life lists: consensus is WRITE IT DOWN

For years, I had a list of things in my head I’d like to do in my life.

Then one day, I wrote that list down.  Later, I typed it into a computer file. Where it lived for many more years.

Unchanged.  Unseen.

But not quite forgotten.

As time went by, there were things I was eager to try or learn about or see, but somewhere between diapers and stuffed animals and swim lessons and homework, I mostly lost track of my list.

Several years ago, I unearthed that list and started adding things to it again.  I was kind of amazed to find that I had done accomplished quite a few of the things on the list, without even remembering they were there.

Because I wrote them down.

And then, a few years after that, I started seeing a lot about Life Lists around the internet.

Maggie, who writes at Mighty Girl, says the list is about making life more interesting.  Here is Maggie’s list.  (She also recommends adding to your list.)

Karen, the writer/photographer/general badass at Chookooloonks, says the list is about adding moments of joy to life.  Here is Karen’s list.

About a year ago, I had a conversation with a friend about blogging and being out there.  Tina likes to read my posts, but couldn’t see putting her own life on display for comment.  She figured that a life list in public would make her feel obligated to do something with it.

I like the way Scarlet Lily responds to that: a life list is a reminder of what makes you happy. That’s it. Here is Lily’s list.  (She inspired me to add riding a Segway to my list.)

Lily says (Lily might not be her real name) that remembering all those things takes up room in your soul.  Writing it down lets the universe have a go at it.

To me, posting the list publicly – which I haven’t done yet, but will soon – feels more like declaring my dreams and asking for support.  Much like the Mighty Summiteers did at last year’s event.

Danielle, writer at Knotty Yarn (and very witty person), summed up her experience at the Summit: life is so much better when we’re working through these dreams together.  She also later determined that doing the life list this way didn’t work for her.  Good knowing.  She has her own way.

There are no List Police.  Everyone gets to do it their way.  This is supposed to add joy, make you happy, make life more interesting.  There should be no damage from making a life list.

Sometimes it is scary to declare our dreams.  Sometimes it is really scary to ask for support reaching them.  As if they have value and could make the world a better place, just by one person living more joyfully.

Oh, wait.

Will the things on my list be even more likely to happen if I post it here than if it is sitting in a drawer or a deeply buried folder on my laptop?

I think we all know the answer to that one.

listening to: Steve Azar, Damn the Money


  • well—public list—well I guess I could censor out the really naughty stuff so I keep my job—kind of like what those fascist pigs have done to huck finn, Bastards!! Ooops side-tracked. What were we talking about? Oh yes life list. Or I could use euphemisms and then the only people who could fire me would be intelligent people and since we all know that boss=intelligent is not necessarily a mathemtically sound equation, Damn—distracted again by trying to simplify that math equation—what were we talking about again 🙂

    • Oh dear. When having trouble with boss issues, I highly recommend Dilbert comics. When having trouble with keeping-your-humour issues, I highly recommend Hyperbole and a Half. When having trouble with math issues, I highly recommend xkcd or Indexed. Go have fun with the shiny things. 😉

  • I think writing these things down gives them power – the simple act of declaring them starts a shift in us. And, of course, declaring them publicly gives us some accountability. 🙂

    I believe our dreams absolutely do have value – and although it’s scary to declare them and ask for support, I think it’s also powerful.

    • I agree, Katie. I first wrote the list down in my early 20s. When I later saw how many things had happened, I knew the power was Real.

      Our dreams are what call us to stretch, grow, inspire, shine. They need breathing room and loving care. Any person living more joyfully makes the world a better place for all of us to live.

      This I believe.

  • Great post, Jet! I haven’t done a life list yet, but have done a vision board, which seems kind of similar. I’ll have to think more about my life list, though… and see if I’m willing to share it. 😉 Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Thank you for the visit and comment, Laurie! Vision boards are wonderful, too. I haven’t done one in a long time, and yet, the first one I did continues to ripple through my life.

      On mine, there was a silhouette image of a pregnant woman, a star of light peeking around her full belly. Within the year, my daughter was born.

      I think some of the power of vision boards comes from being about MORE than words, stretching beyond the intellect or left-brain ideas we have for ourselves. It’s good to be in our right minds for activities like dreaming.

      Also, I think life lists and vision boards and the like are powerful, whether we share them or not.

    • Thank you, Sister-There. Or is is Naughty-Sister? When you call me Sister-Bear, I want to call you Sister-There, but when you are here, then what? I think Sister-Love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

link to your last blog post with a check here