Happy 2013 my dear readers.
As with every new year, it is a time to once again dust off the lock box and pull out that dreaded LIST OF THINGS TO DO. brrr.
One common defining aspect of such lists is that they are long. This may be the reason then that most lists never get accomplished and gets back in the lock box no later than 23rd January.
List-making even has its own nomenclature. There are bucket lists, life lists, life goals, things to do before I die, inspirations, perspirations, wish list, registry list and the bloody granddaddy of list of lists – Pinterest!
(I came back to writing this post after completing the above sentences 3 days later! I was sorting lists on Pinterest!)
I gave up on annual beginning-of-the-year lists years ago. I kicked that darn bucket off the cliff and let it tumble-down till it crashed against the rocks. Done! That was a relief. Then that pesky Parks Canada ranger hit me with a ticket for littering! Before I could breathe a sigh of relief, my list was re-forming. I guess if you can’t fight ’em, then join ’em.
So this year I chose to make one more list again. But my list has only 3 items. That is correct, folks. T-H-R-E-E! What name do you give this list? Ummm…the tupperware list, perhaps?
Why just three? Well, I am de-cluttering my life. After pursuing acquisitions for a good quarter of my life on earth, I realized that our modern society is built on excessive consumption that only promulgates our constant need for new challenges and new highs to keep us sane. I think that is total BS! So for the past few years, I started to throw out stuff I absolutely do not need and abstain from creating new wants and things to do in my life. Call it a Zen like moment where you realize that the only way to free your soul is to end desire and the only way to end desire is not by fulfilling every possible desire (which is impossible) but instead by ridding oneself of desire.
To be clear, I am not on some path of monk-hood. In fact I very much have lots of desires. But I have deliberately chosen to not quantify it on some written list. I am not interested in ‘The Secret’ laws of attraction. (BTW, I think ‘that’ is also a lot of BS. The only thing ‘that’ has been able to attract is lots of money for the publishers).
Instead, I choose to let nature just nurture. Que Sera, Sera whatever will be will be. I mean there are some things in life that you just cannot quantify in to a list. There are career goals, personal and life goals, spiritual goals, financial goals. I am not against having goals. It is the relentless pursuit of random things to accomplish in life that I am concerned about.
So I asked myself one simple but very tough question:
If I found out that I am going to die tomorrow, what 3 things that I did not do in this life will I regret?
Why three you ask? It just seemed like a decent enough number to ask about.
So I thought long and hard about this question. I realized after some deliberation that most of the things I was trying to achieve in life were always new things and experiences based on contemporary views discovered through my hearings, readings and viewings online, tv, magazine, friends etc.
Then I looked back to my childhood and adolescent days to carry out further introspection. I realized that the things you desire as a child are pure intentions that are subconsciously selected and aligned with your inner passion and core values. As adults, we tend to overlook or forget these childhood desires. I realized that I was carrying a deep guilt within. A guilt of certain unfinished tasks from childhood.
These 3 unfinished tasks are:
- Learning to play the Saxophone
Speakfluent Spanish(see note2 below)
- Speak and write Japanese
I have undertaken each of these tasks at some point in my early adult life but never pursued it with the deep intent or passion that I had for it due to various extenuating circumstances.
I have many other experiences in life that I pursued to greater extent but they were done out of necessity or opportunity. For example, I took up scuba lessons to prepare for a dive in the Caribbean and the course was being offered at discount through Groupon. I invested time and money in this attempt. But you know what? If I were to die tomorrow, and it hampered my diving plans, it wouldn’t exactly kill me (excuse the pun).
But I will have deep regrets if I were unable to complete tasks 1, 2 & 3 above. Yes, I have decided to have a small list of things to do in life. However, these small things mean a lot to me. So if I can dedicate my life to nurturing these three passions, then I can depart in peace.
It is the ability to distinguish between random life experiences and those few ones that are aligned with your inner child that makes us live the greater life. Is that not what those who hold places of great societal success and power do? From athletes to business titans to Grammy winning artists; all share the common trait of honing their core skills and talent which require doing a few things right all the time.
In summary, it is the paradox of multitude of choices that we face today that detracts us from our core strengths and deep passions. Perhaps, everything we ever need for personal satisfaction and fulfillment in this one life can all just fit in a Tupperware. Perhaps, all we have to do is just STOP looking for more.
How many life lists do YOU need to be content, dear reader?
Note2: The famous language learning company, Simon & Schuster’s Pimsleur, sent me an Intro to Spanish audio cd Level 1, which I am using to develop my basic skills. Not fluent but its off to a good start.
- larkycanuck.com | Travel Adventures | Italy | Architectural Beauty of Fiorenza (Florence) (larkycanuck.com)
- larkycanuck.com | Travel Adventures | Italy | When in Rome do as I do! (larkycanuck.com)
- Jan. 5: A Less Cluttered Life (loristillman.wordpress.com)
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