10/01/10: My List of 100 Dreams

As promised, today is List of 100 Dreams Day here at My168Hours.com. I’m posting the first 100 dreams that I came up with, and I hope you will join me! You can post a few (5-10? or more if you want) in the comments section, or post on your own blog. (2013 UPDATE: Comments are closed on this post, but you can post comments on my recent post on Revisiting the Bucket List)

Making a listThis is not a complete list of everything I want to do or have in life, but it’s a start. I realized, while writing it, that I’ve actually made pretty good progress on checking off items that may have landed on previous Lists. Years ago, I might have put “write a book” on there, or “live in New York City,” or “get married” and “have kids.” There are many places I want to travel, but also many places I’ve been. In writing this, I also came up with a few that surprised me. Christmas sonnets? Anyway, here goes!


1. Have a book hit bestseller list

2. Publish a novel

3. Always have another book on the horizon that I’m working on. I like to spend my hours writing books.

4. Get pieces into my favorite magazines: Runner’s World, O, Time, The New Yorker

5. Write the cover piece of the weekend section of the WSJ

6. Ghostwrite Paula Radcliffe’s memoirs (I had Sarah Palin on the list but she hired someone else. Oh well.  Basically, I am really drawn to stories of women who’ve done amazing things while their kids are little).

7. Write a collection of Christmas sonnets

8. Have a print op-ed in NY Times. I have hit USA Today and WSJ, so this is the remainder of the big three. I actually have never tried, basically because I write for the others. But we’ll put it on the bucket list.

9. Write a series of columns that involves traveling to exotic places…expensed.

10. Write a series of columns for one of my regular gigs (say, USA Today) on a single topic and really get buzz going on it. I did this with the Huffington Post and “Core Competency Moms” two years ago; I’d like to do it again.

11. Collaborate with an awesome illustrator to do a children’s book

12. Write a young-reader chapter book that I’d want my kids to read (a la Beverly Cleary with Ramona)

13. Teach journalism and creative writing at a top tier college

14. Influence: I have a peculiar free market feminist philosophy and over time I intend to have more people espouse it

15. Blogging: I want the kind of blog where hundreds of people comment regularly, because it is just that compelling

16. In some way/shape/form, attend the Fortune Most Powerful Women summit

17. Create a testimonials file — nice things people have said, which are good to read during the inevitable moments of frustration in creative careers

18. Step up my involvement with professional groups – writing groups, writers’ organizations, etc.

19. Be interviewed about my book on the Daily Show. In a positive fashion.

20. Get on Oprah. Time seems to be running out on this one!


21. Earn enough to support my family, well, on my own

22. Be able to live off passive income (dividends, royalties and interest). Even though I never plan to stop working!

23. Invest in a handful of start-ups

24. Invest in a handful of start-up non-profits too

25. Spend money mindfully on experiences and things that I and my family enjoy

26. Spend money mindfully to improve the world around me. Working on exactly what this will entail, but that’s part of the next book.

27. Create jobs

28. Commission new music (have indirectly done this with my choir, but would like to do a longer work)


29. Do a wine tour in South America

30. Eat at Noma in Denmark (I just read about it in Vogue)

31. See Jordan and area around there

32. Go to Greece/Turkey/other ancient archeological sites

33. Eat my way through Italy. I’ve been once and my goodness, even the food in the gas stations is amazing! This time, focus on the food.

34. Visit Mongolia. Probably not by camel.

35. Travel along the old Silk Road – this may require some regime changes before this happens

36. Visit the Netherlands and see where the “Vanderkams” are from

37. Do a trip that involves stopping at various towns along the Mississippi river

38. Occasionally do something crazy like go to London or Paris for the weekend

39. Go to Australia with my kids when they’re a little older (I lived there for a few months in 2000)

40. Go to Africa to do more safaris with my kids when they’re older (have done this with husband)

41. Spend an extended period of time at the beach – maybe rent a house for a month sometime

42. Visit Seattle and the mountains around there – I like the Pacific northwest

43. See Antarctica very briefly. I don’t like the cold.

44. Cruise around the Galapagos

45. Re-visit Toledo and Seville. Actually, I’d love to spend an extended time traveling around Europe. It’s something I never did when I was younger. Will probably take a different form now, as I don’t intend to backpack at age 31

