Super HeroWhen I was little, I was asked (as I now ask my nephew), “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Most times, I wanted to be a writer. But I went through a few other phases: hair stylist and orthodontist, based on fun adults I knew who got to do those things. There was also my archeologist phase, and the phases where I wanted to be Wonder Woman and Daisy Duke. (I admit I haven’t outgrown all of these phases.)

And of course, I always thought I’d work my way up to making a gajillion dollars, because that’s what the great people did.

And as a kid with an allowance (a minor allowance compared to heap of chores I had to do, with no help from my sister—Just checking that my mom is reading this), I would dream up all the things I was going to do with the money once I made my first gajillion. I would help people; I would donate; I would travel and meet people and learn as much as I could. I would change things for the better. I would make a difference.

Don’t we all have a list like that? A list that we keep adding to, even as adults?

Listening to the news makes one wonder where all the list-makers are. I’m stunned and saddened these last couple days that bigotry is not dead. That having your gajillion doesn’t equate to having culture. That you can travel the world and gain nothing but a closed mind.

It’s time to let childlike wonder bring us back to center again. Find your list. Add to it. And if you never made one, make one now and carry it with you. Look at it often enough that you begin to see how you can accomplish those listed things, even without the gajillion dollars.

We list-makers, we believers in hope, in inclusivity, and in betterment, our time is now. We need to take the world back, by living one check mark at a time.

Upside Down Kingdom is my first book.