Lacking a Life List

2010 October 19
by Grace Boyle

I consider myself to be motivated, goal-oriented and driven.

It’s less about trying and more about my moral fiber – it’s just who I really am. For example, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from college, but I don’t quite remember ‘slaving’ away or struggling in college to obtain it. There are certain things that come naturally to some people.

{Photo Credit}

Many friends and fellow bloggers have life lists. They post them on their blog to hold themselves accountable and share. It’s brilliant, really. I feel invested (even if they aren’t my friends) to understand what they’ve accomplished, what they’re struggling with and when they can officially check one off the list.

I don’t have a life (bucket) list.

I’m all motivated, I push myself everyday, I do a lot (usually too much), and I have a vision (many actually) – but I don’t have an official list – not even on a scrap of paper, not in one of my many journals, not here on my blog. I started thinking about this and wondered if I should have one and even further, why don’t I have one?

Without that outline, or reaching for the stars, does that mean I don’t?

I’m a Pisces. My path wanders, my head is in the clouds and structure or planning don’t really align with me. I started thinking, is this because my life list may change so drastically day-to-day? Not to mention, my visions and goals sit nicely in my head. I’m acutely aware when I say, “I can’t believe I’m finally here, I’ve always waited for this, or “I finally made it to X city!” I make things happen, but there’s no formality to it.

Doni states on her life list:

This list will surely evolve, growing and changing as I move forward.  And that’s fine.  (It took me awhile to realize that this list was not static, not concrete, but dynamic and energetic (just like me!).

Fair enough. Grace, this is your life list. You can make it whatever the hell you want. There are no rules, silly!

Wait, what if I do not accomplish one of them? That, makes me ashamed to even think about. It might be a little bit of fear.

Then again, I’ve been a proponent of lists (I make them everyday) and my mother taught me to write my Blue Sky List: all the things you wish to obtain (reach for the sky, hence the name). The intention of thought and putting it down and stating what I want from ALL of life is real and something I deeply believe in.

Fast forward from starting this post, to ending it right about now…

…I NOW have a life (bucket) list

I might add it to the blog soon. Now it’s a growing, changing list on Google Docs. Let me know what you think. Hint: check this out and Jenny Blake’s Life List Template for inspiration. I also printed this out and look at it each day. It gets me excited when I have something to add or check off.

And while you’re at it, do you have a life list? If so, share! If not, why not?

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  • Shenee Howard

    I’m all over the place and I can’t ever sit down and make the decisions either so life lists are so difficult for me! : ) I can’t seem so sit one and just write. Maybe I will try.

  • Sara Rosso

    Very cool! I just gave a presentation on Life Lists to my colleagues – I was surprised how many of them don’t have one. I haven’t posted mine publicly, but I talk about it here:

  • Anonymous

    I have yet to create one partially because I worry that I’ll feel too much pressure to check everything off the list. Though it couldn’t hurt to jot down some ideas without forming an actual list… maybe it’s psychological :)

  • shutterbugcel

    I have been quietly working on mine for a few days in my journal. I am so inspired by everyone sharing theirs that I most likely will do the same. I think it is great not to have a set of rules about the list and allow it to be fluid and change with time. My husband was also inspired by it and wants to do his own as well.

  • David

    I like the concept of a forever evolving, growing and changing life list. Because that’s the thing about lists – sometimes I don’t like to make lists because they feel too concrete. And if something on that list no longer suits me, I feel like I have to force myself to obey it because IT IS ON THE LIST! AKA, it’s concrete, or at least written in permanent ink.

    My life list, as with me in general, is a constant work in progress. As of right now, my life list looks like this…

    1. Make a life list.

    PS (Just my opinion, but I think you should add a little “Life List” tab to your blog and add your list there – more easily accessible.)

  • Doniree

    I love my list, but my favorite part about it is that whole dynamic part. I have completely replaced some items that I’ve either lost interest in or have become less of a priority and replaced them with things that are important to me now. I’m ok with that – it’s my list, after all :) Excited to check out yours!

  • stacy

    I have a bucket list. It has many things such as:

    travel the world

    marry my boyfriend

    finish losing weight

    become a group fitness trainer and/or personal trainer

    do lots of cool things.


  • Marian Schembari

    No life list. I don’t want to think of my life as as another giant list that needs “tackling”. I just want to live it, ya know? I want to be spontaneous. I made a life list once and it just included stuff I thought I should do – like tap dance and swim with dolphins and learn a new language. But I probably won’t get to that stuff and I’ll just end up feeling like a failure. So I gave it up. And sometimes I accomplish cool stuff and have new adventures and sometimes I don’t. And that’s okay!

  • Akhila

    I absolutely love your life list! I love reading other people’s life lists because I think it reveals and reflects a lot about who they are as a person.

    However I don’t have a life list either. I love Marian’s comment below – and I agree. I think having a life list would scare me, overwhelm me, and pressure me. It would make me feel like I am constantly not matching up– to my own hopes or ideals. Would make me feel like a failure too.