Other Experiences

46. Go on dinner dates twice a month with my husband. We are failing miserably at this right now.

47. Eat at all of the top Zagat-rated restaurants in NYC

48. Ditto with wherever I live next

49. Be a “regular” somewhere: restaurant/coffee shop, etc.

50. Play the piano again on occasion

51. Train for and run more races in beautiful occasions. The marathon is off the list after Big Sur this past April. Much as running NYC and Boston sound exciting, I’m thinking half marathons now.

52. Run races with my kids when they’re older. I’d like at least one of my children to be my running partner someday.

53. Sing in a choir with my kid(s)

54. Do a big volunteer project with my family

55. Camping! Figure out a way to do this even with little ones. Maybe I’ll be a Cub Scout assistant leader.

56. Consciously create “perfect days” — days when I pack in a lot of things I love to do

57. Get regular massages

58. Do strength training with a trainer for a while

59. Take a yoga class on occasion

60. Host a big Christmas celebration

61. Host a big Thanksgiving celebration

62. Go to art museums more often – even when I just have a spare hour, seize the moment

63. Go to the ballet

64. Hear the NY Philharmonic at least one more time before we leave this city

65. Go to the Very Young People’s Concerts with Jasper

66. Enjoy my food in general – I’m trying to have good food in the house so meals and snacks are a pleasure. This fits into the entry above about spending money mindfully.

67. Do more dinner parties. Host them! Go to them! This will probably require more of a dining room table (we’ll get that one out of storage when we move).

68. Go visit the High Line. Haven’t been there yet.

69. Hiking – may have to wait until both kids can walk without falling over or asking to be carried

70. Sit on the balcony and write in my journal more often. I love blogging, but my personal journal is suffering as I share my life with the world.

71. Get family photos taken every six months or so while kids are little

72. Write a journal of memories (“Life with Little Ones”) that I can show the kids when they’re older

73. Get my torn ear lobe repaired and re-pierced

74. Read more stories with the kids when I’m not tired and rushing them to get to bed

75. Become a children’s book connoisseur so we always have good ones around

76. Get out of the house more with the kids – come up with fun things to do in the evenings. When in doubt, go for a walk, go to the playroom, go to the grocery store, do something…

77. Listen to classical music sometimes when I’m checking email

78. Take a basic painting or drawing class

79. Learn to take better photos, and print up more of them

80. Take a basic cooking class

81. Learn something about cheese, beer and wine (maybe chocolate too). And flowers.

82. Live near a great running/bike path

83. Use the jacuzzi in my gym

84. Lattes. Order them instead of regular coffee on occasion.


85. Own less stuff in general. I have a lot of books, CDs and old linens to dump. This item could read “get rid of my stuff.”

86. Edit my wardrobe down to fewer items, all of which I love (getting closer on this one). I want to be excited to get dressed.

87. Live somewhere with some acreage and awesome leaves in the fall. What would be really cool is if it were also close to the beach and mountains, but I’m not quite sure how that would work geographically.

88. That house should have a separate building for my office. Which will be comfy and wonderful.

89. Also a fireplace and a kitchen that begs to be cooked in even if I do not, technically, cook much

90. Have an amazing garden. I also know that I do not wish to personally care for this garden, so we may have to step up the financial goals on the List of 100 Dreams a notch. Or get my husband to quit his job.

91. Have lots of house plants too

92. Dark chocolate covered caramels. Mmmm…. I’ve been making myself run with the stroller to/from Trader Joe’s to buy them.

93. A car. I’ve actually never owned one. Need not be flashy. Just reliable and get good gas mileage. And I need to learn to drive it.

