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.