Friday, September 30, 2011

36 while 36

I love lists.  The more, the better.  I think I've been making lists since I learned how to write my ABC's. There's something about them.  Maybe it's their ability to take everything floating around in my head and give them a safe, happy home.  To put things in order.  To make sense of ideas.  To organize chaos.  To make the intangible tangible.

I am a pro.  I have an endless to-do list of stuff that needs to get done.  Bills to be paid, walls to be painted, rain gutters to be cleaned out, doctors appointments to be kept.  It's just stuff.  Endless stuff. The list has never been blank.  I've never had to wonder what to put on it.

Several months back, I decided to start a "life list" - things I wanted to do while I was still 35.  It wasn't that easy.  I don't think I even finished writing the whole list let alone doing everything on it.  Well, in honor of September, my birth month, I finished my list.  My 36 while 36.  Oh, those pesky to-do tasks kept trying to creep in.  Come on, don't you want to organize the closets?  Re-do your bathroom?  Clean out the garage?  Um, yah, but you guys go on a different list.  This is my life list, my living 36 list.

I know some people get stressed out about lists like this.  They feel constrained or pressured to "do", to "check off".  I guess for me, it's the opposite.  It's freeing.  It's like a sweet, well-intentioned friend saying, "hey, don't forget about this one".  Because really, days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and before you know it you're turning 37 saying, "oh wait, what did I want to try this year?"  Or worse yet, you're not thinking anything.  That's my worse nightmare.  To let the days go by without notice, without intention, without thought.

So, I wrote it all out - all 36 lines of living. I don't feel pressured to do all of it, but I do feel encouraged to try.  I do like having ideas in my back pocket for those days you're like "hey, what should we do?"  (although honestly I don't think I've had a day like that in about 6 years - but you know what I mean).

Without further adieu, here goes...

  1. Paint something (I'm terrified of art and not very good at it - so I need to try:  a canvas, a table, a wall, something, anything.)
  2. Dust off my guitar and play again (it may only be for 10 minutes at a time but that's better than nothing).
  3. Go country line dancing.  
  4. Write letters to old friends and mail it (like with a stamp).
  5. Play in a poker tournament.  
  6. Plant a tree (or two)
  7. Write - my story.
  8. Eat at new restaurants.
  9. Drink hot chai tea in the snow. 
  10. Pick apples. 
  11. Write a song (and sing it). 
  12. Allow spontaneity.
  13. Raise awareness for AS
  14. Laugh at myself.  
  15. Create irresistible vegetarian meals.
  16. Refurbish some furniture.
  17. Write - something to be published. 
  18. Wear more colors.
  19. Sing (either in a microphone or in the shower - just sing)
  20. Become a better gardener.
  21. Pray without ceasing (and believe without ceasing).  
  22. Listen to live jazz as often as possible.  
  23. Stomp on grapes at a vineyard.  
  24. Write - a song. 
  25. Make jam (or jelly - I don't really know the difference).   
  26. Learn how to knit (or crochet - whichever is easier on my hands)
  27. Embrace the rain - walk in it, play in it, splash in it, LIVE in it.  
  28. Make pumpkin pie out of the pumpkins in our garden.
  29. Dance in a flash mob (seriously, if anybody knows how I can go about doing this, please let me know.  this is a non-negotiable, must-do!!).  
  30. Read poems to my children.
  31. Stay in a cabin in the snow - embrace winter!  
  32. Be kind to myself - set lofty goals, but allow myself time to get there.
  33. Take water aerobics.
  34. Go snow sledding!  
  35. Walk in a "Race for the Cure"
  36. Choose joy - because each day is a gift and I won't take a single one for granted.
So there it is - my 36.  Could I encourage you to create your own life list?  It doesn't have to be a certain number, it could just be 10, or 20, or 150 - whatever it takes to remind you to live.  Don't let another year go by just focusing on the to-dos.  Trust me, those to-dos aren't going anywhere.  I think we could all use lists that give us permission to dance, laugh, sing, explore, wander, live.  

Enjoying 36, 

I'd love it if you would leave a comment and share one, two or all of your ideas.  Living is always better together.


    1. Well I can most definitely teach you how to knit!

    2. I loved this Kim, it was inspiring. I want to wake up early and take my kids to the coast to watch the sunrise. I haven't watched the Sunrise since Easter sunrise service in high school!

    3. Jessica-that is a great one, I did that when I was young once with my siblings. It was very special, I still remember it now. Kim- great post. I've seen this on other blogs and always meant to sit down and make one. Something on my list is to start doing service projects with my kids.

    4. Jessica, that IS a great list. There seems to be a lot of singing going on in there. I will make a list and let you know, I just passed a big milestone so my to go list might be small.

      But the laugh at yourself goal. you must add everyday, definitely, i laugh at myself every chance I get. Things are much less seious when you laugh.

    5. I resonate with the guitar playing one ... I promised myself I would start playing again when all the keiki were in school ... Yet to do it ... But can't wait to!!! Thanks for reminding me : )

    6. I love lists too. I always tell Em to make lists and she is NOT a lists person. I have this desire to have a huge dry erase board that I can write all kinds of list on so I can erase, add or edit as needed. Weirdo huh? Many on your list I would love to do, especially the flash mob one! I would like to take a ballroom dance class with Emily. I would like to start writing a book that I have been talking about for a while. I want to learn to play the upright bass so I can play in a jazz band. Hmm, so many others, I guess another one is to start a list! haha

    7. I tend to write everything down on a list - I think, for me, it's part of an OCD thing. However, I love your list! And your list isn't just chores - as mine usually is. It's all about enjoying moments! Now, that is the kind of list we should all start....

    8. Kim!
      I'm so excited reading this blog entry because Great Minds Think Alike!! I haven't even read your whole blog entry, yet, but I had to stop and tell you. (Gosh, I wish we had been close chums in high school.) I just started my own blog!! And guess what it's called?!?! The List. Seriously. Too funny. If you have a moment check out my new blog. I bet we have some similar things on our Lists. I didn't publish mine yet, though. I'm taking baby steps. Okay, back to reading your 36 items.

      You're awesome!

      Love to you,

    9. Okay!!: #1, #2, #11, #17, #19, #26, #29, #31, #36 we have in common!! :))))

    10. @Lin: Only if lessons are in person.

      @Jess: There's nothing like a sunrise. Enjoy it.

      @Sara: Let me know. Maybe we'll join you.

      @Vanessa: I'll ask you again in a few months :)

      @J: I love the things on your list. I hope you find time for ballroom dancing. A book, huh? Well it looks like I'm not the only one who needs encouraging then. Cat's outta the bag. I'll be checking on you every now and then. Oh, and yay for jazz bands. I love!

      @Jane: Hope you can start some new "life lists" and enjoy the moments. Thanks for reading - and commenting.

      @Karen: So glad you started a blog. I went on briefly. So proud of you, lady. Nothing but love for you. :)

    11. For a semi bright woaman, I still have not figured out how to comment on your blog, Kim, and have it "stay".
      I just reread your most recent entries and, as always, was inspired and amazed by your heartfelt writing skills. Your eloquent choice of words truly take the reader to a loving place. Thank you for sharing. You are wonderful and loved by all who know you.
      XO....G'Ma Jane

    12. Of course, this "semi bright woman" misspelled "WOMAN" but at least I've learned how to make my comments "stay"........xoxoxoxo