Budget Life List

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I slapped a date on my life list because I want to make sure I actually do everything on that list. The irony is that if I don’t put a date on it, I’ll take a slow meandering route and maybe, just maybe, get everything accomplished.

If I have a date, I am forced to be mindful and intentional with my time and money.

My life list is having an affair without a care with the date: December 31, 2035.

The Dating Value

When I have a rigid timeline, I get more accomplished.

My furlough is one such example. On the days that I have appointments, I’m more efficient with time. I schedule appointments in the afternoon, which forces productivity in the morning. If I want to accomplish the few items on my to-do list, I need to make sure I don’t get sucked into news, emails, or other frivolities that look like social media binging.

I’m making progress in a slow, casual way. It’s not with snap or vigor, probably because I’m furloughed for another three months.

My motivation is like a lazy significant other. It wants to prolong the to-do for as long as possible, to make sure there is plenty to “look busy” with.

It’s equally parts frustrating and tiring.

Making Good Choices

I procrastinate therefore I make a list with a date.

I don’t want my life list to become a slow, plodding experience to end with a draining year of financial overload. Instead, I want this relationship to start slow, build over time, and end with a big expensive trip like a cruise around-the-world.

What a way to celebrate a love of exploration and lists!

It sounds magical, but if I want magic to turn into reality, I need to give future dreams an ultimatum with a date.

Speed Dating

This is my first life list, so I’m still trying to figure things out.

But, when I was a park ranger at Yellowstone (YNP) for a summer, I made a list of expectations with an expiration date.

I wanted to go big.

Or at least, that is what I focused on instead wallowing in homesickness. After a solid week of moping, I decided to make the most of my situation. I said yes to every invitation and decided to do all the Yellowstone things in less than six months. It included the full list of YNP attractions, from horseback riding and whitewater rafting to a boat tour and rodeo. The big finale was hiking 100 miles.

There were tough times like when I had to do activities by myself, and I would have preferred not to. But I committed myself to an expiration date, which strong-armed my emotions into ignoring nagging thoughts of kidnapping.

Harking back to those days, I realize that it was one of the best summers I ever had. Yellowstone is a beautiful gem of a park, even from the safety and comfort of a car. However, the best of Yellowstone isn’t inside found inside a car. It’s found in the breathless moments on a trail, boat, or horse.

That’s the success I’m hoping to channel. A date with my life list is a hopeful guarantee for life that is better than what’s listed.

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