Lauren Life List Update: Giving Up The Bottle

Thankfully I don’t mean the glass bottles because that would mean beer… and wine… and hard liquor. And that would just be wrong.

A little while ago I wrote about my fear of the complete deterioration of the environment and thus, the end of the world. In the comments Kirstin said:

I don’t think you’re irrational about this, and I completely understand the fear. (I may actually be completely irrational, because in addition to worrying about “my kids won’t be able to swim in lakes or eat fresh food,” I also worry about things like “I won’t be able to send them to private college and if I die, I can’t trust anyone else with them.)

You’ve got the right idea, though. All we can do is take the steps we can to stop this mess, and realize that things happen without our consent all the time, and sometimes all we can do is be brave and face them.

(PS- you’ll be happy to know I almost bought a bottle of water on Sunday, and then I thought, “What would Lauren do?” and stopped myself.)

And hey! I’ve greatly, greatly reduced my bottle water usage! She’s right! Ever since 8/7/2010 I’ve purchased 4 bottles of water. I understand that sometimes (like during air travel, or during other unique situations) the convenience of a bottle of water trumps my pursuit of zero-ing out, but if you ever thought you couldn’t live without your daily bottle, you can.

My parents used to (and possibly still do, though it makes me grit my teeth to think about) buy cases and cases and cases of bottled water. It was all they ever drank, though they live in a brand new building with lovely pipes and delicious Seattle water. And therefore, it was all I ever drank. It’s incredibly expensive to maintain over time, and the water isn’t even regulated in the bottles, it’s probably just tap water. I hadn’t really thought about bottled water before a few years ago. Before I learned about the giant floating island of plastic in the ocean and how much waste plastic bottles alone generate.

Kamel also used to live in a place where you couldn’t drink the water. So his apartment was littered with bottles and jugs. It was such a pain to have to run to the grocery store every week just to buy water. I hated it. It was messy and inconvenient. So we bought a Brita Filter. Now, we’re in a place where we can drink the water, but we still use our filter because it’s nice.

Basically, I’ve learned that it’s so easy to NOT buy bottled water. Or at least greatly reduce how much you use. I buy glass bottles or aluminum cans when I can, and I always recycle. I recycle the plastic I do use, and when I have purchased a bottle of water I reuse it as much as possible.

This is one of those things where I feel my actions really do matter. Think of how much bottled water you would drink if you opened one or two bottles a DAY. And now reduce it to about 5 bottles a year… that’s what I call an impact. And I don’t even really notice it, it’s something I think about when I’m choosing what to drink, and that’s it. And I pay real attention when I do buy a bottle of water because I know that I have to account for it in my Life List Tab, so it better be worth it.

And that’s the update! You can do it too, it just takes a little more awareness than usual.

Lauren Life List: Wanting to Help You With Yours

A few months ago Kamel got around to writing his very own (short) life list in my Life List Tab. Around this same time he became incredibly invested in helping me cross things off mine (Grand Canyon, honey? LET’S GO TOMORROW!!). He is, in fact, my biggest cheer leader, and sometimes just the right amount of bully I need. Remember surfing? I needed a good kick in the butt on that one.

It wasn’t until I read his life list that I realized wow, I’m going to be going on all of his adventures too. Awesome. Perks of having a life buddy include, but are not limited to: Photograph a sunrise/sunset in a dessert, Prospecting gold, and visiting Mexico City. More to come, I’m sure.

And then of course there is the whole point of the Life List Tab – a place to put your life list, where everyone else can see it, and where other people can chip in to help you achieve your dreams. I had and still have high hopes for that little tab. Grow idea, Grow! But I’ve found it difficult to convince anyone that I can help them do fun things. Which seems odd since Fun is my middle name. It’s goal-accomplishing-fun over here in the Dupuis-Perez household 24/7 people! Jump on the bandwagon and let’s get this party started!

I understand that taking the leap to cross certain things off the list can be difficult, crossing the first thing off of my list was surprisingly scary, yet also surprisingly easy. It’s startling when you make a LIFE list and then have someone say “hey, you wanna do #7 next weekend? I can help with that”. My knee-jerk reaction is always, “uhh maybe. Let me think about it.” Cuz WOAH there! Calm down! I have all the time in the world right? But you don’t. Because life happens, you get busy, opportunities slip through the cracks, and you made that list for a reason.

So let me, or anyone else for that matter, help you cross something off. Being there for someone else’s big or little accomplishment/adventure seems like a pretty amazing gift.

