Orange Popsicles and Lemonade

When I was seven years old, I wrote a letter to my future self. The letter was basically a bunch of predictions for myself and my life's path, as well as a bunch of questions for Future Maggie -- like, "Do you live in a castle?"

It could only be opened after my 17th birthday. I know this, because on the envelope I wrote: DO NOT!!! OPEN!!! untiL U are 17! Extremely CONfedental!! TOP SECRET!!!!!!!

Andrea at Superhero Designs wants to do something similar this summer. She asks readers to write an essay about the future, called "What I did during the summer of 2005 that made me a better, smarter, happier person" and mail it to her. In September, she will mail them back.

"Be sure to list the thing you think you cannot have. That's where the juice is," she says.

The address is: Andrea Scher, P.O. Box 401174, SF, CA 94140-1174.

This is one of the lovliest things I've ever heard, and every single person I know should take advantage of this. I've long realized that making lists and writing things down on paper turns a floaty idea into something more substantial and concrete -- and thus, something more likely to happen.

It didn't work for me when I was 17. I am most certainly NOT Billy Joel's wife -- though I think he married some other 17-year-old. I never became a princess. And I didn't become the world's first president/veterinarian/artist. At least, not by the time I was 17. There's still hope.

But this theory did work for me a couple years ago when I turned 26 and made a list of things to accomplish that year. That included:

1. Travel more.
2. Find a new job.
3. Clean the apartment.
4. Risk death -- SKYDIVE!!
5. Make some new friends.
6. Move somewhere. Anywhere.
7. Buy a VW.

Honestly, I started using a new journal and completely forgot about the list until almost a year later. And then, as eerie and strange and wonderful as it is, I accomplished almost every single one of my goals without even trying. I didn't get the VW, though.

This summer, my list will have a lot of skydiving goals, among other things to make my life richer and more succulent. It'll probably look a little like this:

1. Jump from a balloon.
2. BASE jump
3. Get skydiving sponsorship from someone. Anyone.
4. Receive coaching from highly skilled skydivers.
5. Finish my skydiving book proposal.
6. Write more for skydiving publications.
7. Learn a language.
8. Get really good on the ukulele.
9. Live most of my moments outside (aside from working in my cubicle.)
10. Have the biggest Maggie Gras ever! (My birthday is July 29. I celebrate it for a week. Save the date.)
11. All those balls of yarn, sheets of felt, boxes of beads, string, paint, canvas, clay? Actually make crafts out of them.
12. Teach Kung Pao Kitten to walk on a leash.
13. Actually complete a journal for once, not just dabble in the blank book of the moment.
14. Be more of a wild woman. Every. Single. Day.
15. Get a VW.

And then a few secrets I can't confess just yet.

Go write your own powerful, juicy letter to yourself. Right. Now.

We'll talk again in September and see what kind of magic happened.
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