70 Things To Do Before Having Children

70 Things To Do Before Having Children

They say having children changes everything.  While it’s unquestionably a remarkable time in one’s life, I can also see how the transition introduces obvious limitations.  Suddenly you have dependent beings of life to care for.  Responsibility kicks in, compelling you to dedicate a significant portion of your time and attention to the best interests of the little ones.  Combine this with the obvious physical and lifestyle limitations that come with age and it seems to me that there are several activities to check off the bucket list before settling down to start a family.

Here’s our list of 70 things to do before having children.  For us, it’s simply about conquering as many life experiences as possible.  We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting closer.  😉

  1. Live in a high rise condo with an amazing view.
  2. Take a month long vacation on the opposite side of the world in a city with a completely different culture.
  3. Attend the Super Bowl live.
  4. Jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
  5. Make love in places you aren’t supposed to.
  6. Swim with the sharks.
  7. Scuba-dive to a large ship wreck.
  8. Audition to be on TV or in a movie… even if you’re just an extra.
  9. Throw the house party of all house parties.  Supply all the booze and invite everyone you know.
  10. Take sexy photos of yourself (keep them somewhere safe).
  11. Learn to fly a plane.
  12. Become skilled with a musical instrument.
  13. Live in southern California for at least a year.
  14. Live in the heart of New York City, Chicago, Boston or another major city for at least a year.
  15. Spend a few weeks vacationing on the beaches of Kauai with your partner.
  16. Surf a Hawaiian wave.
  17. Learn to speak a foreign language.
  18. Visit the North Pole.
  19. Attend The Tonight Show or The Late Show as an audience member.
  20. Read at least 30 books.
  21. Jump off a cliff into a natural body of water in an exotic location.
  22. Go mountain climbing.
  23. Go deep sea fishing and learn to filet and cook your own fish.
  24. Go horseback riding on the beach with your partner.
  25. Drink warm beer out of a barrel in a real Irish pub.
  26. Spend a night pub-hopping in London.
  27. Stage dive and crowd surf at a rock concert.
  28. Take a set amount of money and hit the Blackjack and Craps tables in Las Vegas.
  29. Visit a high-end Las Vegas strip club.
  30. Embark on a month-long road trip across the country with 3 of your best friends.
  31. Ride a camel across a sandy desert.
  32. Go white water rafting.
  33. Go snowboarding in the Rockies.
  34. Get in great shape and enter some kind of fitness competition.
  35. Attain a solid understanding of how the government works in your country.
  36. Master one particular style of dance.
  37. Fall in love.
  38.  Write a book… even if it’s short and never gets published.
  39. Drive through a (somewhat safe) portion of a third world country like Mexico or Costa Rica to gain perspective on what true poverty looks like.
  40. Go skinny dipping in a large body of water at midnight.
  41. Take a shower under a waterfall.
  42. Decide on your current life goals and write them down.
  43. Spend New Years Eve in Times Square.
  44. Go on a blind date (or a couple’s dinner date with new friends you hardly know).
  45. Sleep on the beach under the stars in Key West.
  46. Hit up Oktoberfest in Munich.
  47. Hit up Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
  48. Hit up Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
  49. Experience Spring Break in all its glory in Cancun, Mexico or Panama City Beach, Florida.
  50. Catch a ride in a hot air balloon.
  51. Rent a fast sports car and speed down the Autobahn.
  52. Switch jobs until you find one you truly enjoy.
  53. Buy your first house.
  54. Own a convertible sports car.
  55. Hike the Grand Canyon.
  56. Attend a Red Sox vs. Yankees game in Fenway Park.
  57. Spend a whole day making love without every leaving the house.
  58. Learn to make one mixed cocktail like a pro bartender.
  59. Run a marathon.
  60. Stand up in front of a large audience and tell a great joke.
  61. Shoot a gun.
  62. Swim across the English Channel.
  63. Bicycle ride down a mountain road.
  64. Learn to sail a sailboat.
  65. Learn the basics of a martial art.
  66. Visit the Amazon Rainforest.
  67. Bare all on a nude beach.
  68. Master one really cool magic trick.
  69. Master a few fancy dinner recipes.
  70. Finish up your formal education (but continue learning).

What’s on your list?

Also, check out these books for more awesome bucket list ideas:

Photo by: Dawvon

28 Astute Takes of Insight on
Living a Prolific Life

Living a Prolific Life 

There is no shortcut to greatness.  It’s all about taking the right steps… small, seemingly inconsequential steps that fuse together, emitting a positive effect on the bigger picture.  Below are 28 astute takes of insight from around the blogosphere.  Take heed to this wisdom, and you’ll soon be on your way to living a prolific life.

