Life’s Lineation in Lists

Oct 22, 2010 by

Life’s Lineation in Lists

I like goals.

I like lists. I am perennially disorganized, an ENFP on the Meyers-Briggs scale, and lists help me impose a sort of order on my chaotic brain. They remind me of my priorities and keep me on track of what needs to be done. If I don’t write it down, it is highly likely it will not get done, because the need for it will scamper off like some curious woodland creature with better things to do than wait around to be paid attention to, and then when I go looking for it, well, I’m out of luck.

I do not, however, like New Year’s Resolutions. They are always the same, and they seem to get repetitive. Instead, for the last few years, I’ve been following Christine Kane’s Word-of-the-Year approach and picking a word to guide me in my endeavors for the year. So far, I’ve found it works pretty well.

This isn’t about that, though.

Give me ‘til December, and we’ll get there. Instead, this is about lists. Specifically Life Lists, and the DayZero Project.   For those of you not familiar with it, the DayZero Project encourages you to make a list of 101 things you’d like to accomplish in the next 1001 days. These can be anything from something big like learning to speak a language fluently to small, like sending flowers to a friend anonymously. In this way, I justify them as not being resolutions.

A friend mentioned the other day that she was thinking about doing it. Whether in a supreme act of procrastination on other tasks or an inspired act of brilliance for clarifying what’s important to me in crafting my ideal life over the next 2.75 years, I hop-skip-jumped over and signed up for it, too.

Before I knew it, I had a list.

Some of the items on my list were obvious ones–finish editing my novel, get the others outlined, get another one written, find an agent, get it published, finish my coach training, quit my job and coach full time, get into a PhD program. These are my big goals that shape my life and that I’m working toward actively each day, as I work on creating my ideal life.

Others took even me by surprise, as I searched and thought and found little things that delighted me and made me smile–knowing I wanted to get back into music, something I’ve neglected for YEARS; finally buckling down and doing something about that photography longing; learning some new cooking skills; unplugging from the constant communication lifeline I keep myself hooked into.

I’m still pondering what some of the more surprising items on the list mean.

What deeper yearnings do they speak to? What can I learn about myself from what I felt compelled to put on that list? Were some just a trial in a fit of whimsy? Or is there something there I’m not paying attention to?

How about you? When you look back at your life a year from now, or two, or three, or five–what would you like to have done?  What steps can you take today to get there? Someone very wise once pointed out that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

Maybe it’s time to try something new.

[Photo credit: jon smith ‘una nos lucror’]

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