    Instead I do “yearly” goals every new year. Sort of like a new years resolution. But most of them are concrete ideas I can actually work towards. And I actually accomplish many of them. I can’t think about my entire life- just thinking about the next year (or 5 years for that matter) is enough for now, I think :)

  • Harriet May

    This is so funny, because I just added a life list to my blog yesterday. Good luck to you in your journey to checking off everything on that list and having an amazingly fun and full life! (I know that you already have that, but a life list is pretty cool anyway.)

    Here’s to having a life list!

  • Grace Boyle

    Shenee, I know I am all over the place too. I have never written a life list and I just felt like it was time. Maybe just start with five things…start small :)

  • Grace Boyle

    Sara, wow, I would love to hear your presentation and thanks for linking to the great post about life lists. Ironically, doing research on life lists (and other friends that already had them) really helped me organize and get inspired. Yours is a great example, thanks for popping by :)

  • Grace Boyle

    But why is having pressure to do amazing things bad? 😉

    Because that is largely how I felt. Now, I realized it drives me and makes me excited. It is also pretty epic because as soon as I posted this I had friends, colleagues and even professional contacts reach out to HELP me accomplish these life list items. I was floored. Just putting it out there can really do a lot.

  • Grace Boyle

    It’s a great idea. And you know, it doesn’t have to be public. I post mine because it’s great fodder for conversation (e.g. here we are!) and it holds me accountable but it’s just as useful to write your own and keep it private. Very inspiring and good luck with yours!

  • Grace Boyle

    David, I agree with you. I need to post it to my blog. I wasn’t sure if I wanted it always there…but this post has gotten such a great response and as soon as I posted this I had friends, colleagues and even professional contacts reach out to HELP me accomplish these life list items. I was floored. Just putting it out there can really do a lot.

  • Grace Boyle

    Doniree, your list is beautiful and I’ve always loved it. I’m such a list person but have never done this. As I said to a few others here, as soon as I posted this I had friends, colleagues and even professional contacts reach out to HELP me accomplish these life list items. I was floored. Just putting it out there can really do a lot.

  • Grace Boyle

    Stacy, love the list! Especially “do lots of cool things” :)

  • Grace Boyle

    Marian, for the longest time I was on your page about life lists. I feel the same way and personality wise, am mostly the same as I mentioned in the post.

    But sitting in my living room on Sunday I started thinking of the things that sometimes fell to the side b/c of the small, mundane stuff that gets in the way and then I realized how happy it made me to compile the amazing things I want to do.

    Finally, what floored me the most was that as soon as I posted this I had friends, colleagues and even professional contacts reach out to HELP me accomplish these life list items. I was floored. Just putting it out there can really do a lot.

  • Grace Boyle

    Akhila, thanks for the tweet and support. Glad to hear you like it :)

    Yearly goals are very manageable good for you. I have written new years resolutions and actually, this time last year I found a list of things I wanted to move on from, accomplish and DO and 9 out of the 10 I HAD DONE! It was amazing.

    In the same way, writing some sort of goals to accomplish hold you accountable and let you know you’ve done it.

  • Grace Boyle

    Harriet that is awesome! Great minds think alike :)

    Good luck to you. I’ve already had friends come up to me and want to help me accomplish the list and even a professional contact reached out to help out one of the career-related ones.

  • David

    Am I allowed to comment twice in the same post? Are you nodding your head yes? I hope so because I’m about to do it.

    So I confess. I didn’t read your life list all that closely when you published it, but curiosity happened to get the best of me and I took a cloeser look. And I have to say…

    How is it that you never baked a pie before? I find that hard to believe because you’re like a kitchen wizard! Also, I could teach you how to tango and teach you HTML. But it’s CSS that’s more useful to know these days. Ok, I’m done talking nerdy to you now. :)

  • Kristin

    Awesome list Grace! I like the idea that any list will change and grow with you over time. Just because you wrote it down once doesn’t mean you cannot edit over time!! good luck accomplishing all your goals!!

  • Grace Boyle

    Thanks Kristin! It’s definitely a work in progress as we all are :) Thanks for popping by.

  • Grace Boyle

    You are allowed.

    I am not a baker. I can cook anything and love appetizers, entrees and of course drinks, but I do not bake. Not to mention, now that we’re at altitude that’s a whole new mode of baking. So besides the basic cookie, no pie. I gotta do it!

    Also, that shows how much I know I say HTML versus CSS. I don’t know the difference, but I talk about it all the time at work. I need to know CSS then. Okay, good. Glad we got that cleared up :)

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  • Leia Ferrari

    Props to you for taking the leap and making a life list! I wanted to reach out and say that if you make it to Madison by or before next summer, let me know! I live in a co-op with great people, food and a pretty good location, so you’re definitely welcome here :)

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  • Grace Boyle

    @Leia Thank you! Are you moving next summer from Madison?

    I would definitely love to get in touch if I make my way out there! Thanks again for your support : )

  • Leia Ferrari

    I’ll be graduating from UW in May and moving on to the next adventure pretty soon after that :) But I’d consider most people here pretty welcoming, so if I’m gone I can always put you in touch with friends. Good luck with your list!