview series on my blog 12. Host monthly dinner parties for friends 13. Cultivate habits that sustain my work 14. Spend more time on the Pacific 15. Spend a weekend in a cabin with just T 16. Save for the big things 17. Go camping with the boys this summer 18. Read a half dozen of the great American novels I never read in high school 19. Clean out closets and give away extraneous stuff 20. Let self care be a priority 21. Focus on the essentials: pair down, give away, simplify 21. Start small. 22. Sketch weekly. 23. Become conversant in French 24. Learn to fish-tail braid my hair 25. Get back in the pottery studio + throw some bowls 26. Send postcards 27. Take Bean to the Natural History Museum 28. Ride a carousel 29. Take a paragliding lesson 30. Go to bed earlier more often 31. Learn the Lindy Hop 32. Wear more stripes 33. Acquire a pair of cowboy boots 34. Night swimming in natural water 35. Read poems before bed daily 36. Go flyfishing.

35 Before 35

1.Walk a slack line 2. Shoot a double exposure series with my holga 3. Learn to develop film in a dark room 4. Watch: Darjeeling Limited, and The Artist 5. A successful, joyful, profitable New England book tour. 6. Teach an e-course or workshop 7. Explore the process of screen printing 8. Paint with encaustic 9. Run a 5K in 25 minutes. 10. Watch the sun rise from the top of a mountain 11. Write 5 short essays or stories 12. Plan a interview series on my blog. 13. Spark curiosity 14. Read: Contents May Have Shifted, and A Visit from the Goon Squad, and The Lover’s Dictionary 15. Do one tiny creative act every day + keep a record 16. Hear Elizabeth Strout read her work 17. Buy flowers for myself. Especially pink peonies. Or accept lots of lovely flowers from T. :) 18. Do another small art tag sale. 19. Launch my new website. 20. Give unexpected presents 21. Collect pretty plates 22. Yoga. Do more of it 23. Leave the country 24.Paint a corner of my house aquamarine 25. Say no to things that don’t ignite joy, spark creative potential, or fill my well 26. Paint the rooster series 27. Start trends, make waves, and create opportunities. 28. Teach Clover to heel. Sort of. 29. Paint the big canvases I’ve had in my studio for 3 years. 30. Make time to just be quiet every day.31. Call my sisters regularly 32. Support local artists. I now own three new pieces of local art. 33. Throw a set of bowls on a potters wheel. 34. Start a local mentoring program for young creatives. 35. Spend time at the ocean

34 Before 34

1) 1) Snowboard blue squares. 2) Sign a book deal. 3) Go car camping this summer. 4) Host a fabulous 4th of July party for friends. 5) Use twitter’s list feature. 6) Log 500 miles on my bike this spring/summer.(Close: logged 439) 7) Run with friends. 8) Attract prosperity. 9) Make industry connections. 10) Watch “500 Days Of Summer” and “Lars & The Real Girl.” 11) Make face to face visits with faraway friends happen. 12) Write more love letters to my boys. 13) Do another tiny art tag sale. 14) Be featured in Seven Days. 15) Make my father’s handwriting into a font. 16) Go ice skating. 17) Submit a magazine feature. 18) Croissants: from scratch. With chocolate filling.19) Attend a creative conference or workshop. 20) 5 pull-ups. 21) Go to Quebec with just T.(Close: Went to Boston instead.) 22) Start learning French. 23) Leverage my creative capital. 25) Become an SEO ninja. 26) Make an awesome new workout mix. 28) Finish photo albums from 2009 + 2010. 29) Take pictures with my Holga + new Polaroid cameras. 30) Hike Smugglers Notch. 31) Paint the rooster series I have in my head. 32) Read a poem (ALMOST) every day. 33) Take a trip to the ocean. 34) Say yes.
>> Past lists here.

33 Before 33

1) Launch & get funding for A Field Guide For Now. 2) Go to some local galleries. 3) Write some query letters. 4) Read/re-read every book on this list. 5) Plant berry bushes. 6) Learn CSS. 7). Finish A Field Guide To Now manuscript. 8 ) Hike Mt. Mansfield. 9) Go for a family bike ride. 10) Make a big deal out of friends & loved one’s birthdays. 11) Attend a writer’s conference. 12) Start the process of going back to school. 13) Make croissants from scratch. 14) Go to the Biodome in Montreal this summer. 15) Plant peonies. 16) Work on my abs. 17) Throw a garden party with pretty lights and fun drinks. 18.) Buy a vintage cake stand. 19) Wear dresses more. 20) Take risks with fashion. 21) Organize the basement. 22) Go mountain biking this summer. 23) Multiple streams of income. 24) Ride a train with the boys. 25) Go camping with friends. 26) Go to the local farmer’s market regularly. 27) Submit five short stories. 28.) Buy a new bikini. 29) Build a greenhouse with recycled windows. 30) Complete some new canvases. 31) Become adept at Photoshop. 32) Go to a museum. 33) Remember: “What if there is no emergency?”

32 Before 32

1. Read the New Yorker cover to cover often. 2. Learn to bake bread 3. Go berry picking. 4. Build Bean a treehouse. 5. Attend a writer’s conference 6. Submit some stories. 7. Stick with a regular writing routine. 8. Start keeping a Molskine notebook again. 9. Go to a drive-thru movie with DH this summer. 10. Bike the state of VT 11. Run a 5k 12. Frame & hang family photos in the hallway. 13. Take Bean fishing 14. Plant seed starts. 15. Keep a nature journal. 16. Go camping with the boys. 17. Roast marshmallows in the back yard by the fire with the boys. 18. Paint some big canvasses. 19. Teach Bean to swim. 20. Book manuscript: finish it. 21. Plant sunflowers and hollyhocks and zinnias. 22. Spend a weekend in Quebec in the summer. 23. Get a season ski pass and take on black diamonds. 24. Send paper mail more often. 25. Take the boys to the jazz festival. 26. Get back in the pottery studio. 27. Take Bean rock climbing. 28. See some classic movies. 29. Go dancing. 30. Learn to make pasta from scratch. 31. Make an organized submissions calendar. 32. Go to a concert.

 

Also check out my: Mighty Life List.