Lauren Life List: Work in the Writing Industry

When I was in Undergrad all I ever wanted to do was work in publishing. I started out in Journalism but hated it and my adviser told me I should switch to Rhetoric – the study of the written word as a writer, not as a reader. So I did and I started writing. And it was then that I really felt good at something. Really, really good at something. It was hard, but it was a good kind of hard, a challenge. But when my professor pulled me aside and said I should get my MFA I practically LAUGHED in his face. “Absolutely not. I’m going to publish books, not write them.” But that planted the seed and while filling out applications for getting my MA in publishing I procrastinated, dragged my feet, and found them more than difficult to complete. Not because they were hard, but because I didn’t want to.

What got me really excited? Writing. Stories and creating and art. So at the last minute I ditched my initial plan and went with an MFA. But I’ve always loved the business side of writing. The editing, the formatting the shaping. The behind the scenes of acquisition meetings, what get’s published? What doesn’t?

And now the writing industry is morphing, evolving. Evolving or bust, really. There are E-books and E-zines and Online Literary Journals. And Blogs. Blogs began as online diaries, places to keep people updated on your doings, but are now taking up a measurable amount of business space on the internet. An interactive way to advertise, our google readers act more as an avenue for magazine subscriptions than anything else. Blogs are turning into a personal way to share information, ideas, and to promote vendors specific to an audience and in useful ways – “You like this jacket? Well this is how it looks on a normal person – me. And this is what I think about it. You can find it here.”

This last fall I started Interning at A Practical Wedding. It seemed perfect. I was planning a wedding, this was a wedding blog, I needed to feel part of something other than a temp agency, and Meg needed help. But what I thought it was at first – a place to work my education, a way to learn more about an industry I’m barely on the fringes of – was really just the very tip.

I was recently promoted to Assistant Editor, with pay. And what does that really mean? For me it means more confidence in editing for the site, really learning what it means to shape someone’s story – shape it so both the site and the contributor look their best and say exactly what they mean, it means a better resume, it means writing and editing almost every day. It may be part time, but my job at APW is on my mind most of the time. It’s the position I have the most pride in and it means that I can mark “Working in the Writing Industry” off my Life List. Because that is exactly what this is – An evolving writing industry, an ever evolving career path for me as a writer.

Now then, as far as marking another thing off my Life List… I just want to tell anyone and everyone who has made their own – This was something I figured would be marked off 10?20 years? down the road. Working in any part of the writing industry wasn’t particularly on my radar, especially with the evolution of the business, especially with the economy. This is a reminder to jump at opportunities, even if they mean a bigger work load, even if they aren’t all that glamorous, even if they don’t sound like anything you had in mind 5 years ago. You just never know what amazing mystery prize awaits you behind door #2.

Lauren Life List Vol. 4

The Life List is an ever growing, shrinking, changing thing. Like an Amoeba. Actually, I don’t really know if the latter has to do with the former whatsoever. But let’s just all say Amoeba out loud one time, altogether. Aaa-mmeeee-baaa. Ok I’m done.

Back to the point. Life List stuff! As I cross stuff of my list, make plans to cross stuff off my list, or dream about crossing stuff of my list (trip to Spain, anyone?), I decide to take some things off that are just not that important to me anymore, and add some more things on.

Here are five new things that I am adding:

1.) Take more fashion risks (whatever this means to me… I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I’ll let you know when I do)
2.) Finally find boots that fit (You can see my failed attempt(s) here)
3.) Work to support other women in their personal and professional goals without jealousy (this is an idea stemmed from this post and Alyssa’s following comment)
4.) Go to a ticker-tape parade
5.) Work on a photo project of LA

I also want to know what YOU are doing. I read all the comments over at MightyGirl from all the people over there accomplishing fun things when she asks for feedback, but I don’t know those people. And I know you (or I COULD know you), so therefore you are more interesting.

Like Maris – Are you going to write down your goals in my comments so that I don’t keep bothering you about them (because we talk, and then i forget…)? Hmmm?

And Ali! – Where is your life list? You are already doing an amazing thing by running 1 race every month for a year, so I’m pretty sure the rest of your goals are going to be A-mazing.

Alyssa – Do you have a life list? I feel like I should know this about you. If you don’t, can you just indulge me with something fun or scary that you are planning for yourself sometime in the future?

Even my wonderful Aunt has shared some life list-ery with me. And I think she should put those things on under my life list tab too, for all the internet world to see and support her with. Because you really never know who is going to read it, and who is going to have that bit of knowledge that could make your life just THAT much easier.