  1. Always show kindness to others. – “Every time you’re nice to someone else, they become more likely to help you or be nice in return.” – via On Simplicity
  2. Be grateful for what you have. – “Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present.  In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude.” – via The Change Blog
  3. Clear clutter!  Get rid of the stuff you don’t need. – “If you have too much to pick up, look for, clean around, organize, and trip over, then it’s no wonder you’re feeling disorganized.  And if you’re having to do it over and over and over again, it’s no wonder you’re feeling unproductive.” – via simple mom
  4. Study and learn from the mistakes others have made. – “By reading about those I aspire to be like, not only do I get to witness the unique dealings of THEIR struggles, I can skip some of the hard knock lessons by learning from steps already taken in someone else’s heels.  It’s a real advantage when you have serious intent on getting somewhere.  Learn from others and utilize the wisdom harvested over time to spare yourself some grief and gain an idea of what to do.” – via InMyHeels
  5. Be a team player.  Teamwork is the key to progress. – “I heard a story about some horses that were in a competition to see which could pull the most weight.  One horse pulled 3,000 lbs and another one pulled 4,000 lbs.  Someone suggested the horses team-up together to see how much they could pull.  Most guesses were in the 7,000 lb to 10,000 lb range but when those two horses worked together, they pulled an amazing 20,000 lbs.  That’s the power of teamwork.” – via The Wisdom Journal
  6. Graciously thank the people who deserve it. – “You are making MomGrind a lively, vibrant community where people get to know each other and exchange ideas.  Without you, MomGrind would be just another platform for me to talk endlessly… A special thank you to my top ten commentators for the month of July.” – via MomGrind
  7. Learn to make the right first impression. – “Drive a flashy sports car and it implies you have money.  Live on the “wrong side of the tracks”, some people think you’re “less than”.  Wear wrinkled, dirty clothes and you could be labeled as “low life”. – via Blogging Without A Blog
  8. Having 5 close friends is far more important than having 50 acquaintances. – “What if I were to get convicted of a crime – even if I’m innocent – and get put in jail for ten years.  Who would be at the gates when I’m released?” – via Goodlife Zen
  9. Money is worthless in a state of loneliness. – “Money makes the world go round but people are what make the world worth living in.  It’s easy to get caught up in the daily rush of making a living and forget that each day we spend rushing around is a blessing.  The opportunity to spend time with the ones we care about is something that I overlook all too often.” – via Frugal Dad
  10. Find your passion and follow it. – “In the first few months (of writing this blog), I often felt like I was speaking to an empty room.  I felt like I wrote articles nobody read.  Even after blogging for three months, I got no more than six visitors a day.  In that difficult time, the only thing that kept me going was passion.” – via Life Optimizer
  11. Run, jog, walk… just make sure you exercise. – “We need physical activity to stay healthy.  The benefits of regular exercise are well documented.  We need to find exercise routines that are fun and match our individual tastes.  Developing a good exercise routine is a habit that will increase both the quantity and quality of your life.” – via My Super-Charged Life
  12. Eat healthy!  You are what you eat. – “healthy eating is the most important thing you can do to affect your health.  You can’t exercise away bad eating habits.  You can be a long distance runner and still have high cholesterol that puts you at risk for a heart attack.  So healthy eating should be a priority for everyone who wants a long healthy and enjoyable life.” – via Life Learning Today
  13. Accept failure.  Learn from failure. – “Failure has become your friend.  Some of life’s biggest lessons have come to you when you have failed.  Each time you move forth into a new endeavor, success and failure are both acceptable options.  With success you get you want and with failure you get to learn something.” – via The Positivity Blog
  14. Be true to yourself… Be yourself! – “Human beings often give up the power of being true to themselves, hiding amongst the shadows of social roles and familiar comforts instead.” – via The Urban Monk
  15. Figure out what you truly want in life. – “Know what it is that you want.  I know this sounds simple, but really it can be quite challenging.  I had everyone else’s ideas in my head for so long, I couldn’t even hear my own voice.  So this step is crucial.  Invest the time it takes to get quiet, filter out everyone else’s ideas from your own, and be totally and brutally honest with yourself.” – via Divine Purpose Unleashed [Read more…]

30 Books Everyone Should Read Before Their 30th Birthday

30 Books to Read by Before Turning 30The Web is grand.  With its fame for hosting informative, easy-to-skim textual snippets and collaborative written works, people are spending more and more time reading online.  Nevertheless, the Web cannot replace the authoritative transmissions from certain classic books that have delivered (or will deliver) profound ideas around the globe for generations.

The 30 books listed here are of unparalleled prose, packed with wisdom capable of igniting a new understanding of the world.  Everyone should read these books before their 30th birthday.

