At the beginning of 2011, I created my first Mighty List. I got the idea and inspiration from Maggie Mason. Each and every time I get to call it my “Mighty List” instead of my “Bucket List,” I silently thank Maggie for the superior title.

It is a good list. I read over it often. Several times, my list has guided me at a crossroads.

But as I read it over again tonight and finally (finally!) transfer it to Go Mighty, I find that there are several goals that aren’t making the transfer. They just don’t fit anymore.

“Watch every movie Paul Giomatti has made” did not make the cut. It’s not that I no longer like Paul Giomatti. I do. I think he’s amazing. Each of his movies is a solid performance AND includes at least one moment of sheer brilliance. Sheer. But I no longer want to watch ALL of his movies. Because I did some research, and dude: that guy has made some weird movies.

Neither did, “Jam on guitar with Steph.” Starting to learn to play guitar, practically from scratch — it no longer appeals to me. I understand that my time is limited and not infinitely stretch-able. I understand that now.

“Complete a destination triathlon with my mom and sisters” is gone. I wrote that goal in early 2011. A few months later, my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. She took herself to the doctor late. She was scared. The lump was big. And then, a few weeks ago on January 1, she died. How can such a thing be possible? Two years ago, I assumed she was capable of triathlons. 

I feel sad at a visceral level. Lightheaded and gut-punched. But this really isn’t a reflection on sadness. Or regret. I’m not wringing my hands and wondering, “Why didn’t we do a triathlon before it was too late?” Mostly I just want my list to breathe and flex, because I want my life to breathe and flex. I want to know the line between defining my goals and my goals defining me. I want to know the difference between “I am letting go of this goal because I am scared/lazy/disillusioned/discouraged/dis-whatever,” and “I am letting go of this goal because it isn’t me.”