Love It or List It

In my last post, I wrote about the different kinds of lists we have. Whether they’re written down on paper or just floating around in our heads, we all have them. Our daily tasks and weekend projects. Our work assignments, the household chores, yard work, and the bucket list. The things we have to do and the things we want to do.

I love lists. I’ve been a listmaker since I could write my ABCs. They help me remember and keep me focused. And then, of course, there’s the ultimate joy of crossing off the things that are done.

Lists are good, but we can’t be bound by them. Our lists can’t be our driving force.

The main thing about our lists is not the doing, but the loving of the people around us while we’re getting them done. Love is the point. Loving the people God gave you or the people He gave you to. Loving those you’ve known for years and the ones you’ll meet next week. Loving your family and co-workers and friends. And the nice neighbors across the street and the ones two houses down you wish weren’t your neighbors. Loving your kid’s good teachers and the ones jaded from years of teaching.

Love compels us. Loving everyone who comes in and out of our lives. Even the most brief encounter is an opportunity to show love in some way.

Life is not the lists we make, no matter how grand the lists. If at the end of my life I’ve accomplished every single thing on my bucket list but have no one to share it with, it means nothing. The joy comes with shared experiences and memories. Not checking off the items. 

Let us make our lists, especially the ones of the places we want to see and the dreams we want fulfilled. And let’s pursue those things. Just not at the expense of the most important thing – the people in our lives.

Enjoy them. Share with them. Love them.

Because at the end of our lives, it won’t matter what we’ve crossed off our lists. What will matter is how well we’ve loved the people in our lives.

 

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

 

 

Fun Is Good

I have a long list of “must dos”. A longer list of things I need to do. And a short list of fun things I really want to do. We all have these lists, whether on paper or in our heads.

The long lists take up most of my time. They include the everyday things I do at home or work. It means at work I figure contracts, reconcile GL accounts, take care of accounts payable, and analyze financial statements. At home I do laundry, have good conversations with my family, clean the refrigerator, cook dinner, or wash dishes.

The other items on the long lists are those that can wait but still need doing. Like clearing out the sun room and painting the walls. Getting quotes from contractors on more work we want done to the house. Cleaning out the attic and the barn. Trimming trees and more landscaping.

But what about that short list? Yours will be different than mine because what is fun to me may not be to you. But we all need our own list of fun things we want to do.

I want to fly somewhere with each of my kids and backpack on the Appalachian Trail this year. My husband and I want to see the Northern Lights and picnic in a vineyard. I want to paddle board and learn Spanish, do some freelance writing, and complete the Spartan Trifecta. These things don’t need to be done, and as author Mark Buchanan put it, the world isn’t changed by my doing them or not.

But I need to play. You need to play. Because we need a break from the ever growing “to do” list.

Because of the chores and responsibilities and deadlines, the short list tends to get shoved under the others. Disregarded as less important. Forgotten about.

If we’re not careful, adulthood can turn into one big obligation and we forget we need to have fun. We forget how to play.

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If you’ve neglected play for so long and don’t know what to do, start small. Play Go Fish with your kid. Dance in the living room. Fly a kite, jump on the trampoline or ENO in the park. Visit a theme park and ride all the roller coasters. Sign up for that cooking or dance class you’ve always wanted to take or join a book club.

I’m not going to tell you how you’ll benefit from playing. I want you to find out for yourself. Because the world may not be changed by your playing, but you probably will be.

Excuse me while I go jump rain puddles.

Dancing

To Do

My weekly “to do” list is as long as it was on Monday.  I’ve checked some items off but added others. I have ongoing projects at work and my plan to complete them hasn’t happened. The business letter I need to write is only half written.

At home the garage is still unpainted and the new garage door opener hasn’t been installed.  My closet is still a mess and some of the pretty plants I bought to put in my front flower garden are still in the pots I brought them home in.

I did other things.  Things that aren’t on the list.

I cooked homemade chicken noodle soup for my family and helped my oldest daughter with her Geography homework Monday night. I planned to be in bed early but had a nice conversation with my kids instead.

The next evening, my daughters and I did a 2 and 1/2 mile walk on the country roads around our home.  We talked with the neighbors when we returned.

I ran into a friend this week and visited with her.  Played in the yard with my youngest daughter and the dog and stayed up late one night talking with my husband.

And something I rarely do….I watched a favorite TV show.  It was splendid.

Sometimes our plans don’t happen when or how we want them to.  It’s frustrating.  This week I chose to be flexible instead of staying irritated about thwarted plans.  With three kids, full-time jobs, and all the other things we have going on…..I have to.

I will check those things off my “to do” list eventually.  I have more important things to do first.

What if the choices you thought were small, were actually the ones that mattered?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Satisfaction of a List.”

Fun

I have a long list of “must dos”. A longer list of things I need to do. And a short list of things I really want to do. We all have these lists, whether on paper or in our heads.

The long lists take up most of my time. They include the everyday things like be a wife, be a mom to 3 teenagers, and be an accountant at work.  It means at home I do laundry, help with homework, cook dinner, and wash dishes.  At work I figure contracts, reconcile GL accounts and analyze financial statements. That’s already a lot to do.

The other items on the long lists are those that can wait but still need doing.  Like painting behind the toilets because we installed new ones that are shaped differently and now a patch of the old paint shows. We need to paint the garage and organize our closets. We need to fix the backdoor.  I need to have my oil changed and the tires rotated.

But what about that short list?

Running a 5K is on my short list. I want to fly somewhere with each of my kids and hike in the Bankhead National Forest at least 10 times this year. My husband and I want to see the Northern Lights. I want to learn sign language and Spanish and do some ballroom dancing. These things don’t need to be done and as one of my favorite authors, Mark Buchanan, put it, the world isn’t changed by my doing them or not.  

But I need to play. You need to play. Because we need a break from the ever growing “to do” list.  

Because of the chores and responsibilities and deadlines the short list tends to get shoved under the others. Disregarded as less important. Forgotten about.  

If we’re not careful, adulthood can turn into one big obligation and we forget we need to have fun. We forget how to play. 

If you’ve neglected play for so long and don’t know what to do, start small. Play Go Fish with your kid. Dance in the living room. Fly a kite or jump on the trampoline. Take that cooking class, join a book club, or visit Six Flags again just to ride the roller coaster.

I’m not going to tell you how you’ll benefit from playing.  Or if you will at all.

I want you to find out for yourself.  And then let me know.

How did you play and did something good come from it?

Excuse me while I do some cartwheels in the front yard with my daughter and the dog.

In response to the Daily Post’s daily prompt Nothin’ But A Good Time.