  1. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse – A powerful story about the importance of life experiences as they relate to approaching an understanding of reality and attaining enlightenment.
  2. 1984 by George Orwell – 1984 still holds chief significance nearly 60 years after it was written in 1949.  It is widely acclaimed for its haunting vision of an all-knowing government which uses pervasive, 24/7 surveillance tactics to manipulate all citizens of the populace.
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – The story surveys the controversial issues of race and economic class in the 1930’s Deep South via a court case of a black man charged with the rape and abuse of a young white girl.  It’s a moving tale that delivers a profound message about fighting for justice and against prejudice.
  4. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess – A nightmarish vision of insane youth culture that depicts heart wrenching insight into the life of a disturbed adolescent.  This novel will blow you away… leaving you breathless, livid, thrilled, and concerned.
  5. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway – A short, powerful contemplation on death, ideology and the incredible brutality of war.
  6. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – This masterpiece is so enormous even Tolstoy said it couldn’t be described as a standard novel.  The storyline takes place in Russian society during the Napoleonic Era, following the characters of Andrei, Pierre and Natasha… and the tragic and unanticipated way in which their lives interconnect.
  7. The Rights of Man by Tom Paine – Written during the era of the French Revolution, this book was one of the first to introduce the concept of human rights from the standpoint of democracy.
  8. The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau – A famous quote from the book states that “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”  This accurately summarizes the book’s prime position on the importance of individual human rights within society.
  9. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez – This novel does not have a plot in the conventional sense, but instead uses various narratives to portray a clear message about the general importance of remembering our cultural history.
  10. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin – Few books have had as significant an impact on the way society views the natural world and the genesis of humankind.
  11. The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton – A collection of thoughts, meditations and reflections that give insight into what life is like to live simply and purely, dedicated to a greater power than ourselves.
  12. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – Gladwell looks at how a small idea, or product concept, can spread like a virus and spark global sociological changes.  Specifically, he analyzes “the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable.”
  13. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham – Arguably one of the best children’s books ever written; this short novel will help you appreciate the simple pleasures in life.  It’s most notable for its playful mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie.
  14. The Art of War by Sun Tzu – One of the oldest books on military strategy in the world.  It’s easily the most successful written work on the mechanics of general strategy and business tactics.
  15. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – One of the greatest fictional stories ever told, and by far one of the most popular and influential written works in 20th-century literature.  Once you pick up the first book, you’ll read them all.
  16. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – This is a tale that lingers on the topic of attaining and maintaining a disciplined heart as it relates to one’s emotional and moral life.  Dickens states that we must learn to go against “the first mistaken impulse of the undisciplined heart.”
  17. Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot – Probably the wisest poetic prose of modern times.  It was written during World War II, and is still entirely relevant today… here’s an excerpt: “The dove descending breaks the air/With flame of incandescent terror/Of which the tongues declare/The only discharge from sin and error/The only hope, or the despair/Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre–/To be redeemed from fire by fire./Who then devised this torment?/Love/Love is the unfamiliar Name/Behind the hands that wave/The intolerable shirt of flame/Which human power cannot remove./We only live, only suspire/Consumed by either fire or fire.”
  18. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller – This book coined the self-titled term “catch-22” that is widely used in modern-day dialogue.  As for the story, its message is clear: What’s commonly held to be good, may be bad… what is sensible, is nonsense.  Its one of the greatest literary works of the 20th century.  Read it.
  19. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Set in the Jazz Age of the roaring 20’s, this book unravels a cautionary tale of the American dream.  Specifically, the reader learns that a few good friends are far more important that a zillion acquaintances, and the drive created from the desire to have something is more valuable than actually having it.
  20. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – This novel firmly stands as an icon for accurately representing the ups and downs of teen angst, defiance and rebellion.  If nothing else, it serves as a reminder of the unpredictable teenage mindset.
  21. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky – A smooth-flowing, captivating novel of a young man living in poverty who criminally succumbs to the desire for money, and the hefty phychological impact this has on him and the people closest to him.
  22. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – This book does a great job at describing situations of power and statesmanship.  From political and corporate power struggles to attaining advancement, influence and authority over others, Machiavelli’s observations apply.
  23. Walden by Henry David Thoreau – Thoreau spent two years, two months and two days writing this book in a secluded cabin near the banks of Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.  This is a story about being truly free from the pressures of society.  The book can speak for itself:  “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
  24. The Republic by Plato – A gripping and enduring work of philosophy on how life should be lived, justice should be served, and leaders should lead.  It also gives the reader a fundamental understanding of western political theory.
  25. Lolita – This is the kind of book that blows your mind wide open to conflicting feelings of life, love and corruption… and at times makes you deeply question your own perceptions of each.  The story is as devious as it is beautiful.
  26. Getting Things Done by David Allen – The quintessential guide to organizing your life and getting things done.  Nuff said.
  27. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – This is the granddaddy of all self-improvement books.  It is a comprehensive, easy to read guide for winning people over to your way of thinking in both business and personal relationships.
  28. Lord of the Flies by William Golding – A powerful and alarming look at the possibilities for savagery in a lawless environment, where compassionate human reasoning is replaced by anarchistic, animal instinct.
  29. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – Steinbeck’s deeply touching tale about the survival of displaced families desperately searching for work in a nation stuck by depression will never cease to be relevant.
  30. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov – This anticommunist masterpiece is a multifaceted novel about the clash between good and evil.  It dives head first into the topics of greed, corruption and deception as they relate to human nature.
  31. BONUS:  How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman – 900 pages of simple instructions on how to cook everything you could ever dream of eating.  Pretty much the greatest cookbook ever written.  Get through a few recipes each week, and you’ll be a master chef by the time you’re 30.
  32. BONUS:  Honeymoon with My Brother by Franz Wisner – Franz Wisner had it all… a great job and a beautiful fiancée.  Life was good.  But then his fiancée dumped him days before their wedding, and his boss basically fired him.  So he dragged his younger brother to Costa Rica for his already-scheduled honeymoon and they never turned back… around the world they went for two full years.  This is a fun, heartfelt adventure story about life, relationships, and self discovery.

