I write a lot of lists. There is my daily to-do list, a project list, a list of books I want to read, and restaurants I want to try. Lists remind me not only what I must do, but what I want to do. Plus, I’m a big believer in what I put out into the world will somehow work out in the end. The act of making lists is allowing myself to write down dreams and goals and then giving myself permission to fulfill them.
Four years ago, under the advisement of a career coach, I created a completely different kind of list. He called it a life/work balance grid, but it is still a list. We took the time to map out what I wanted for myself in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years. Today, I’m revisiting this list. Here is what I’ve discovered.
The good news is “remodeling my kitchen” was slated for year 5 and I did it in year 3. I also wanted to see one Broadway show a year starting in 2020. I’m happy to report that in year 4, we are seeing not one or two, but six(!) Broadway shows in 2019! Not on Broadway, but I never wrote down where I wanted to see the shows. That isn’t as important to me as enjoying the theater experience. I love supporting the arts and there are so many shows I want to see, so I’m happy to be able to do this. I also wanted to read 12 books a year and according to my Goodreads account, I’ve come close but haven’t hit the mark yet. Of course, this year, I doubled my reading goal and although I’m already falling behind, I plan to catch up soon.
I’m still pursuing my writing dreams by blogging (obviously) and I now see myself as becoming an author. My dream, scratch that–goal, is to write a book that will help others and then stand in front of a room full of people to talk about it. Also, in my dream, I see myself sitting at one of those “Meet the Author” events signing my new book and seeing a long line out the door. Hey, it could happen.
There are a few areas in the grid where I’ve shorted myself, but I’m glad to be doing this exercise so I can get back on track. Speaking of exercise, I need to lose weight and then maintain it. This is a consistent goal which appears on year 1, 5 and 10 on my life/work balance grid and yet, I haven’t been taking it seriously enough. Losing weight has been a struggle for me. It seems ridiculous too because I only need to lose about 25lbs to be at a healthy weight. But, it is so hard! I know it will only be harder as I age so I need to really take charge of this area of my life. I mentioned that I enjoy hiking—which I completely forgot that I wrote down 4 years ago. And then a lightbulb went off in my head. Hiking is exercise, right? I’ll be checking this goal off my list next year.
Recently, a friend reminded me that we are about to embark on the beginning of the best part of our lives. We’ve put ourselves through school, our kids are either headed to college or will be in the next few years, our professional paths have made us financially secure (knock on wood). Pretty soon, we will have more time, as Oprah would say, to live our best lives.
So, what exactly does that look like? It’s a good thing I have a list.