I’ve been reading an amazing book this weekend, Lori Nelson Spielman’s The Life List, in which the main character’s mother dies and in order to receive her inheritance, the daughter must complete the remaining 10 items on a life list she wrote when she was 14.
The daughter has no recollection of this list, having crumpled it up and tossed it in the trash. Her mother fished it out, smoothed the paper and crossed items off the list as her daughter completed them. And at the age of 34, the daughter comes back into contact with this list from her former self, wondering at first why her mother wants her to achieve goals that no longer matter to her.
The thing is, the mother saw that her eager, ambitious daughter lost the core essence of who she was in the ensuing 20 years and knew that focusing on this list will help her get back to who she really is.
A fascinating, great read for sure – and a good question for us all.
What would be on your life list? Your list today, or your list when you were 14?
It’s a good exercise to go through and one that I embarked upon. It’s not always a literal list; and what it does for you is get you back on track with your core self, with the person you want to be and the life you want to live. My guess is that most of us are not actually there yet – and without such a list (or a focus), would we ever get there?
So here’s the list I created this weekend:
1. Visit Africa
2. Open a cafe
3. Live in the mountains
5. Work less, play more
6. Write every day
7. Be a minister
8. Build a tribe
9. Speak to thousands
10. Inspire thousands
11. Travel. A lot.
12. Live in another country
13. Be humble
14. Live a simple life
16. Be in nature every day
17. Hug someone every day
18. Be a best friend
19. Make the world better
20. Appreciate my mother
When I turned 40, I spent the year doing 40 things that would make the world better. I
gave money, volunteered my time, learned not to say no when someone asked for help. It was a stellar, extraordinary year.
Now at 42, I pledge to train my focus on this life list and see where it takes me. I don’t anticipate completing it in the next year, which is the main character’s charge in the book.
But I do challenge each and every one of you to sit down and write your life list if for no other reason than to take a look at whether you life today is the life you truly want to be living – or if deep down inside, there may just be lurking a larger purpose for both you and the world.