The limitations of a Life List (and how I plan to overcome them)

The limitations of a Life List (and how I plan to overcome them)

I’ve been thinking about Life Lists a lot lately. Not only do some of my favorite bloggers have them, I’m always looking for new things to do and new goals to reach, and I’ve been picking up several subliminal messages about starting a Life List of my own.

For example, I went to my first Toastmasters meeting last week. It was incredibly educational and a great networking lunch. The Table Topic for this meeting was “The Bucket List” – a movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, detailing the exciting tale of a man completing all the things he wants to do before he “kicks the bucket.”

Then, Friday night, I watched “Yes, Man,” which was incredibly silly, but made me consider, yet again, the possibility of creating a Life List of my very own.

I sat down. Started thinking about all the things I want to do in my life and realized that one of the things I am terrified to do is create a Life List. If you know me, you know I create lists for everything. Pros and cons lists up the yin yang. To-do lists to go for miles. So what am I so afraid of?

What I want to do right now may not be what I want to do in a month, a year, five years, or ever again.

Like many others, I greatly enjoy instant gratification. However, there are some things I’m a little more cautious of doing because of the “repercussions” I may face later in life. It’s for this reason I have yet to get my tattoo, for example.

If I look at my Life List in five years, I may realize that some of the things that are still on it, I’m just not interested in anymore. Then what? Do I cross them off as if I did them? Cross them out as if they didn’t exist? This is kind of confusing to me.

If there’s something I want to do, I don’t need a list to tell me to do it.

Like I said before, I like instant gratification. That’s why, when I set a goal, I try to accomplish it as quickly as possible. And that day or that week and it’s either accomplished or scheduled to be accomplished in the near future. If there’s something I want to do, I just do it.

I don’t like setting unattainable goals and then be reminded again the goal was not attained.

Creating a list of everything you want to do in life is challenging enough, let alone creating a list full of goals that can actually be attained. I don’t know about you, but when I’m on my death bed, I want to look back at my life and think about all the incredibly things I did and not look at a list that still has 15 things not checked off. To me, that sounds a bit depressing.

Life Lists are just asking for disappointment in my mind. There are some things in my life that I’d love (like, I’d like to be a millionaire before I’m 30) that are just not gonna happen. So, why set myself up for disappointment?

However, I do believe in taking risks and setting goals that are not easily attained (if you recall, I did find a dream job in a terrible market and move cross-country – I consider that one of my biggest and best accomplishments). I want to keep track of the incredible things I do as I do them.

I’m going to build my own kind of Life List, my way.

It will be ever changing, much like my, well, LIFE. As my dreams and goals change, so will my list. This list is not written in stone and I will never view anything on this list as being an obligation.

There will be no vague goals. It will be very easy to check something off as each goal will be clear and have a distinct start and finish (no “exercise every day” bologna). I will be specific in each of my goals so their attainment is clear.

I will be realistic while maintaining wild ambition. I will also be aware of the goals that may not be in my personal control. No, I’ll probably never meet the Cameron Diaz, so I’m just going to skip that one.

I will make a commitment to complete what is on my life list as quickly as possible and constantly add to it. The list will also include some of the awesome things I’ve already accomplished in my life – I want it to be complete. My main goal is to live in the now and say “YES!” to as many opportunities as possible and keep track of them on this Life List.

Here goes!

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  1. Two things

    A) Cooking Class
    B) Cleansing

    I wanna do both of those and need a buddy. Bartending class is also on my list so if you look into that, count me in and I’d love to do it, too!

    • Cleansing is not going to be fun or easy…

      I’ll let you know about the cooking class! You’re definitely not the only one to make a Life List! I’m excited to see where it goes, what I add to it, and what I cross off! :)

  2. I have my list of 101 to complete in 1001 days, but it’s definitely not set in stone. :) It’s more of a reminder to myself what I’ve been wanting to do since there’s just so much out there TO DO.

    • Ooh, that’s a good idea! I like the thoughts having a deadline — “death” seems so far away.

      These lists are definitely a good way to keep track of all the things you want to do in life.

  3. I LOVE THIS. In fact, I felt much the same as you did which is why when I published mine, I put at the top in big bold letters, “This list is active.” I knew I’d change my mind about priorities and some things would matter and others weren’t. And I am 100% totally ok with changing my life list. Some things are pretty important to me – I DO really want to go to Europe. Do I want to backpack through it? That’s a detail I could go either way on. So anyway… I love love love you and what you’re doing with this and totally commend you for also making it YOURS.

    • I love your list, too! I think it’s so important to maintain that this list is active and ever changing.

      We should go to Europe! I think I do want to backpack — it would be such a neat experience to see so many places and be so easily portable. What do you want to do?

      And I love love love you too :)

  4. I approve of the visit washington dc one.

    • That one’s there for you, big J.

  5. I totally feel the same way. Every time I sit down to write my Life List I practically have a panic attack. I get so anxious about not completing each item I put on there and I scratch things out and rewrite them about a million times. I think I might have to have another go at a “life list” but like you, do it my own way…

    • I know! It made me feel so anxious and nervous and OMG what if I don’t finish everything??? Well, the idea is that I WILL cross everything off and the things that are on the list that lose importance, I’ll just remove.

      Thanks for the comment Chrissa! Let me now when you create yours!

        • I LOVE IT! So good for you! I’m glad you took this whole life list thing and made it your own. It’s the beauty of perception, right? Yay!

  6. I love your life list! And I especially like the flexibility you’re giving yourself to continue changing it. I’ve done the same – it’s too daunting to think of everything set in stone, so I made a little agreement with myself that I can change it at any time (just like you). Thanks so much for the shout-out too – you are so sweet 😀 Hugs!!

    • You are quite an inspiration, Jenny! Thanks for always giving me ideas and encouraging me to derive from them and create my own realities! (P.S. We still need our date…)

  7. I LOVE this post Lauren! It’s getting me inspired to make a life list of my own, and more importantly, DO the things on it. I think it’s such a good idea to allow yourself to change it! I just hope you don’t change the “Visit Chicago as an Adult” one!! :)

    • I’m going to come to Chicago and visit you! Let me know when you make your life list — I want to see!

  8. Wow! I really need to write a bucket list. It has recently occurred to me that I’m actually halfway done with college which is totally and completely terrifying, because my goals are overly terrifying. Anyway, I love your list but I’m adding to it for you. YOU HAVE GOT TO GO TO ISRAEL. I hope you add this. You’ll love it, and you are Jewish. You got to go!

    • You’re TOTALLY right! Consider it added :)

  9. Whoa, your answered all my questions to why I’ve put off making a “life list.” I was apprehensive about it, and I wasn’t sure why–these are the reasons why! Thanks for putting a label on my concerns.

    Time to re-evaluate!


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