I am a list maker addict. I start my day making a scheduled list. I go to the store, I make a list. I have a dream, I make a list of important points. We start a new year, I list out intentions. Whatever I write down, it tends to be in list form. I have recently been inspired by two other list makers. My friend Kathy Phillips and the ultimate list maker, Andrea Jenkins from Hula Seventy.
Kathy recently put up a giant chalkboard at the Gainesville Yoga Center with the words, “Before I Die…” She encourages people to finish the phrase on the board on their way out the door. During a recent yoga class when I first saw the board appear on the wall, Kathy asked me to write something on it. Immediately I froze with fear. What will I write? What if someone else thinks what I write is stupid? Maybe I should think about it more so I can write something profound. So I sheepishly wrote something on the board when no one was looking and quickly made my way out the door.
Andrea, on the other hand, creates lists of all the things she wants to do before she reaches 40 or 70 or any other milestone. She writes lists about things she misses from the past. Lists documenting her observations about a day, a week. She chronicles life past, present, and future in lists. I find myself wanting to be transported into her world just so I can snag a ride on her coattails of adventure. I read her blog and I just want to copy her lists.
There is a theme here between these two stories. I have no idea what I want. This unknowing is also crippled by my fear in the first story and my shame in the second. I am so well versed on these two subjects, I could write a book about them. However, one of the perks of being a life coach is being able to recognize these patterns and find a way to get the hell out of them. So the first thing I did was become an observer and notice that I am afraid of being authentic out of fear of rejection. I dug deeper and asked myself the question, was I judging myself and disguising it as assumed judgement from others? What did I have to be ashamed of anyway? It’s only a list, or is it?
I realized I was viewing the bucket list as a deeply personal declaration of what I wanted out of life, and somehow I wasn’t supposed to have all that. As I thought further, I couldn't reason with myself that showing up as myself was bad. A list full of the ideas and adventures you want to accomplish before you bite the dust is, in reality, a great tool. It sets the universe in motion to make opportunities happen that you have only dreamed about. If you don’t say them out loud, fear keeps you in the shadows, and shame makes you feel bad for ever wishing you wanted it, and that is a boring way to live.
It is scary to think about what I want and say it out loud, but my list is a testament of the woman I want to become, and what woman wouldn’t be inspired by that?
I’m taking a few weeks to process this list, but I am posting what I have thus far. Thank you Kathy and Andrea for your inadvertent wisdom.
Before I Die…
- stop living in fear and shame
- write a book
- climb mountains. many of them.
- explore Alaska by train, plane, and foot
- visit all the national parks
- own and ride (again) a horse
- host a huge dance party
- be an inspiring and creative mother
- travel the back roads of America and camp along the way…write a book about it!
- skinny dip in a mountain lake
- travel to France, Italy, and Switzerland
- become a motivational speaker
- travel and study a spiritual practice in India