I still have a few more posts to write about our trip to Puerto Rico, but I think I’ll hop off the subject for today, and get a little vulnerable.
A little under six years ago, I was in a real rut when I decided to get radically interested in happiness.
Depression runs in my family. I also had a really crummy childhood/adolescence riddled with cancer, juvenile delinquency and brutal dating violence. Then, there I was, 21 years old, a wife to someone who was not the right person for me, a mother to a small child, a student, and stressed nonstop. Neither biology nor situation was in my favor, and I had enough of it.
A nearby Borders was closing its doors for good, so I stockpiled a few on the subject of positive psychology. I no longer own nor remember the titles of most of them, but all this information is much easier to find on the internet than it was for me at that time-I couldn’t afford an internet connection (I had to submit my homework at a nearby coffee shop!).
I delved right in: happier people played music, so I tried out my old keyboard again. Happy people worked out, so I signed up for a marathon. Happy people are grateful, so on my drive to school every morning, I would go over the things I was thankful for. I painted. I was journaling. I started flossing twice a day.
And then, the paper
After I read The Ultimate Life List Guide. I knew my next step was to write my my bucket list, it had to be lengthy, and it had to be seemingly out of this world. I stumbled upon bucketlist.org, and used other people’s lists as a resource for mine to include of everything that I’d want to do in this life.
I came up with over a hundred things. Some of them, I hadn’t heard of before. After I saw it on someone else’s list and did some research, I thought, “Ooh! I want to do that too!” I’m pretty sure I used a 9 pt font, and there are three columns, but I managed to fit it all on one piece of paper.
Here’s comes the cliche…
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Except it’s a little less mystical than that. If you have a list of what you expectations, it allows you to make clear decisions. It’s a road map: you know your goals and hopes, so when you’re presented with option A or option B in any situation, you have something to look to decide which option better suits you.
This correlates with other aspects of life, too. I’ve passionately advised single friends of mine: write a list of exactly what you want in a mate, and then put yourself out there. Go on dates, and you’ll know right away if that person meets what you want or not. Sheesh, Oprah even says that’s the way to find love. When you have a clear goal, you go from going with the flow or what’s comfortable to getting what you want.
If you’re wondering if I made one of those lists, too
Sho’ did! After my divorce. It wasn’t “100 things, all the way down to the socks,” but it was lengthy. After looking it over, I decided two things weren’t all that important, and put asterisks by them.
Did my now-husband come knocking on my door the following day? No. In fact, I had already known him for a year. It only took one date to know that he was what I had been looking for, and two weeks before I titled my head back and laughed at the sky.
Make your list.