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The Done List

I love, like really love lists and plans. it’s probably the teacher in me, but they give me joy, a sense of control, comfort, and even excitement. I find joy in everything about lists: I love to create them, I love to check off items from them, I even love just looking at them and seeing all the potential and productivity they have to offer.

For now, I want to write about the bucket list. That list we create at the start of a new year or new season, that list which is so much fun to create. The list that notes all the fun things that can be done over the course of a year, or a few months. The list with all the fun possibilities that are in store for us someday soon. I love making these lists and I write them with such care. I make sure to sprinkle them with items that are practical and necessary along with the fun day trips. I never overreach, as that would only lead to disappointment. These lists are most fun to create with your partner, the person you hope to do all the things with. Again and again we have made these lists with such excitement and hope. Again and again these lists unravel as life’s curveballs force us to place our focus, our time, and attention elsewhere.

These lists that once offered so much promise, that I wrote with love and care, that I looked over with excitement and possibility, can also cause much heartache. These lists never seem to reach completion. I have created entire bucket lists, and never completed one item. The joy that was felt when creating the list turns to disappointment, and regret more quickly than I am ever prepared for. I ruminate over these unchecked lists. I know that they were not neglected, they are not unfinished for poor reasons, but because life does not care about my need for control or my lists.

I am vowing to not feel this disappointment and regret anymore. Enough tears have been shed over these pieces of paper. Instead I choose to create done lists at the end of a season, year, vacation, or whenever I need to refocus and remember the joys that are in my life. I choose now to list what I did accomplish. Where did I go? What did I see? What adventures big or small did I have? If I have learned anything from the bucket list, it is that it’s not for me. Life gets too messy, and I cannot bounce back quick enough from the disappointment of an unfinished list. I cannot control what time will allow me to do, but I can control how I choose to look back and evaluate my time. And I choose to use my time to count the things i’ve done.

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