One of the days in LA, I was sitting at Le Pain Quotidien having an amazing breakfast of steel cut oats and organic bread with Claudia. We are talking about about Claudia setting up shop in LA, about bigger things people want out of life, about people wanting fame and glory and what that does to the rest of what you want out of life, about how wanting to have children impacts other things you want out of life. You know usual light breakfast conversation.
Claudia is then talking about an unhealthy distraction she gets periodically sucked in to. She is musing about how it sometimes keeps her from how she wants to live. So I ask her if she writes what she wants down as a reminder. I ask her to make a list on the spot.
“I want have a healthy life. I want to make the time to work on my practice. I want to eat good organic food” at the last statement she laughed like it was the silliest thing in the world to say.
“Why did you just laugh?”
“It isn’t exactly a lofty goal for life. ”
“Umm. Eat well is absolutely on my list. Actually, it is pretty up there too. What is wrong with having a non-lofty happy well balanced life.”
But we were in LA and would probably pass forty people before the morning was out who are striving for a narrow focused movie acting fame. Lofty goals. People want to have big careers, huge success, stellar levels of fame, save the planet, be in the history books. However, the people in my life that have the loftiest goals are really the most miserable I know.
Then I showed her Christopher’s list. I noted that number 4 is “Sleep enough, exercise, eat well.” Can you save the planet after a cheap and crappy McDonald’s meal, doubled over with a rock in your gut? Unlikely. Can you add peace to the world without your own peace? Can you take care of others, neglecting yourself, without building resentment?
I have a friend who was in town for a funeral of her very dear friend and my coworker. He was 48 and it is stunning to lose someone so young. We had dinner and she was talking about how hard it was at his house. She mentioned that they had found a similar list. She shared a few items on his life list and they tore at my heart. In the end did he feel he was able to live to his list?
Dave has a list of things to do before he dies that he won’t add anything to until it is done. I think it is grand.
I like lists. I don’t commonly prioritize them or color code them but they serve me well. I remember when I was heartbroken to have to leave Italy I made a list of everything I was looking forward to in New England: corn, fall, family, skinny dipping, ginger ale. I’ve made pie graphs to see if my life is in balance. At one point my uncle told me to make a list of 100 qualities I wanted in a romantic consort and I would meet someone stellar. It took me a while to make the list and was an interesting process. I have mundane lists and lofty lists.
I feel like I should share a list with you to go with this but I will only share a start. In no particular order here is what I want to keep focus on in my life at the moment.
balance life (work-play-romance-humor-generosity-health)
take care of myself, eat fabulous food
live in a financially sound way
continue to declutter (brain, home, car, life)
be conscious of environmental footprint
be great at my job(s), work hard, create, mentor, teach, and communicate well
be good to my family, friends, community and world
give without regret or resentment, learn not to give if resentment or regret are plausible
create -allocate time for creative endeavors
contribute to the world
learn to receive better
think about maybe someday addressing the judgmental monster in my brain
revel in moments of awe or transcendent experiences
appreciate people, even the hard to take ones
Want to share a list of your own?