A while ago I stumbled upon Mighty Girl, and more specifically her Life List. It’s essentially a bucket list, things you’d like to do before you go. I thought it was amazing.
Until I read through it, and realized that it’s for sale. I mean, the items on the list are for sale. Companies can sponsor an item off of the list, Mighty Girl Maggie herself gets to cross the item off the list and a company gets a few sponsored posts.
These aren’t things like” Learn Italian” they’re things like “Go to Italy”, and I was immediately incensed and turned off. I can’t articulate why, when I break the idea down into its component parts it’s brilliant, so why do I find it so annoying?
- I have no problem with people monetizing blogs
- I have no problem with sponsored posts, as long as the sponsor is clearly stated at the beginning of the post (I hate reading an entire post and wondering the whole time why the writer is spending 2000 words on IKEA for no discernible reason, until I get to the end and BOOM! sponsored. It colours my perception of the writing and I’d like to have that context in place before I begin reading.)
- I think life lists are a pretty sweet idea
- Maggie is adorable y’all
So why the rage? Why was I so put off that I haven’t read her blog since? No idea.
Maybe because it seems like her life has a price tag? Maybe this falls into the same category as my reaction to learning that the year-long “find yourself” trip in Eat, Pray, Love was paid for by a publishing house. Doesn’t having a corporation sponsor an experience irrevocably change that experience? And even if it does, is that a bad thing?
Can I really say I’d turn down a trip to Greece if Proctor and Gamble wanted to pay for it?
Anyway, it got me thinking about my own Life List and as I’ve written before, I always get completely stumped when I think about this. Beyond the basics of having children, I can’t think of anything I completely need to do before I die. If I died tomorrow I would go with a smile.
This is one area I can’t plan, I don’t want to plan.
Then while I was searching through photo albums looking for pictures for the Story of Us post, I started realizing what a fucking amazing life I’ve had. The day to day can be pretty mundane, but the experiences I’ve had are incredible.
Guys, it brought tears to my eyes and I’m not even pms-ing!
Here’s my reverse life list, the amazing, incredible, awe-inspiring things I’ve done so far, in roughly chronological order:
- I was interviewed by CBC. In grade six. Something about standardized testing. I’m famous y’all!
- IB English and Social studies in High School (IB is a level higher than honours, reserved for only the geekiest of the geeks. My IB English class was taught by a deranged but wildly intelligent man who would automatically deduct 51% from a paper if we used the wrong your or you’re, there their or they’re.)
- Spent three weeks in Thailand and one week in Japan when I was 16.
- Was flashed by a chubby Japanese man.
- Kissed a python.
- Rode elephants.
- Graduated High School.
- Reported for a University paper.
- Wrote an (embarrassingly earnest) column for another University paper.
- Graduated University with a BA Sociology.
- Traveled around Australia for 4 months. Saw Koalas and Kangaroos.
- Swam with wild dolphins and a sea turtle. In the OCEAN, y’all, no aquarium. No trainers.
- Learned to surf.
- Learned to scuba dive.
- Rang in Christmas eve on a beach.
- Wrote for our town’s newspaper.
- Got uncomfortably close with a 200 lb albino python named Apollo.
- Shot clean in a biathlon. (Okay, a mini-biathlon that I was reporting on. But I SHOT CLEAN nonetheless)
- Went Ziptreking.
- Hiked up a mountain
- Learned to crochet. Six months later did my first market.
- Got married. Couldn’t stop smiling.
- Got a tattoo.
- Helped one of my teens kick meth and graduate high school.
- Threw a surprise party.
- Skied Whistler mountain.
- Did glamour photos.
- Met Ryan Gosling. Sort of.
- Discovered a sex attic.
I think it’s pretty amazing to look back at your life like this, not to keep score or see how you compare to everyone else, but to remind yourself what an amazing life you’ve had. We do so much navel gazing, our worlds can be so small, we’re so consumed with new things, new experiences, to-do’s.
I don’t want to turn my life into a to-do list, I don’t want to focus on what’s left, I want to zero in on what I’ve accomplished.
Sometimes it’s good to turn around and see what you’ve left in your wake.
That being said, if someone wants to sponsor my grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, drop me a line.
I was actually considering this same issue today and while I did start a bucket list (mainly writing down things that were in my head anyway), I also did the opposite. As I was waiting for someone to help me with my badge at work, I started writing down “Awesome things I’ve done.” It was so much fun to think back on all of the things I’ve experienced and accomplished when I would normally just be annoyed by the wait.