Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The List

I have been reading the Happiness Project Blog, and I am excited that it might be possible to learn to be happy. I am at a point in my life where this may well be as good as it gets, and if I am not able to be happy now, there are not going to be any major life changes that will make it any easier.

My striving personality will always get in the way somewhat, as I wrote about previously. But I have accomplished so much of what I wanted in my life, I had better start enjoying it--RIGHT NOW! (Another aspect of my personality--impatience!)

I have a list I wrote when I was sitting alone in a hotel room years ago. I was frustrated with my job, not sure I was in the right career, and not certain what to do with my life. I had been out of college about 5 years, and I was trying to decide what I really wanted.

I have saved this list for the last 15 years, reviewing it occasionally. There are remarkably few edits in all that time, so I've been pretty consistent about what elements I believe make a "good life". Here is the list:

  • Husband
  • Children
  • Family near (crossed out 3 years ago, when we lost the last of our boys' grandparents)
  • Friends near
  • Time to quilt
  • Time to write friends (changed to email, would now add FB)
  • $ to travel
  • Work that challenges me without stress (stress replaced with "going against my values" after a bad stretch at a start-up)
  • Work that ends after 40 hours
  • Good people to work with
Additions made 4 years later:
  • Time for violin, exercise, poetry
  • Time to write (yay, this blog counts!)
This tattered list is what I contemplated when I quit my job 2 years ago. I used it to explain to my boss, my VP, and the HR director the reason why I was leaving even though I didn't have another job lined up. The requirements on it were part of the negotiation with my VP when he asked me to consider staying in another role.

I am truly blessed to say that I have most of the things on this list. Not enough time for every single one of them, but to even mention which ones at this point would be nit-picking. And I am not saying that my life is perfect--not at all. I have my frustrations and our family has some major challenges to overcome. We live in the same economy as everyone else right now, and of course, there is never enough money or time or energy to do or have everything I would like.

Nonetheless, my glass is really 9/10 full--and I am going to learn to celebrate that.


  1. As silly as it sounds at that point in time to make a list, they are the most poignant things to be look back upon.

  2. Celebrating all we're lucky enough to have is one of the things I've learned the hard way more than once. Reminds me of a cautionary refrain I've heard in my head more than once over the last few years--from Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi: "don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone..." Here's to appreciating what's not gone while we've got it!


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