What Tops Your Lifelong To-Do List?

Real Simple readers put aside the daily grind and dream big.


1. Learn to juggle.
2. Ride a unicycle.
3. Carry a tune.
I think I have a real shot at the first two things on my list.
Carolyn Ballou
Sacramento, California

I’m a huge fan of kitsch, so why not have goals that match?
1. Learn to tap dance.
2. Learn to yodel.
3. Run an interstate roadside attraction.
Lisa Teet
Lincoln, Nebraska

1. Invent something so simple, so genius, that I make millions, while everyone wonders, why didn’t I think of that?
2. Do something that scares me so much that overcoming my fear of it will change me.
3. Find the “missing” sock that went into the wash but never came out of the dryer.
Lori Ashley
Austin, Texas

1. Skydive with my father and sister and not be ashamed if I happen to scream and cry all the way down.
2. Give in to my “wild side” and get that tattoo that I’ve talked about for years.
3. Accomplish everything else on my lifelong to-do list (which greatly exceeds the allotted space!).
Ashleigh Delvo
College Station, Texas

1. Learn how to make my great-aunt’s gnocchi.
2. Learn to can tomato sauce without my mother’s help.
3. Cook instinctively, without relying on recipes.
Lyza Valenzo
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

1. Equip my son (23 months old) with all the skills he will need to be a happy, loving, successful, levelheaded young man.
2. Sit front row at a Jimmy Buffett concert.
3. Make a meal for my family that does not have the words “sticks” or “’n’ cheese” in the title.
Kristi Nellor
Pueblo West, Colorado

1. See what it feels like to hold $1 million in my hands.
2. Have a house so organized that it looks just like the pictures in Real Simple.
3. Learn to celebrate my failures instead of seeing my failures as the end of the world.
Stacey Brown
Rock Island, Illinois

1. Argue a case in front of the Supreme Court.
2. See every single Academy Award winner for best picture.
3. Find a way to thank my parents for giving me the best life I could ever possibly imagine.
Sarah Noel Sheffield
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1. Go to Fiji.
2. Go to Fiji.
3. Go to Fiji.
Beth Portice
Stevensville, Michigan

1. Learn German in Germany.
2. Live within walking distance of everything I need.
3. Sing on Broadway―even if it is just out on the street while waiting to see one of the shows.
Sarah Salway
Albuquerque, New Mexico

1. Rent a villa in Tuscany with my family―because Italians really seem to know how to live, and I’d like to try it.
2. Visit a dude ranch in Wyoming or Montana and let out my inner cowgirl.
3. Swim with dolphins.
Claudia Langmaid
West Chester, Pennsylvania

1. Discover a cure for cancer.
2. Solve the New York Times crossword puzzle.
3. Find a way to enjoy doing the laundry.
Victoria Graf
Marblehead, Massachusetts

1. Visit my father’s homeland of Denmark.
2. Become fluent in American Sign Language.
3. Be absolutely happy.
Clara Anderson
Maryville, Missouri

1. Hold my children.
2. Hold my children’s children.
3. Hold my children’s children’s children.
Natalie Plummer
Chattanooga, Tennessee

1. Learn how to play the piano.
2. Visit the North Pole.
3. Dance to a Strauss waltz in Vienna with my husband while wearing a beautiful gown.
Charlesa Stewart
Moody, Alabama

1. Improve my sketching and painting.
2. Get back to finishing that great American novel that I began several years ago.
3. Live to be 100-plus and in good enough health to see my four granddaughters grow up.
Jeanette Wojtas
Rochester, New York
1. Learn to bake perfect yeast bread.
2. Run a marathon.
3. Live in a home where I can see the ocean from my front porch.
Anne West
Deer Isle, Maine

1. Run up Machu Picchu.
2. Get my Ph.D. in art history.
3. See my children grow up to be great adults.
Betsy Stephens
Acworth, Georgia

1. Travel to Alaska from Connecticut by motorcycle.
2. Visit London. I want to walk the same halls that Anne Boleyn did, explore the Tower of London, and just be a goofy tourist.
3. Volunteer at an elephant sanctuary. Unfortunately, there aren’t many elephant sanctuaries in Connecticut.
Lee Fitzmaurice
Brookfield, Connecticut

1. Dance with Gene Kelly. (In heaven?)
2. Visit every state park in the U.S.A.
3. Have dinner with Jack Nicholson.
Nancy Hofmann
Asheville, North Carolina

1. Tuck myself away in a little cottage along the coast of Maine and spend my days writing a novel, with the windows open and a fresh breeze sweeping the salty air across the house.
2. Learn to surf the beautiful shores of Hawaii.
3. Become a heart surgeon.
Haley Bissonnette
Walled Lake, Michigan

1. Be holy.
2. Be perfect.
3. Have fun while doing No. 1 and No. 2.
Erika Szymanski
Rochester, New York

1. Sort. Scan. Organize. Print. Do something with my hundreds (thousands?) of family photos dating back to the early 1900s.
2. Videotape my mother’s memories.
3. Learn to keep quiet, realizing that everything will fall apart nicely.
Susan Schupbach
Austin, Texas

1. See the northern lights.
2. Get a pair of custom-made shoes.
3. Have a tailor-made pair of jeans.
Sharon Carey
Bridgeport, Connecticut

There are many things that I would like to do: visit Australia, zip-line through a jungle, and teach my husband how to dance. But because life comes at you fast, my to-do list would be:
1. Live in the moment.
2. Live in the moment.
3. Live in the moment!
Jennifer Rothermich
O’Fallon, Missouri