Editing your Life List isn’t cheating, it’s growth. I know some people feel like their Life Lists are set in stone, and presumably those people are still saving for the tribal band tattoo they wanted when they were fifteen.
Every year or so, I go through my Life List and make sure it still makes sense for me. A few of the ways I approach the editing process:
1. Break goals down.
“Become conversational in seven languages” has been one of my favorite goals. So erudite! So chatty! But I’m stalled. I currently speak English and Spanish. I keep saying that “someday” I will tackle the rest. Someday what? Someday I’m going to sit down and learn five more languages in an evening? Maybe on a Tuesday in 2023?
So I changed the goal to, “Learn French.” I have, in fact, taken French classes. I have also been to France, and would like to return. Hence, I will learn more French until I can have a conversation. And once I do, we can talk about those other four languages. In French, si vous préférez.
2. Make symbolic goals more tangible.
“Buy stock on my own” was on my list, because to me it was a symbolic marker of someone who had their shit together financially. Turns out I don’t want to know how to buy stock. I do not care. I want to keep my checking account balanced, and know I’m on track for retirement. New goal? “Get my financial life in order.”
“Get organized and own less crap” is the same as “Become a tidy person,” in my mind. But the latter is what I actually want.
I don’t want to clean out my apartment, I want to change my relationship to material things. So I kept “Become a tidy person,” and added organization and closet clearing to the sub-list.
4. Examine your motives.
I tried “Start a daily meditation practice” and it didn’t stick, but I don’t feel too worried about it. I deleted the goal because the whole point of meditating was to worry less anyway? So it worked. Everyone should try meditation.
I also had “Write 365 thank you notes” on my list, because I wanted to get back into the practice of writing them. Gratitude makes you happier, and more evolved, and increases muscle tone. Read the studies.
Anyway, I didn’t feel excited about it. Turns out I just like to think of friends finding real mail in their mailboxes. So I changed my goal to “Send 365 pieces of real mail.” And now I’m all set up for success. Stamps!
5. Speak for yourself.
Hank was really into robots for about three weeks, and we decided to make a robot zine together. I added it to my list, because awesome. Then when I sat us down to do it? He was into it for 10 minutes. So instead of forcing him to draw robots as some sort punitive exercise for being an indecisive six year old, I removed it from my list. Zen parenting, om.
6. Own up.
One of the questions I ask myself is, “Do I want to do this, or do I want to say I’ve done it?” Often it’s the latter. Case in point? Multi-day biking trip. Would I do it? Sure. If someone showed up at my door and said, “I have arranged an all-expenses-paid biking trip, Maggie Mason! Here is your bike. I have packed your bags and your food and lodging await.”
Rad. I shall pull on some spandex forthwith!
But. Assuming that doesn’t happen, do I want to go on a biking trip enough to plan it myself — or spend a year pitching it to potential backers? Do I want to spend a lot of money on an adequate bicycle, recruit friends, arrange for lodging and food, set aside vacation time, find child care?
No. I will never do that. Delete.
Have you edited your list recently, or did you have it tattooed on your person? If so, pics please. And if you don’t have a Life List yet, you should make one on Go Mighty, which is our community site. Come hang out.
Hank’s Rubber Egg Experiment over on Go Mighty
Is it awesome or is it gross? Why can’t it be both? Must we put everything in boxes?
Sometimes you want a little snack with your drink.
1/4 Cup pineapple
1 Shot Vodka
Chop up your pineapple until it’s the size you want for biting. You can also freeze it or use frozen pineapple to ice the drink, or blend the fruit with a little water if you want more pineapple flavor and a slushy texture. Add your preferred pineapple format to the glass, pour vodka over, top with Cream Soda to taste and give it a little stir.
Now turn your heater all the way up, and go find your sunglasses. Ah. Hawaii in January.
I’m making 100 cocktails as part of my Life List. Here are a few of the others:
Hank and I made Homeless Survival Kits as part of a Life List goal to do a holiday project together. It surprised me by becoming an easy way for Hank to ask me questions, so I wrote about that over here: Talking to My Kid About Homelessness Without Giving Him Nightmares. This is something that has come up a lot in San Francisco, where we have a lot of folks on the streets.
We do give money to our local food bank, but I’d like to have something on me to offer when people ask for help, so Hank doesn’t get the message that you can be indifferent to people in trouble. I did a little research on what to put in our kits, and we ended up using:
Gallon-sized, rainproof ziplock bags
Folding travel toothbrushes
Kind bars (softer to chew than granola)
More items to consider:
Cheese or peanut butter crackers
Vienna sausages with pull off lids
Plastic forks and spoons
Additional ziplock bags to keep belongings dry
There’s a good thread on Meta-Filter that has a lot of suggestions in comments. You can drop your kits off at a local shelter, or give them out individually.
Also, some nice things to consider generally:
Softer food is easier for people to chew if their teeth are hurting. Homeless people don’t have access to dentists or often any way to keep their teeth in shape, so consider that when you’re choosing food.
Hydration can be a big problem when you don’t have a house. If you’re offering food, try to offer a drink as well.
Take your leftovers, and request plastic silverware. If you live in a big city, never turn down your leftovers when you can hand them to someone within a few feet of the door, or leave them on top of the nearest bench or post box for someone to find. I told a waiter I was leaving the rest of my dinner out, and he taped silverware and a napkin to the top. Genius! So now I request one if the place seems to offer takeout. Also, I like to write the date and time on the box if I have a pen.
If you have any simple habits you’ve adopted to help out the homeless people in your community, or any advice to offer if you’ve been homeless yourself, please let us know in comments. And Happy Holidays, team!
Pip Lincolne is an Aussie writer and artist who blogs at Meet Me at Mike’s. I got to meet her as part of my Go Australia trip. I asked Claire Robertson of Loobylu, “Who should I meet up with, now that you’re not in Australia anymore?” And she suggested Pip.
PIP LINCOLNE is beloved because:
• She’s intentional. Pip engages in little self-tuning projects. While I was there, she was working on being kinder to her body, and considerate of how her actions affected people in her family or online community.
• She’s curious. This is such a big deal to me in a person. Pip is always learning about this or that, and sharing what she hears.
• She has a sweetness about her. Her Softies for Mirabel project delivers handmade toys to kids in need. And the project feels like an extension of her — a person who likes to make things and give little gifts.
From Meet Me at Mike’s:
“I like it that having a blog or reading blogs reminds you that life can change all the time. That you can be interested and inspired by different things on different days. That the search for things that excite or inform or impress or motivate you can be undertaken on a regular basis. That looking for things that pique your interest is a perfectly valuable thing to do. That today’s view doesn’t have to be tomorrow’s.” Read More
We had a fancy dinner together as part of my trip, and she made me feel lucky to still be making friends as a grownup.
Wherein I refrain from vomiting into my handbag. Because I am a pro.