94. A bike. I’d probably prefer to get around by bike, when I think about it.

95. A well-used hammock with a view

96. A piano

97. Interesting art. I wrote in 168 Hours about buying my Texas Strawberry painting by Tanya Davis, which would have made a previous List of 100 Dreams. Walls should be inspiring to look at.


98. A novel a month. Ok, 6 per year. I read a lot of non-fiction for work.

99. Poetry. This should be readily available on my iPhone for reading in line.

100. Casablanca. I just don’t like movies but this is supposed to be the best one ever, so guess I should see it!

What’s on your List of 100 Dreams?

flickr image courtesy of Crystl


27 thoughts on “10/01/10: My List of 100 Dreams

    1. Why yes, yes I do! You mean how to go about knocking some of them off? The first thing to do is look for some easy ones. Like I can go to the High Line this weekend. I can get a Poem a Day service or some such lined up so these come to me. I can start looking for painting or photography workshops. I can figure out when date night could actually, truly happen. And then I can also start looking at some of the bigger ones and seeing how to break it down into smaller steps. I’d had “run a marathon” on an earlier version of this list, and signed up for one in April, and trained for that. They may not all happen, but it’s a great exercise for reminding you what you enjoy doing during the time you have.

  1. I liked reading your list, but I had a lot of trouble doing this list for myself when I read the book, and gave up pretty quickly. The dreams that kept popping up for me were things that I had no personal control over, and that were completely unrealistic, like dreaming about a loved one recovering from a mental illness, or dreaming about stopping/reversing global climate change. Or dreaming about a world where teens won’t be bullied into committing suicide.

    When I was a kid I dreamed about traveling to other planets, faster than the speed of light. Then I took AP physics and learned about relativity. It was kind of like that, all over again.

    1. Karen- I’m not sure how much control I have about getting on Oprah either, or how realistic that is… I would say that the good thing about it being a list of 100 dreams is that you can put all the ones down about stopping the war in the Congo or traveling to Jupiter in 3 seconds, but you will probably run out of those before you get to 100. Then you have to start digging, and you might find a handful that are within your sphere of influence and are not outside the realm of possibility either. Like if 1-19 are impossible, but 20 is “run a 5k” then we’re good. That’s one more idea that we had before! You could also recast some of yours into more doable form. So we can’t personally reverse climate change, but you could write letters to various legislators, contribute to an environmental organization, etc. And while none of us will be able to create a world where teens won’t be bullied into committing suicide, we can mentor a handful of teens to make sure that none of them do.

  2. Laura, you have me thinking. Am I just not as goal-oriented as I may have once been? If I set an easy goal (get a pedicure, get a make-up lesson, try harpsichord lessons), I just do it. I have time to read a novel (or a memoir, which I prefer), time to play the piano, time to go out with your dad for dinner. Time is no longer such an issue for me.

    I’d like to travel more but the man I would like as a partner in travel prefers to stay home! I want to see Petra, Acadia National Park, and British Columbia, and I want to return to a favorite place, St. Andrews, Scotland.

    I always set goals for teaching. Some have worked; others have not. But at least it is good to attempt new things. It’s been fun to start my own blog and I would be happy just to have a few regular comments from readers!

    One major goal would be to try to have more contact with my grandchildren, not only your little fellows, but the older ones as well who have their own busy lives. Maybe I’ll try to work on that one.

  3. I agree with you about the food in Italy. I want to go back just to eat. And I’m not a food person!

    My own list is stalled out at 11. Maybe I can do some more brainstorming this weekend on my regular walks with the kids. I do my best thinking while walking.

    On the date nights thing… we have a hard time getting out at night, too. We have plenty of willing babysitters, but I’m always so tired int he evening, since the baby doesn’t sleep through the night yet. So we do date lunches instead. Either during the week when the kids are in day care or on the weekends- which makes for more fun babysitting time, anyway.

    Hmmm. Maybe I should add “revive date lunches” to my list. Or maybe I should stop procrastinating on the presentation I’m supposed to be working on and get back to that!

