Sunday, May 31, 2009

Life Lists

Several years ago I worked with a young man, who was just out of high school. He had made a life list. One of the things on his list was to run a marathon. He had been working toward that goal and was going to travel to Florida to run in his first marathon.

I had heard of Life Lists before, and had read of people making them, but I had never actually made one myself.

Yes, I have made lists of things that I would like to accomplish, but not a list set in stone of things I definitely was going to work toward before I died. Most of my lists were just dreams I had about doing things. They were always flexible, and often times I would forget about them.

Anyway, reaching toward the ripe old age of 43, which I will be in November, I have decided to try my hand at a Life List. I plan to write down things that I would really like to do, things I want to work toward accomplishing before I am either to old, or dead...

I think the old or dead part is why I never made a list like that before, because I didn't want to think about being old, or dead! I want my list to be a living list, one that continues to grow and expand as I mark some things off as accomplished. I know one thing that I plan to put on that list...

Hang gliding! I have always wanted to hang glide. When I was a child and we came to North Carolina one of the first times, I saw someone hang gliding and I was hooked. I wanted to do it so desperately...but life comes and things get in the way of those childhood dreams, and sometimes we forget what they were.

The other day I was looking at things to do in North Carolina and there is was; Hang Gliding. Something re-awakened within me. I spent many years in fear of those kind of things, that I had forgotten that I did have an adventurer spirit about me at one time. So I got the information and have set in my mind that I will go hang gliding before we leave North Carolina. I am sure that you can do it many other places, but because it was here that I first acquired the dream so many years ago, I think it is only fitting that I fulfill that dream here.

So I have the first item for my Life List. Not that it will be the first I accomplish and mark off, but it will be the first added to the list.

The second item is to run in a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon, and eventually a full marathon. The exercise and weight loss will go a long way in getting me there.

Every journey no matter how long, begins with the first step. This is my first step toward that journey...

Wow! All of that from just a few sessions at Curves! That place is amazing! It is just what I needed at this moment in my life. I have thought about change, I have talked and written about is the appointed time to do something about it...

So, what's on your Life List if you have one, or what would go on one if you were to start one?

No matter where you are in this journey called Life, it isn't to late to accomplish things you want to accomplish.

My Mom and I were talking the other day about this, how as you get older, you have to start dropping some things off your list...Somethings are impossible to accomplish at some points in life. I know that I will never be able to accomplish some of the dreams I had a 18, or 25...even some of the dreams I had at 35 won't be accomplished, because they were things that as you get older, you are less likely to be able to accomplish. You could probably still do some of them, but because of where you are now in your life, you may not desire to work toward those things. You may want to spend your time on other dreams. After our conversation she did something she has wanted to do for years; she participated in a small way in the Relay For Life walk in a town near her. She walked in the survivors walk... She is a two time breast cancer survivor! And she gives all the glory to God for bringing her through! Knowing that her life mission is not complete, because He chose to let her stay here instead of taking her home...I am thankful for that...maybe the fact that I still need my mom, is one reason He has allowed her to stay here...

Anyway, there will be dreams that we have to drop from our lists because of age, health, time, life circumstances. I can let some of mine go now without the bitterness I once felt toward the unaccomplished goals in my life. I came to understand that some dreams and goals weren't for obtaining, but bringing us to a new place that we get on a different path.
That's okay. I can deal with those dreams that are behind and I can no longer attain, or no longer care to do what is required to attain them.

I don't usually quote movies, I rarely watch them, but one of my favorite quotes from a movie was quoted by Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood) in The Bridges of Madison County.

"The old dreams were good dreams; they didn't work out, but I am glad that I had them."

That is how I feel about some of the dreams I had in my early years. I had to drop some; like the backpacking around Europe thing. It's kind of hard to do that with a family. I am sure you could, but that was more of a before kids thing...However, some of those dreams are coming back around and are still achievable, like hang gliding.

Let's face it. The life you dreamed of when you graduated from high school is usually not the same life you dream of having when you reach 40. I know mine isn't. That is why it is so hard for someone to decide at 18 what they want to invest their life doing in a career for the next 40 years of their lives. Some people do, some people are just born knowing what they were here to do...others of us, like myself, still don't know! We just move through the days and years doing those things that life brings us. Sometimes I feel like a boat on open waters with no way to steer and no set destination...just moving along with the tides and currents.

The difference is, by giving myself over to God, I have faith that He is guiding my vessel and that He will take me where He wants me to go. He will bring me to the places and in contact with the people that will somehow impact my life and help me to become what He wants me to be. We don't become and then do, it is a journey we are on until God calls us home. When we become, then He takes us home to be with Him. When we accomplish what He put us here to accomplish, our mission is complete. So I am glad that I haven't accomplished mine yet. I am still trying to find mine, but in the process, I am living each day trying to move closer to that goal. Maybe Life itself was the mission----

So with all of that said; I am thinking of things that I would really like to spend my time working toward. Some are large, important things, some are small unimportant to the whole scope of life things, but things I find enjoyable anyway. Some will be personal in nature; inside work; as I spoke of before on this blog. Others will be just for fun type things, like hang gliding. Some will have lasting impact, others will just be for the moment things...

With two things to put on my list, now I have to decide what do I write this list on? It seems like such a special, life altering list should be written on special paper and displayed so that it would be visible...where do people keep a Life List? Some people just write things down on paper and keep it in their wallets, others put it on their computers...

Since I have a tendency to misplace lists, I don't know about the whole paper and wallet thing. And with computers crashing like they do, maybe that isn't such a good idea either...

I suppose I will write my Life List in my journal, that is the one thing that I will hold on to and will always know where to find it.

There are actually web sites devoted to this very thing. Check out

Abundance blog will help you get started on your Life List.

And check out this book; Creating Your Best Life.

Hopefully this will inspire someone to remember the dreams they once had and begin to work to make them a reality. Remember a Life List isn't about just marking things off, like a grocery list, but the enjoyment of working toward that goal and enjoying the moment while you are making it a reality...

Life really is short! My grandmother who passed away at 94, looked back over her life and expressed how quickly it passed. So even if we are blessed with 94 good years, it gets by quickly and often we put things off and say, "I'll get around to it sometime." Often times we get caught up with raising a family, working, paying bills and seeing to others that we forget to see to ourselves. Don't get me wrong, I don't advocate selfishness, and neglecting responsibility. But I don't think even the busiest of us can't take out a little time to enjoy ourselves...

I am beginning to ramble; surprise surprise; and this post is getting entirely to long, so I will just end with those famous Nike words: JUST DO IT!

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