Lauren Life List Tab

I mentioned on the opening post of the new site that I had a life list and that I would need help achieving my life list-ery. And I already know – some things just take money, some things just take patience, or an apartment that allows pets, or ya know – having one baby and then having another one, that sorta thing.

But some other things, maybe you can help me with. Are you a tattoo artist? Would you like to draw a tree on me? Are you in publishing? Would you like to give me a job?

And maybe you need my help? Maybe you need me to edit your manuscript that you’ve shoved in a drawer for 5 years. Let it out, let it see the light. Maybe you too would like to have surfing lessons and you know where to go where they give you wet suits and the boards and the hot instructor named Brok and all you need is a buddy (that buddy can be me, I’m a really good buddy).

The more Mighty Girl talks about her Life List Community the more I want to be a part of it, the more I want everyone to be a part of it. She was lucky enough to have a portion of her Life List sponsored by Intel. Normal, everyday people like you and me don’t get to have our hopes and dreams financed for us. But maybe we don’t need that. Maybe that was just a jumping off point. Maybe we can all sponsor each other’s Life Lists, and then not only would we be able to fulfill all of those amazing hopes, dreams, and goals, we might be able to tag along with someone else on their awesome adventure. And that would be such a gift, really.

So in order to continue the awesomeness that I heard about, read about, dreamed about at Mighty Summit, I’m going to open up comments on my Life List tab. This is a place to offer help, ask for help, ask for guidance or just root each other on. If you have a life list posted somewhere else, link to it. Or post a few items you’d like feedback on. Even if one person is helped, even if one person helps me, even if I can help one person – it’s going to be a lot of fun and totally worth it. Don’t be shy. Let’s forward the community of awesome.

Lauren Life List Vol. 3

Read 50 books in a year
Do 1,000 random acts of kindness
Attempt to never buy another bottle of water again (Beginning 8/7/2010)
Live, for a measurable amount of time, in a foreign country
Have a family vacation spot that we go to every year
Go with my father to Italy
Host Thanksgiving
Decorate a home to my complete satisfaction
Build a library
See the Grand Canyon, Glacier National Park, Yosemite, Niagara Falls, Yellow Stone, Arches National Park, Death Valley, Grand Teton, Red Wood Forest, and Zion National Park.
A lot of things on my life list have to do with travel. Most of it involves traveling abroad, but there are so many things to see within the US. My freshmen year of college I took “Geology of Nat’l Monuments” which was a thinly veiled way of getting the non science people to take a seemingly interesting rocks for jocks course. The best part was the lecture portion where we took notes while slides of the awesome national parks flashed in front of us. I was not born in the roadtrip generation. We didn’t go from national park to national park and we certainly didn’t camp (ok, once, but we left a day early). These places are bizarre and breathtaking and I want to experience them. 
I saw the bottled water goal on someone else’s life list and I thought, “wow… what a challenge.” Bottled water is incredibly convenient, but also incredibly wasteful. I have a a few water bottles, one Sigg, but I manage to forget them in various places all of the time. This live goal is about being mindful. There could be situations where I have to buy some water in a plastic bottle, but I want to reduce that need, and instead of it being my first thought, turn it into my last resort.
A lot of my life list goals are long term or things that may only happen when I’m much, much older. I have to keep reminding myself that these goals do not need to be completed in the next month or the next year or the next 5 years. I’m always looking for an opportunity to have an adventure, to cross a goal off my list, but I don’t want them to become chores or unmanageable and I don’t have someone sponsoring my life list like Mightygirl does so I need to learn patience – maybe that’s another life goal as well. Patience. I am excited, though, about what will be and it’s fabulous to have things to look forward to.

Lauren Life List: Atwood

How much do I love Margaret Atwood? I love her!! I love her so much that last week I had a dream that she not only designed my wedding dress, but also sold it to me. In my dream I got to hang out with her in her wedding dress shop that had a lot of different types of compost buckets, because if you know anything about Margaret Atwood, you know she is both Canadian AND a huge environmentalist.

Anyways… one of my big goals on the life list is to read the ENTIRE WORKS of Margaret Atwood. And I am chugging away at it. This weekend, thanks to my real life friend Margaret, and her book swapping ways, I finished “Year Of The Flood”, the 2nd out of a 3 set post apoclyptic book series. This book could easily stand alone. The characters are rich, and the plot is fresh and engaging without falling into the post apocolyptic cliche realm. Her books remind me again and again what one of my grad school professors used to …er…profess to us: focus on character and the story will unfold. Atwood’s characters are so tangible and unique, even her most bizarre plot twists seem feezable.