    1. Cloud: It’s good to come back to this list a few times. It took me two days, and I’ve done it before, so it was easier for me than for most people.
      I am happy to report that after reading this list, my husband found a babysitter for an upcoming date night.

  4. Karen’s post reminds me of the first time I ever tried to make a Dreams list. I found it really hard to think of that many things I wanted until I realized it wasn’t that I didn’t want anything, it was hard because I was stuck in the mindset of “Nice girls don’t want anything for themselves–that would be selfish. Nice girls only want good things for other people”–like an end to all bullying or for someone else’s illness to be healed. Not that these aren’t worthy dreams, but they wouldn’t really be MY dreams, because they aren’t really about me. After a while I figured out that making your dreams more personal also makes them more doable. I can’t personally end all bullying, but I can hug my best friend’s teenage daughters and tell them how much I care about them every time I see them. I can’t cure my relative’s illness, but I can set aside quality time to spend with them or communicate with them in other ways if they live far away. These are specific, achievable goals that will bring me joy and pleasure too–as opposed to huge causes undertaken on behalf of other people or the common good.

    Laura, I love your list and can help you save time with it by combining things!

    The best dark chocolate-covered SALT caramels in the universe are made by NuNu on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn (http://www.nunuchocolates.com/stores.php), and their shop does beer/chocolate and wine/chocolate pairings and tastings, which could be done as a date with your husband. Beer/cheese/wine/chocolate tastings also make great dinner-party themes that don’t involve tons of cooking or shopping time, since you can ask each guest to bring a different beer/wine/chocolate/cheese.

    Classic movies you’ve never seen also make great themes for dinner parties where the focus isn’t only on the food, so you don’t have to kill yourself cooking. I’m not really into movies either (and am glad to know I’m not the only one!), so I’ve never seen Casablanca or most classic films, which is why I’ll be attending a South Pacific dinner party this fall to catch up.

    You can also combine dinner parties with novel-reading by joining or starting a book group that meets monthly or bi-monthly to discuss books over dinner. In my book group we take turns hosting and the host chooses the book we’ll read for that meeting. Don’t let the lack of a dining room table stop you. My “dining room” is a card table in one corner of my living room, and my “kitchen” isn’t even a separate room, but I can a serve a sit-down dinner for 8 to my book group by rolling up the rug, adding another card table (all tables look alike under a tablecloth), borrowing 4 more chairs from my upstairs neighbor, and serving buffet-style from my desk (also in the same room and easily converted to a sideboard with a tablecloth).

    Get your boys involved in gardening. Kids already love playing in dirt, so it’s age-appropriate and a natural fit. (I think I planted my first sunflower seeds in nursery school.) If you’re going to live somewhere with lots of acreage, you could also rent/lend/trade some of it to a friend or neighbor with less land to garden on in exchange for a share of the produce.

    Commission a composer to set your Xmas sonnets to music.

    The only places that leap to mind with both mountains and oceans are Mt. Desert Island in Maine and Rio de Janeiro. Acadia National Park (on Mt. Desert Island) also has terrific hiking trails and bridle/bike paths. The Pacific Northwest and the Southwest of England have lots of cliffs along the coast, if that’ll do? Oh, and Valparaiso, Chile is built on a cliff overlooking the ocean–be sure to stop there on your South American wine tour and visit Pablo Neruda’s writing studio (also hanging off the cliff over the ocean). In fact, Neruda has at least 3 homes/studios in various parts of Chile that are all well worth visiting, so you could write a series of literary travel columns on those to expense your wine tour. Also, trips to Antarctica depart from the southernmost tip of Chile (Tierra del Fuego), so you can knock that one off too while you’re there.

    Instead of going backpacking in Europe, rent a car and go camping in Europe with your kids. The coast of Bretagne, for example, has rock formations as wild as anything in the American Southwest, only they’re right on the ocean. The French campgrounds I stayed at were dirt cheap, right on the water, and had good plumbing. Or you could take your family hiking in the Tatras (Eastern Europe) and stay in former Communist sanatoriums–though you might need connections to do this.