The Art of Spending Minutes to
Save Hours

Spend Time to Save Time

During happy hour last Friday I spent some time listening to one of my colleagues confess her utter distaste for the Windows Vista Start menu.  “The system is organized all wrong.  The programs I need are buried and the ones I never use are right at my finger tips.  I waste so much time digging through menus,” she said.  “But you can easily rearrange that,” I replied.  She looked down with a despondent expression on her face.  “I know,” she said.  “Someone else told me that too, but I haven’t taken the time to figure it out.”

Suddenly it dawned on me, you have to spend a little time now to save a lot of time later.  It’s the notion of giving some to get some.  This ties into the idea of working smarter not harder.  Countless hours can be saved over the long-term by spending just a few productive minutes now.

Here are a few ideas to help kick-start the practice of spending minutes to save hours:

  1. Learn to Search Google Effectively – If Google is the prime portal to the information superhighway , Google’s advanced search operators are the most efficient vehicles on the road.  Once you learn them, you will find what you seek in half the time… every time.
  2. Organize Your Space – How fast can you access something in an organized space?  Instantaneously!  Spend a little time organizing your space and you’ll forever spend less time searching and more time doing.
  3. Research and Use the Right Tools – Possessing the right tools can easily shrink a mountainous task into a molehill.  The time you take to find the right tool will be repaid 1000 times over.
  4. Uncover the ShortcutsKeyboard shortcuts, driving a less congested route, hitting 2 birds with one stone, etc.  There are simple shortcuts for almost everything you do.  It’s worth your while to uncover them.  Once you do, you can shave a few minutes off your tasks on a daily basis.  Compound this over a year and you’ll saving hours of precious life.
  5. Automate Tasks – Spend the time necessary to automate everything you can.  Create checklists to help you remember things.  Design templates to speed the process of recreation.  Utilize modern technologies to automate bill payments, data backups, to-do list reminders, etc. 
  6. Listen Carefully the First Time – The better listener you are, the more you will learn.  The more you learn now, the fewer questions you will have later… and the less time you will spend searching for answers.
  7. Take Useful Notes – …and store them in a trusted place so you always know where to look.  Not doing so will lead to extensive wastes of both time and opportunity.
  8. Handle Simple Tasks Immediately – Constantly thinking about doing something simple but avoiding the actual act of doing it takes more time than actually doing it.  Follow the GTD 2-Minute Rule.  If it takes less than two minutes, do it now.
  9. Learn to Type Efficiently – If you use a computer on a regular basis, learning to type efficiently will save you days (if not weeks) worth of time over the course of your lifetime.
  10. Adhere to Basic Safety Precautions – If you don’t spend the time to put on a helmet, how much time will you waste in an injured state when you bang your head?  If you don’t spend the time to backup your data and the hard drive crashes, how much time will you waste trying to recover files?  You get the idea.
  11. Reflect on Your Goals and Direction – Not doing so is committing to wasteful misdirection.  The process of self reflection helps maintain a conscious awareness of where you’ve been and where you intend to go, giving you the ability to realign your trajectory when necessary.
  12. Teach Someone How to Help You – Teach your dependants how to fish so you no longer have to fish for them.
  13. Presort Before Placing – Presort the lights and darks before tossing them in the hamper.  Presort those files before stacking them on the desk.  That which takes a couple seconds now will take several minutes later on.
  14. Make Reservations – When a 1 minute phone call can save 1 hour of waiting.
  15. Let Your Mouse Do The Walking – Shop online.  Rent movies online.  Pay bills online… etc.  It’s sooo much faster.

Photo by: Jek in the Box