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I have a 30% success rate of completing everything on my life list. Since I started the list back in 2020 (a year that felt like a lifetime), I’ve accomplished items bit by trip.
When I started, I hitchhiked to nowhere with all the daily calamities. I did what I could do, which was stay home and worry about life as I knew it.
When things started to scale back to somewhat normal, I slowly moved towards my life list like how I move toward scalding coffee and sunlight, cautiously to see if anyone else was doing the same.
I started with easy things that didn’t need a plane ticket or luggage, like spending a day in silence or writing a manifesto.
Then, after brushing aside the free items, I had to look at things I wanted to do, and that was local where passports and vaccinations weren’t required.
I picked easy things, rinsed and repeated from the free adventures, that I could accomplish near family and friends, so if I needed to retreat and lick my ego’s wounds, I could.
Since the effort and cost were minimal, I could accomplish an impressive 4 to 5 items annually. This year, I’m on track for 3. Less than prior years, but it does include a trip to Iceland which cost more than all the other 9 items I’ve accomplished!
I have 25 items to go and only 1 has been a permanent cancellation.
The bit I’ve accomplished is by being a doer more than a dreamer.
I dreamed and then I did.
Just like a skyscraper, a space flight, and inviting the family over for the holidays, they all require planning.
For my dreams, the only person I employed for planning that had a degree was me. I’m not a professional planner, but the price was right.
As a super saver, DIY is my default.
Years ago, I had a bit of a midlife crisis. I had figured out adulting stuff like a career, a debt-free life on a pint-sized salary, and the value of having an all-wheel driver over ending up in a ditch with front-wheel drive.
One area I was deficient: adventure. College and Navy provided inherit adventure. Since converting to the standard 8 to 5, I hadn’t felt the anxiety build for an adventure since I accepted my old lady feet demanded arch support.
I released the anxiety, by crafting the ultimate list. A life list. A list of things to do in a lifetime.
With the help of bountiful search engines, I found plenty of things to add.
Since then, I haven’t added. I’ve focused on accomplishing instead.
Life isn’t fixed, but to keep things simple, my dreams are.
I added a completion date to ensure that I’d keep working on items annually instead of banking on doing it all in retirement.
Easy is small, cute, and helpful.
I had to start easy. When I thought about going for big stuff like a trip around the world, just calculating the cost and time off was enough to make me reel with anxiety.
Instead, I looked for easy. Call it lazy or smart, just I needed to start.
I did the things that didn’t require much effort outside of time and a few moments of research. At least with that, if I didn’t accomplish anything, I had something to show for my idle time.
Then, I moved into things that required more research and money, but not much more.
Small skills started and began to build gradually like how a learner’s permit turns into a driver’s license and tailgating grandma on her way to the grocery store.
Small actions that build into big results.
Just like bad breaks when driving downhill, setbacks happen.
Most adventures went along smoothly as hot butter on a biscuit. Some setbacks caused shifting from rescheduled events *cough* Tough Mudder and Color Run *cough* to events being crushingly canceled, like sailing with the Maiden.
I stewed for a moment or twelve and then shifted that energy elsewhere. Sometimes shifting flights and dates, other times exchanging expectations.
I’m limited in what I can do. If it’s no longer something to be done, I need to move on, one way or another, preferably sooner rather than later.
Doing leads to more doing.
When I accomplish the hardest task, everything else seems to be easier.
Mark Twain is credited with the, eat the toad advice. In less toad-eating terms, do the worst first.
When I accomplish the one task that is heaviest on my brain, or heart, I get a punch of endorphins that carry me throughout the day, infusing momentum along the way.
Doing is like bunnies. Bunnies make more bunnies and turn into an army that rules the lawns of suburbia.
Be a doer more than a dreamer because success is action, not abstraction.
This year, I’m slated to accomplish 3 life list events, not the 4 or 5 of prior years. These events require more planning and pay, though they linger in the moderate realm, I’m stretching my research skills and comfort zone.
If I want to be a doer and get my life list done, I have to start stretching for the harder items, bit by trip.