Ok … maybe you don’t actually neeeeeeeeed a life list. There are few things (very important things) that a person actually neeeeeeeeeds …. you know … like food, water and air. Those tiny things.
Howeeeeeeeever, there are also a few very good reasons to write down the things you want out of life.
Having a life list gives you …
Definite goals – which give you purpose which gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning and not be a lump for hours on end staring at the wall while the world moves around you. Write down EXACTLY what you want to do with your life, NOT just vague stuff like “lose weight”, “be healthier”, or “relax more”. Vague can mean too many things … don’t be vague!
Something to look forward to – I read in a self-help book once that we all need something to look forward to and someone to look up to. I completely agree. The times in my life when I’ve found myself feeling blah have also been times when I didn’t really have anything to look forward to. That is not a coincidence.
Experiences – I’ve read in several articles (yes, I read a lot) that the happiest people are the ones who spend their money on experiences instead of stuff. I cannot agree with this more. Memories aren’t made with stuff. Sure you can tie a memory to an object, but it isn’t the object you actually remember, it’s the feeling you have based on the experience related to the object.
My mother-in-law made me a beautiful quilt (that I need to get out of storage and actually use). When I think of the time and care she put into that quilt just for me, it isn’t the quilt itself that I remember … it’s her and how much she showed her love with that quilt. It was the experience of picking out a pattern, going with her to find material, seeing how excited she was as it all came together and both of us crying when she gave it to me that means so much to me … not the quilt itself. Yes, I love the quilt and am now going to get it out of storage to display or use, but even if I didn’t have it, I would still have the memory and that’s what matters.
So on your life list, be sure to include lots and lots of things you want to experience …. NOT things you want to buy.
Feel the feelings – You know I’m super duper with sugar on top all about feeling the feelings. When you’ve been numb (and crazy) for a lot of years, actually feeling the feelings is an awesome … well … feeling. I vividly remember the first time I REALLY laughed after Paxil. My husband had the strangest look on his face as it hit us both that it was a real laugh, not the fake one I used for years trying to force the feeling of happiness.
That’s one of the most exciting things about making a Life List … the feelings. Just thinking about doing things will bring out fear, happiness, sadness, hope and awe. Imagine how awesome those feelings will be when you actually DO the things on your list.
Things to include on your Life List …
- Things that use your brain (learning a new skill, solving a problem, or having a new hobby)
Mine: solving a Rubik’s cube, learning to play chess, and learning how to crochet
- Things for your own good (healthier habits, better relationships, or taking care of yourself)
Mine: paying off unsecured debt, getting to my goal weight, and learning how to change a tire
- Things that take you out of your comfort zone (not necessarily things that truly frighten you, just things you don’t normally do)
Mine: eating from a food truck, learning to cook on a grill (I don’t like to cook and honestly the whole fire thing kind of freaks me out) and learning photography (there are soooooooooo many buttons on that damn camera)
- Things that REALLY do scare you (like make your heart flutter things)
Mine: Speaking to a large crowd (I suspect I will actually love this WHEN I do it) and going ziplining (YIPES !!)
- Things that are JUST FOR YOU!
Mine: owning something from the Sundance catalog (I know … I know …. I said that experiences are worth more than objects and they very much are, but have you seen a Sundance catalog … well … okay then … you understand), have my own room (this will probably NEVER happen, but a girl can dream), and spend an evening under the stars (it just seems so calm)
- Things that you used to do (and were good at), but you’ve gotten away from
Mine: doing stained glass art (I was really good at it and it’s such a beautiful, creative outlet) and writing – I’ve been writing for fun since the 4th grade and I love it. Obviously, I’m getting back to it.
- Things you want to do just for the experience
Mine: eat crab (with the bib and little hammer … me, not the crab), go to a hockey game (it’s the only professional sport I haven’t been to … oh wait … I guess I’ve never been to a professional football game, but I have been to the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and that’s close enough for me) and see the ocean (and it better be as majestic as I think it is or I’m going to be pissed).
So here’s my challenge to you my dear friends …. get out a piece of paper and WRITE YOUR LIFE LIST !!!
It doesn’t have to be perfect on the first try. You will add things. You will change your mind about things. You will add more things.
The important thing is that you actually do it … and feel those feelings … and plan to feel the even bigger feelings when you do the things on the list and cross them off.
Life is too short to not plan for fantabulous things and planning is only the first step.
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