So you say, “Chris, what about that Life List you were going to create? Any progress? Before long the Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman movie, The Bucket List, will be packing ’em in and you’ll be late to the party.”
Good question. I’m definitely thinking about what should and shouldn’t be on my Life List. And that in itself has proved to be a good thinking exercise, because it forces you to ask that key question: “What’s truly important? Given that time and resources are limited, what do I really want to do as opposed to what I might want to want to do?”
That’s not a typo. Once you get out the mental razor and start slicing away the essential from the non-essential, you find that some of what you thought were Must-Do items are really Might-Do or “Wouldn’t it be nice” items. Until you start putting a deadline on things and asking what kind of time, money, and effort it will take to accomplish them, it’s easy to have a head full of vague sorta-wanna-maybe-somedays.
I’ve been checking out websites like www.elifelist.com and www. 43Things.com and sort of categorizing the things people put on their lists. Here’s an initial breakdown:
1.”Easy” stuff. Some people want to do things that seem within the ability of any person who’s not suffering from physical handicaps or poverty: Plant a garden, take a class in French poetry, ride a horse, etc.
2. “Hard” stuff. This is relative to the person, of course, but here I’d include things like climbing America’s ten tallest peaks, running a marathon, becoming fluent in Mandarin, etc. These are clearly projects that could take months or years and considerable expense.
3. Things that need more definition. “Work for World Peace” sounds like a noble goal, but–how? when? With whom? Maybe that should be broken down into discrete steps, like “Join local Christian-Jewish-Islamic Council.”
3. Odd Mixed-Bag Stuff. Obviously there are no hard and fast rules for the Life List, but I don’t understand things like “See the Kansas City Royals win a World Series.” Unless you’re one of the players or coaches, it’s hard to see what you can contribute to that Royals victory. If you yourself can’t take a concrete step toward achieving something, I don’t see how it belongs on a Life List.
I’ll be pursuing Life List ideas over the next several posts with a short hiatus as Ann and I celebrate our 20th anniversary in New York City. Yep, 20 years this week. You know, I think it’s gonna work.