Writing Out Your Very Own Personal “To-Do” List.

Posted: February 18th, 2010 | 19 Comments »

This is the first year of the rest of my life. Or so I keep telling myself. For the last couple of years I have been in a constant state of flux – 2 major moves to different states, cancer, a brush with leukemia, a divorce, and the death of a cat I have had since college. In all ways, I am pretty much starting over. And while it has been very difficult at times, I am doing my best to try to try to make the best of it. One of the things I am doing is creating my own personal “To-Do” list of things I want to do in/with/for my life. As my post the other day said – “Live How YOU Want To Or How THEY Want You To – Your Choice.”

I am choosing to live how I want from here on out, with minimum distraction from the naysayers and doubters.

When I sat down to start making my list, I thought back to when I was a teenager. I tried to remember some of the dreams and desires I had 20 years ago, which I wanted to do “when I was a grown up”. I thought back to my 20’s, after graduating college, and tried to imagine what my rebellious 25 year old self would be telling my now 37 year old self about his choices and/or decisions in life. I thought about this past year and about all the things I have thought I wanted to get done before I am 40. And I started writing. Some are easy, almost “New Years Resolution” types, while others require long-term planning. Anything I could remember that I had wanted to do or accomplish in my life went down on this preliminary list. After a while, it was pretty long – and full of some good and VERY bad ideas. Some items I have known all along and some I had completely forgotten about. Once I went through and crossed out the stupid stuff that I knew I would never, ever do even if I wanted to, I was left with a pretty decent To-Do life list.

And just last week, I crossed the first one on the list off by getting my first tattoo.

So what else is on the list? Well, I will tell you a few of the things but most of them are going to remain private for me and myself alone.

– Learn to correctly ride a motorcycle by taking safety classes, get my motorcycle license, and buy a Ducati.

– Get rid of most of the books in my bookcase (only a few left. I added another 30 to my list the other day)

– Look into selling my Subaru and getting something smaller and more fuel-efficient – or nothing at all.

– However, while doing that, I have always wanted a muscle car. So, will contemplate that as well

– Start an actual exercise routine and stick to it

– Go back and finish the book I started writing a few years ago

– Get back on a skateboard again. Of course, if I look like an ass, please let me know. icon wink Writing Out Your Very Own Personal To Do List.

– Move to a smaller, simpler apartment in a more walkable neighborhood

– Spend more than a few weeks living in Europe

– Not care, at all, what others think of me. No more judgment will get under my skin

This is it – your one and only shot at your life. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. And I don’t want to be one of those people who at 70 years old looks back and says “Why didn’t I…. ?” Your time is now, so if there is something you want to do or someone you want to be, now is the time to start doing on it. Tomorrow may never come, so make the most of today and live your own life how you want it to be.

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19 Comments on “Writing Out Your Very Own Personal “To-Do” List.”

  1. 1 Michael Warth said at 9:50 am on February 18th, 2010:

    Thank you for sharing this!! I am amazed at how many “clues” or “signs” I have come across over the past few days that remind me (also 37) that I have taken 20 years of success chasing, and clutter grabbing, to realize life is too short and happiness is what is truly important to me. I have come to realize “Success” in and of itself is a useless and meaningless goal. I am starting my “To-Do/Bucket List” today. Today, I am making plans and living the life of the “who I want to be” – thank-you again for such a timely post!


  2. 2 Greg said at 10:11 am on February 18th, 2010:

    Great reminder post. I am at that mid-life stage…in a job I no longer appreciate or like, so I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately. I really just need to sit down and do some long term planning.

    One tip, with the whole skateboard thing…remember it takes a lot LONGER to heal at 37 than it did at 20! ;-)

  3. 3 Marci357 said at 10:41 am on February 18th, 2010:

    Skateboard… who cares what you look like – if you enjoy it, DO it :)

    At 55 now, and in my remodeled 1000 sq ft “all about me” home, I am downsizing from 3000 sq ft, and if it doesn’t fit in the house, it HAS to go…. so all that “stuff” I have been saving for the kids and grandkids… I am passing it all along NOW as I run across it… They can save it or toss it, as they please, but I am no longer going to be the “stuff keeper” as the kids all have their own homes at this point.

    Slow process, but getting it done one box a week or so.

    Enjoy your list. Think about YOUR priorities – and ENJOY life!

  4. 4 marci357 said at 10:42 am on February 18th, 2010:

    About the Subaru…. you might want to wait thru the first winter and see how handy that All-wheel-drive comes in during your winter weather there :)

  5. 5 Chandra said at 11:03 am on February 18th, 2010:

    Very good point… I am going to be 25 this year and the only thing I’ve managed to do is (finally) go to college. But you are absolutely right, life is going to fly by me if I don’t grab it and do what I WANT with it. I’ve always been bad about procrastinating; I need to make this the year that I change that. I want to LIVE my life, so thanks for reminding me. ^-^

  6. 6 Kelli said at 11:14 am on February 18th, 2010:

    Great post. I so agree we all need to live our lives for ourselves.

    Though is anyone else curious what the tattoo looks like? Do share.

    And enjoy that skateboard!

  7. 7 Erin S said at 11:48 am on February 18th, 2010:

    I am with Marci357 on the Subaru. We get our snow in March, April and May here in Colorado.

    So good to sit down and evaluate what we want. Life can become too full of work and issues and clutter to stay focused on the main thing (or things).

    Capture some middle age skateboard action.

  8. 8 Adrianne said at 12:13 pm on February 18th, 2010:

    Great post! My husband and I have our own life to-do lists, and a joint one. Everything you do fills with great depth and steeps with meaning when it is a part of a list of “things I’ve always wanted to do.” We plan to move from the Chicago area in a few months, so we’ve also created a list of things to do here. I think it would be a tragedy to say I’ve lived here, and not done some key things. I guess, in a way, it would be a tragedy to say I’ve lived but never got what I wanted from life because I wasn’t brave enough to do it.

