Creating a Life List


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Last year I appeared in a Broadway musical. I was not a major character, but it was a major event. For three years I had had on my Life List “See a Broadway show. " And now there I was, sitting up on stage waiting for my turn as a contestant in a musical spelling bee. I lost after the second round, but I didn't lose at all. I got to check off two items from my Life List-the one about seeing a Broadway show, and also “Do something truly gutsy at least twice a year. "

Creating a Life List gives us vision and direction. We may have a vague notion about what it is we want to do, see, and experience in our lifetimes, but writing those things down is often the first and most important step in accomplishing our dreams.

I separated my List into three categories:

1. Skills I want to learn
2. Places I want to go
3. Experiences I want to have

Because of my Life List, I've backpacked in Iceland, learned to make fire by rubbing two sticks together, completed and sold two novels-the List goes on and on.

And it does go on and on. Because as soon as I can check off one item, I make sure to add another to the List. There is always more to learn, more to try.

So here's my challenge to you: Sit down for an hour tonight, or get up tomorrow and spend some time alone, and ask yourself:

1. What do I still want to learn?
2. If money and time were no object (you need this to dream big), what places on earth would I love to see?
3. What are all the things I can think of right now that I'd love to do during my lifetime, no matter what other people think?

It helps not to organize your thoughts. Just start with a clean page and write, write, write. You can be neat later. You can be practical much, much later. For now, just think and dream. See what it is you actually want out of this life. See who you really are, underneath that rational, grown-up exterior.

And when you think you've listed everything that's on your mind right now, pick one item off the List. Want to learn French? Take the first step. Look on-line at your community college catalog. Scan your library's website for language tapes you can check out. Or even rent a French movie to put yourself in the mood. It doesn't matter how small or large the step is-what matters is taking it at all.

Dreaming is wonderful, writing it down is even better, but it's still up to you to walk forward. Do just one thing every day or at least every week on your own behalf. More things are possible than we know.

Now let's practice finding that out.

Robin Brande is a novelist, award-winning short story author, and public speaker. You can read her blog and join in the discussions at


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