Some call April the cruelest month, but to me the evening light and gentle warmth speak together of possibility. It is a time for dreaming. It is a time for making plans.
Longtime readers know I advocate making a list called the List of 100 Dreams. This is a completely unedited list of anything you might want to do or have in life. I got the idea from career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine years ago, and the brilliance of it is that it forces you to really think. Many people start a bucket list but they stop at about #25 (after thinking up the 25 countries they want to visit). When you are aiming to think of 100 things, you think of the big and small. And that's great, because while you can certainly plan for the big stuff, you can also do a lot of the small stuff quickly. Naming your desires moves them into the active planning part of your brain. You start to try stuff. You might not like all of it! (Ceniza-Levine wanted to take a sewing class…and then she hated it). But this self-knowledge is great. It takes things from the realm of what if to knowing truly who you are.
I wrote my most recent List of 100 Dreams in June, 2015. I recently revisited the list to see what I had crossed off in the past two years. My update is below, but in the meantime, I want to nudge you to cross some things off your list!
The List of 100 Dreams Challenge: In the comments, tell me one item on your bucket list, or List of 100 Dreams, that you've managed to cross off in the recent past. Tell how you made it happen. I'll draw a number randomly from the comments and that commenter will win a signed copy of Bianca Bosker's Cork Dork, a book about how she achieved that bucket list item of becoming a master sommelier. (It's good! You can read the NY Times review here.) Comments will close (for purposes of the giveaway) at midnight, eastern time, on Wednesday April 5.
Now to my updates!
#5 - Paris plus the French countryside. I didn't make it into the countryside, other than the ride from the airport, but I did go to Paris twice in 2016. How crazy is that? I could have become a member at the Louvre.
#12 - eat lobster by the sea in Maine. My husband and I took an adults-only trip to Acadia and Bar Harbor, Maine, in July 2016. It was lovely. I felt so "off the clock" that I was inspired to propose a book by that name. Coming out in spring 2018!
#20 - I reminded myself to put New Orleans on the travel list. I will be going in May to speak at Inc magazine's GrowCo. If you're coming to the conference, please let me know. I would love to say hello in person.
#22 - do a long, beautiful bike ride. I did 20 miles along the Lehigh River Gorge Trail outside Jim Thorpe this fall. I plan to do the bike ride again this spring/summer. Now that I know that my bike can fit in the back of my SUV, there's really nothing stopping me from doing this more frequently.
#28 - hire a personal chef for a while. The new nanny who joined us in summer of 2016 took over weekday cooking duties, so I achieved the goal of this one.
#29 - upgrade home decoration. I did the two bathrooms and the kitchen lighting that were driving me crazy. Nothing else is so urgent. Tanya Davis (the artist mentioned in this item) has not painted any more strawberries, but I did get to meet her in person when I stopped by the Torpedo Factory in August, 2016.
#35 - buy a speaking dress I feel amazing in. I don't know about feeling amazing, but given the number of blue sheath dresses I have collected over the past two years, I kind of need to stop myself from buying speaking dresses at this point.
#37 - visit an art museum monthly. I don't know if I've quite hit monthly, though 2 Louvre visits in 2016 isn't bad. Plus visits to the Met, and Philly's art museum several times. I went to a water color exhibit at the Philly art museum last week when I took a long lunch break. And I plan to go to the Brandywine art museum combined with a Longwood Gardens trip sometime soon.
#45 - buy a swimsuit I really like. I now own a fun blue and coral Tommy Bahama bikini.
#46 - get a better headshot. Love this one from Yana Shellman!
#56 - get better at my keynote speech and market it. I could do better at the marketing part, but I am pretty happy with my keynote, and giving it has become a big part of my actual job.
#59 and #60 — attend another women's conference and fodder-finding conferences like MAKERS. I think TED Women, Fortune MPW Next Gen, and SXSW count here.
#72 - take more family photos. I just scheduled another session!
#73 - become more of a children's book connoisseur. I do read quite a bit to my children, and what I've noticed, from random books we check out at the library, is that a lot of children's books aren't that good. My kids are good at sussing this out. My 5-year-old thought one had cute pictures and when we read it she said "You know mommy, that was a really boring book." But there are some that are good. In terms of ones my kids ask again and again for, the only celebrity-written one that can hold water is Julianne Moore's Freckleface Strawberry series (fun fact: the illustrator, LeUyen Pham, makes an appearance in What the Most Successful People Do at Work). We are also big fans of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Gruffalo, Ladybug Girl, and Petunia, the Girl Who Was NOT a Princess.
#75 - make and decorate a doll house. See this Frozen castle.
#77 - create one-on-one adventures with each kid. I'm not sure if I'm hitting once a quarter, but the Mommy Days last summer, and my various adventures with the 9-year-old (NYC, zoo) were fun.
#79 - maintain and expand my sitter portfolio. Doing pretty good on this. I have become much better at figuring out what coverage we need.
#84 - go on regular date nights, sometimes to creative things. We've got a "Brew at the Zoo" night coming up in June. That might count.
#86 - chaperone more field trips. I have done 2 or so per year. It's a good way to volunteer with the kids' schools and do something fun with the kids at the same time.
#87 - pick strawberries and apples yearly. Haven't missed a season in a while! It's about 7 weeks to strawberry picking time. Public service announcement: Remember the berry season is short.
#90 - take more walks with the kids. I have walked the 5-year-old to school a few times and hope to more as the weather gets nicer. It's only half a mile, and if I leave right after the boys get on the bus I can be back right around 9 a.m. to start work. I just need to hold myself accountable for doing this twice a week or so.
#94 - keep going with my time log. I am almost two years in. I will hit 2 years on April 20.
A lot of stuff hasn't happened, of course. I am not playing the piano more regularly or singing in a choir, even though I quite miss that. My kids are no better at eating in restaurants than they were. Not that many of the writing goals have been happening either. But the list can change over time, and I will be at this for a while too I suppose.
Tell me about an item on your List of 100 Dreams, and how you achieved it. Remember, I will pick a comment randomly (by number) and send you a signed copy of Cork Dork!