For my next reading adventure I need to take a little break from the Atwood, lest I overdose. I’m starting in on (finally) the 2009 Best American Short Stories. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but it’s good to read short pieces when writing short things. It reminds you it’s still doable.

Lauren Life List: Baseball

A few weeks ago my co-worker and fellow writer/blogger Margaret had her friend Vanessa in town from Minnesota. They had plans for a baseball game in Oakland and a tour of the AT&T Park in SF – by far one of the most beautiful stadiums in the country. Vanessa is an avid… AVID… Twins fan – she brought THREE Twins shirts with her for a long weekend, just in case Margaret needed one or she needed a spare. Thankfully she is far from obnoxious about her fanhood. This made her lovable. During our chatting on the car ride to happy hour, she mentioned their are only 30 major league stadiums in the country… and here i had high hopes of visiting 50 in my lifetime. Oops. 50 just seemed like a nice number. I have, in fact, been to several minor league stadiums, but I’m not interested in making this goal any harder than it is. So 30 it shall become.

Last wednesday I landed in chicago on day 2 of the flu. Not the best of scenarios. My college friend, Lauren Mig, and her husband to be met me at the gate. At home a Whitesox tshirt was waiting for me, along with tickets to that evening’s game against Detroit.

Looking pretty good for a 330am wake up call, a fever, and two flights. Although I have been to Chicago countless times I have sadly never been to a baseball game – until now. I’m going to have to admit I’m more of a sox fan than a cubs fan. I’ve been influenced. But I am really pretty lukewarm about the whole thing, not being from the city orginially. I just love baseball. I’m counting on Maris to get me into Wrigley one of these days. Or Amy or Katie or any of my college friends now living in the city.

It was the perfect evening for baseball. Mid 70s, a little breeze, the stadium could have had more butts in the seats, but it was a wednesday night. And then the Sox ended up beating Detroit 15-3. Beautiful.

After the game they showed the last minute of the Blackhawks game that sent them into overtime. On the drive home they won the Stanley Cup. People started honking and cheering on the streets. It was such a great night. There’s nothing like Chicago sports.

Add one to the life list.

Lauren Life List Vol. 2

The list grows by ten more items:

Get a tree tattoo on my ribs
Teach at a University
Buy 5 loved one’s unique, extravagant gifts (lucky you, eh?)
Read all of Margaret Atwood (Completed: Cat’s Eye, The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake, Moral Disorder)*
Read all of Joan Didion (Completed: Year of Magical Thinking, Currently working on: Where I was From)
Roadtrip from San Diego to Miami
Sunbath topless in the French Riviera
Go to: Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, France
Visit 50 Baseball Stadiums (Completed: Kingdome, Safeco, AT&T Park, and The Coliseum)
Go to Blogher

I’m making goals and I’m trying to acheive them. Slowly. Goal making is fun, it has me thinking a lot about what I REALLY want to accomplish as opposed to what just kind of seems fun in the moment. It has me remembering things I thought were cool in highschool and allowing myself to keep those activities on the list (feminist rally in DC is one of those). I learned to appreciate things from other people as well (ex boyfriends fueled my appreciation for baseball, as did Maris and our continued tradition of going to games together), better writers and better readers inspire me to be just that: Better. And sometimes we have to challenge ourselves to have fun. It’s so easy to get sucked up into the everyday grind. Planning fun things that push you out of your comfort zone is essential to the prevention of becoming stale.

This morning I was thinking about my goals for the year I’m 25 and I’ll get into an update about those at a later date, but it occure to me that it’s not really about acheiving the number I set for myself or within the time frame I created – and not to sound too “new age sports team theory” on you, but it’s really about the effort I put in. If I don’t end up going to 50 baseball stadiums, but I end up going to 35 – hell! at least I went to 35, which is pretty awesome. It would be extra awesome if/when I do hit those goals right on the head, but if I don’t I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Making this list is already giving me a reason to do things I would normally put off until the latest episode of Greys Anatomy is over, but now I’m reaching for the next book on my list or making travel plans instead. Pushing myself to do new things and experiencing more of life is way better than simply focusing on the end point.

*Holy shit Margaret Atwood is an incredibly prolific writer. I’m impressed by how many stories she has going on inside her head. Even children’s books, I kid you not, and at least 15 books of poetry. This is going to be a fun, life-long task.

Life List: 3 Day Step 1

Step one is ordering the free information packet… (check!)

It also came with this awesome breast cancer promise ring that Kamel wanted to steal but bitch can get his own packet! 🙂

Next step = picking a year to do it, deciding on a city, and finding the money. Also – I need to start accumulating way more pink clothing. Who’s in?