I'm not a list on paper person. Never have been.
I planned my entire house and wedding without a single written to do list. I know you cringe, but it can be done. Could it have been done better with a written list?
But our house is standing and we are married. List or no list. It all happened.
I know people who have lists for literally everything. Grocery lists, daily to do lists, monthly to do lists, meal planning lists, lists of books to read, lists of topics to journal about, lists of projects to make, lists of people to write or call, etc. etc. etc.
Lists, lists, lists. We live in a society where there is so much pressure to do so many things in one day that some people can't function without lists. I know some people that are very successful and get a lot done because of those lists. There are entire blogs and websites devoted to lists and printable organizing sheets.
Lists, lists, lists.
Things just seem so official and legit when they are on paper.
Lately I have been trying to write a list of things to do daily while I am eating breakfast. Usually due to distractions, change in schedule and weather or just plain old lack of self discipline, maybe 3 out of 10 things get done. Huge let down.
There is nothing wrong with a list except one thing.
What if you don't get everything on your list crossed off? What if time just runs out.
It's no big deal to me at the end of the day that I didn't make that doctor appoinment to get that one weird mole checked out, called my mom, throw the darks in the wash, organize the pantry or give my flower beds their daily weeding.
But what if our lists are far bigger than just daily to do chores?
What if our lists are our life. Our reason to live.
I've had a running list in my head for a very long time of all the things I'd like to do in my lifetime since I was a young kid and it has been nagging at me like crazy. Lately, I've come to realize that some of these things will never happen and for some it's not too late. And some have been completed. (Yay!) Am I hurting myself if everything on my life list isn't crossed off? Am I setting myself up for a sense of failure by having some of these things on my lists? I don't know. I don't know why our minds are constantly making list and why we are constantly letting ourself down.
I guess what is most important is that we not necessarily finish our lists, but that we prioritize our lists. At the end of the day, did we get what matters most finished? Is there a real reason those other things will never happen? Maybe they're not really that important to you at all. Maybe they are wishes and wants that make us feel better about ourselves.
No one ever sat back and said "I never accomplished anything in life... but I sure had one killer bucket list."
Go through your list. And I don't mean your daily chore list but you know, that list. The one that's been in your head for years, years and years. Clean it up. Get rid of those things you know will never happen. Instead, replace those items with some crossed off things that did happen or things that can be done.
My untweaked bucket list:
Get married by age 30 - check
Have big wedding - check
Write and illustrate children's book
Have all my photos in organized albums
Play semi-pro tennis
Be comfortable with my weight
Design and build home - check
Own my own business - depends if I count the farm or not
Travel to Europe especially England
Have a good relationship with my brother - check
Raise/breed cattle and horses
Become a good landscape photographer
Own a good amount of land - check
Take a vacation somewhere with my mom
Appear in Country Sampler
Restore an antique tractor
Run a 5k
Have a large collection of antique crocks
Bake a pie from scratch
Own a lake cottage/cabin
Grow a garden
Write a novel
Live on a farm with a big blue silo -check
Build a greenhouse
Now that I've shared my coveted list with you, does it motivate me more to accomplish these things? No, not really. I know you won't be checking up with me in 5 years. However, it does make my list seem more surreal when I have it in front of me. The clock is ticking. Some of these things I don't know why I just don't wake up and do. Like bake a pie from scratch. Maybe deep down, I'd rather have someone else bake me a pie if I want pie?
How do we know where to start and where to stop with our lists? If you were given only a year to live, which things on your bucket list would you eliminate? Which things would you keep?
I can guarantee you, if I only had one year to live, somebody better be making me a lot of pie :)