    Have your dinner dates with your husband at the top Zagat-rated restaurants.

    Become a regular somewhere by doing your journaling and/or blogging in a bar or coffee shop.

    Take your kids and your camera and sketchbook and journal along when you go to the High Line. It’s a great spot to take family photos, art photos, sketch, and write–though maybe not all in one trip!

    You’ll have to solve the whole economy–or become a loan shark–to live off the interest these days! 😉 Meanwhile you can get started on #22-24 and #26-27 with: http://www.mcenterprises.org/ and http://www.prosper.com/

    You can incorporate more poetry into your life at odd moments by subscribing to the Writer’s Almanac podcast and/or RSS feed from NPR: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/

    I agree about having good art on your walls. Virtually everyone who enters my apartment spontaneously exclaims, “I love your place–it’s so beautiful!” They’re clearly not reacting to the furniture (all hand-me-downs except for an IKEA couch) but to the layout (good feng shui) and the artwork. My brother once opined that at some point after college we all need to graduate from posters to real art–which doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive if you are an artist or photographer yourself and/or have friends or relatives who are artists or photographers. Even if you don’t, just paring down whatever prints or reproductions you’ve already accumulated can make a big difference: if you don’t like it enough to get it framed properly, you probably don’t like it enough for it occupy your walls.

    I’m dying to go to Mongolia too!

    1. Wow, thanks for all the ideas! Yes, many could be combined. And depending how long the construction crew is in my apartment I may wind up becoming a regular at my local Starbucks. Camping in Europe and setting my Christmas sonnets to music. All quite doable, I think 🙂
      And yes, we have to keep these lists personal. No need to make them politically correct either.

  5. 100 Dreams

    1. Get a real working fireplace
    2. Eat my way through Italy
    3. Ski with my kids; make sure my kids know how to ski…
    4. Write and get published, but just enough to suit my interests, that is not as my job but b/c there is something I want to write about
    5. Own a business that Sells a million dollars or more than that is fine too!
    6. Pay off both our houses – live debt free
    7. Not need to work
    8. Save enough money to send all my kids to college
    9. Save enough money to retire comfortably even though don’t plan to retire
    10. Take my whole extended family on a super fun cruise
    11. Date night once a week or date something once a week or twice a month
    12. Exercise every day – when not pregnant run 10 miles a week or more
    13. After this baby weigh 125 lbs
    14. Strength train or hire a trainer
    15. Play tennis again … teach my kids to play see if one will be my partner
    16. Have a porch swing at my beach place
    17. have a fountain in my backyard with fish
    18. have a patio and French doors in my house from the back of the hosue (we have a side exit but no back patio)
    19. own a dog without loosing my mind and before my kids are too old
    20. read a book a month
    21. Take my kid to sesame place before she is not free admission!

    1. Cara- love these! Especially the Sesame Place one. Better get on that! Unless she finds life-size Sesame Street characters frightening. Jasper did for a while right around the time he turned 2 — he thought a “live” Elmo he saw at a party was really scary.
      I am detecting a theme for “date somethings” on this thread! Many people trying for that…

  6. Cara and Laura, thank you so much for your inspirational lists!

    I started my day zero project last august (101 goals in 1001 days) and I can see how I gradually dare to enjoy life more and schedule days to accomplish some of my dreams. I don’t have my list online -I keep it next to my bed- but I plan on writing a bit on my blog about it every now and then.

    Also, if you have some questions about traveling in the Netherlands or Belgium, you can always ask me.

    1. Eva – that sounds exciting to do 101 goals in 1001 days – and I’m sure it’s been absolutely amazing to see them coming true. I look forward to checking out your posts about it.

  7. @ Laura — Great list — Thanks for sharing! Breaking it down into subcategories works well, too — I’m going to do that to mine, and then post.

    For the children’s book, The Gotham Writers’ Workshop has some excellent courses on writing children’s books. Something I learned at the one I took — publishers like to pair the illustrators and writers, so just write a good story, sell it, and let them do the rest. It’s one of the fun, creative choices they get to make in the publishing process. You also have to let go and not expect that it will be illustrated in the way it appears in your mind’s eye. Often the writer and the illustrator have zero contact, so the illustrator is free to create.