  9. 9 David said at 2:02 pm on February 18th, 2010:

    I wont need my Subaru in California, though. :)

  10. 10 Milo said at 3:06 pm on February 18th, 2010:

    Mad props! Good luck!

  11. 11 Luke @ simplifi.de said at 6:21 pm on February 18th, 2010:

    My wife and I spent a recent Saturday morning at our local coffee shop talking about stuff like this. One of the most enjoyable conversations we’ve had – it’s so much fun to dream together.

    Congrats on getting the first one out of the way – I’m with Kelli… let’s see the design!

  12. 12 Pawel @ Minimalist Business said at 4:20 am on February 19th, 2010:

    One of the most fascinating things about bucket lists (as some people call them) is the fact how little disappointed you are when you realize the item on your todo list and it turns out it’s not exactly what you wanted.

    If it happened to you with an everyday (small) dream, goal or task you’d be really down. When it happens to the big stuff you dreamed for years, you just shake it off and move on.

    Since childhood I wanted to be a musician, live off playing and so on. And I did that. Only to realize it’s not as fun as I thought it would be.

    It turned out to be a hard profession, being away from home for longer periods of time. Having a family (which is also what I wanted) would be difficult that way and so on. So, even though it was my lifelong dream I walked away.

    I had no problem with that.

    On the other hand, I didn’t win on the auction for a G3 clamshell ibook last week (yes, I want one. Don’t laugh!). I was so disappointed.

    Even though I can bid on other auctions….

  13. 13 Allison said at 8:12 am on February 19th, 2010:

    I’m with Pawel about the whole “expectations can be crushing thing.” However, this isn’t what the comment is about. Actually, I just wanted to give a little anecdote about muscle cars.

    In high school I got into a pretty terrible accident and totaled my first (junkmobile) car. Well, at 17 my mom and I decided to make a big purchase and bought my a pretty cute little coupe that I still own today. However, my idea of such a “cool” car at 17 was awesome and the car was everything I wanted it to be. It was cute, a bit speedy, and fit me perfectly (since I’m a small person). I never really drove anyone around back then and I never really had to use my car – it really was just for looks.

    Now, I rarely need my car but I really don’t like my coupe anymore. It’s been five years, but it’s too small to fit my 6’5 boyfriend, and when I moved around constantly things would fit awkwardly or not at all (compared to a sedan, etc.). Now, I’m ready for a more gas-efficient, easy to park small car (like a smart car, etc.) because I do live in the city where there are always about 6 feet of parking space between cars but never that necessary 8…

    Anyways, I think muscle cars are also for “show.” Unless you LOVE driving and plan to really see what the beast can do often, it’s just a large chunk of money for vehicles that are kinda… inefficient. In my city there are a LOT of very wealthy students (from oil countries) whose parents buy them the nicest Corvettes, Mercedes, etc. But in the end, with most roads at 25 MPH, (at top, 35) – those cars are useless here.

    Other practical things are that most muscle cars don’t have passenger space (but maybe you are at the point in your life when you don’t want passengers?), expensive to fix and insure, and many people end up worrying about them so they really just garage them and not take them out.

    But then again! It’s all up to you! (You can see my bias for the small car, but it is your life haha).

  14. 14 Christina said at 2:58 pm on February 19th, 2010:

    Thanks for this, a timely post for me…
    I’m 37 too and have been drifting along a little aimlessly of late. Your post reminded me that I have to stop and reevaluate every while; it allows me to consciously discard what’s not working or worth focussing on so that the worthwhile isn’t sacrificed and pushed into the background.
    Simplifying my surroundings and “head-space” has helped me to chill, focus and ultimately live more.

  15. 15 Ish said at 3:11 pm on February 19th, 2010:

    Hi there!

    I have been somewhat of a lurker for a few weeks on your site. I just wanted to drop a comment to wish you best of luck on your to-do list, and mention that I enjoy reading your posts. I’m 21 myself and have a rather large to-do/bucket list. I hope I’m successful in achieving every single point on that list someday.

  16. 16 Adventure-Some Matthew said at 9:58 am on February 22nd, 2010:

    I love seeing others lists (by whatever name you call it). You can see mine here: http://adventure-some.com/personal/my-life-list/

    I highly recommend the motorcycle safety course, as I quite enjoyed mine. In fact, I’ve been thinking about taking it again, as a reminder.

  17. 17 David said at 10:29 am on February 22nd, 2010:

    Yea, I am definitely going to take it :)

  18. 18 nan said at 2:00 am on June 3rd, 2010:

    I came into the same position a couple years ago when both my daughters went away to school. I had an entire new life ahead of me. I, too, went back to what I was dreaming about BC (before children), and tried to jump back into those things.

    But it didn’t work. Those things were not passions of mine anymore. I had changed with children and age, and what interested me at 35 was old news at 54. I had to start over.

    I am still stumbling my way along, not sure where to go. I did go back to school, though, for Residential Planning, since being an architect was high on my list of loves as a kid. But other than that, it’s all uncharted territory – a little exciting and a little scary, but it’s what is.

  19. 19 Aryn said at 3:37 am on July 5th, 2010:

    I love this post. I love how it’s July & people are still commenting because it’s all true.

    The only things people tend to regret are the ones they haven’t done. I started my list about a month back, some of the things I’ve done already, but there are tons more to do.

    Thank you for your post! (and just remember, for the one about not caring what others think… what people say about you is more a reflection of them than you.)

    This post is inspiring! I hope you wake up today and ride your skateboard all over town!

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