A list well-lived

Posted by Autumn

I am a list-person. Lists at work, lists when I study, even lists of supplies when I craft. But I am most famous for my “Things to Get Done” weekend lists. Saturday mornings find me seated at the kitchen table scribbling such items as:

  1. Sweep the floors.

  2. Laundry.

  3. Take dress with broken strap to the tailors.

  4. Pay bills.

Each of these little chores (and often there are 10 or more for the weekend) gives me a sense of purpose—a roadmap for a productive weekend. I finish sweeping the floors and smile as I scratch that off the list. I leave the tailors thinking of where I’ll wear the dress once it has been fixed. Each responsible task is noted, performed, and crossed off. But, what about the not-so responsible tasks? My weekend list could have also looked like this:

  1. Take an afternoon nap.

  2. Eat something I shouldn’t.

  3. Spend time with friends.

  4. Watch a sunset at the beach.

It's good to live on the west coast of Florida. We get the sunsets. Photo courtesy of George Fuchs.

When I get a list, I get a list done. But since I don’t make a list of fun things to do—like having a scoop of ice cream after dinner or heading to the beach for the sunset—they often get pushed to next weekend, and the next, and the next.

And what about the really big things I’ve wanted to accomplish but keep putting off? If I were to add one of these to every weekend list, how quickly could I cross them off?

  1. Sign up for French classes.

  2. Practice my photography.

  3. Sing with my friend’s band.

  4. Learn to dance.

Why not grab the camera while the laundry dries and snap a few macro shots of the flowers in the backyard? Or spend an hour exercising my voice by singing a few of my favorites a capella? How much fun would it be to teach my niece to speak French, and in doing so improve my own vocabulary? Why not sign up for ballroom dancing lessons, so when my dress with the broken strap is fixed I have a great excuse to wear it?

This is my friend Abigail, who has been dancing since about the time she could walk. Photo courtesy of Amanda Beamer Photography.

Life isn’t about sweeping floors and paying bills. Life is what happens in-between those chores. Spending time with family, learning a new skill or rediscovering an old one, and even behaving a little badly now and then (just one scoop of ice cream, not the whole pint!) are the items on my new list: The Live Well list.


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