    For hosting dinner parties — don’t be afraid to make it potluck — so much easier. Mostly people just want to get together in a home with good company and good food and are happy to contribute. I’m in a gourmet-wanna-be club where we pick a country, everybody brings a course, and we rotate who hosts.

    @ Gwyneth — Love your combo thinking! I’m going to take another look at my list with an eye toward some suitable pairings! Thanks!

  8. Wrote my 100 Dreams today, while waiting for my car to be serviced.
    I came up with 64, which is more than I’ve ever gotten to. I lost my momentum when they told me my car was finished. I was glad to see that many of them are doable in the short-term.

    I have done this before, but it’s always good to do again. When I compared this list to last year’s I was glad to see that I’ve achieved some of last year’s and moved on. ( I really need to work on “ride in a hot air balloon.”)

    I also realized that my dreams do not have to be big or lofty, or what I think others think should be on my list. (traveling for example) I just have to be true to me (thank you to Gretchen Rubin for that). Now that they are personal and broken into categories I feel better able to tackle them–and I now have the plan to use my time well to do it. (thank you, Laura)

    1. @Denise: 64 is still good! And you can come back to this list multiple times as things strike you. How about looking up where you can go on a hot air balloon ride this weekend? 🙂

  9. no hot air balloon rides around here in this iffy weather, unless I want to travel to Arizona ( I do, but not yet) there is one every year in NJ, so I am going to get on the email list for that one.

  10. 1. Launch the business that’s been on the back burner too long
    2. Finish & publish my book
    3. Travel to the Middle East
    4. Play the piano again
    5. Live in a house I love
    6. Get extended family together for annual reunion
    7. Create a passive income stream
    8. Lose weight
    9. Manage time better (think I’ve found a resource for that!)
    10. Write another book

    As already mentioned in comments, some of my dreams are impacted by choices of others. And some are impacted by severe back problems (piano, travel, some work). So some may have to be creative. I may have to find a way to love the house I’m in. I may need to travel “virtually”. I’ve done a little of that.

    You have me thinking, and I’m sure that’s part of the secret to achieving your dreams. 100 will sure be a lot of work!

    1. @Bonnie – sounds like a good start for a list. Would like to hear more about the business! And yes, the point of this is to get us thinking, because part of the trouble with filling our time is that we don’t know what we’d like to do with it. So if someone magically gave us another 50 hours, we’d probably just do more of what we’re doing now.

  11. Laura,
    Alright, I cannot stop thinking about this. So today this is my intention. To think about and write my 100 dreams. I’ve done a short bucket list but the *dream* part–makes this feel different–maybe that’s just me. Thanks for this mind-shift:)

    1. @Deborah: Go for it! We often get so caught up in daily life that we don’t stop and think what we’d like to do with our time (and our lives). I will probably come back to this list multiple times, and it changes over time. But isn’t it nice to spend a while dreaming?

  12. We just moved to the area south of Seattle a couple of months ago. I’ve had some back issues but we hope it won’t be long before we are exploring the area and the mountains here. It’s AMAZING to drive down the interstate on a clear day and see that Mountain (Ranier). If you ever make it to the area, let me know!

    On another note, I’ve begun making a list similar to this and it gets re-written every three months…I like the idea of having a longer list and specific to the different categories. I will be working on this over the weekend. Thanks!

  13. A mixture of basic things that most people have done and some very ambitious ones that will take some achieving…. like it as the same.

  14. Suggest you go to a craft beer festival! Or tour a craft brewery. The latter is more kid friendly.

  15. I listen to BOBW and I’ve read (and bought) most of your books. I’ve started reading your blog archives recently and when I came to this one I was struck by how many of these items you have already done! I only know of the ones you mentioned on the podcast / recent blog posts / books, but it’s still quite a few.

    You really do practice what you preach! I’m impressed.

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