letting go of my 30 before 30 list

I copied the internet. I made a 30 before 30 list.

And, boy, did I cross things off that list. I did 30 for-real push-ups in a row, bound a photo book for my baby, wrote a love song for my husband, and was well on my way to planning a scuba-diving trip and learning a nerdy amount of Latin verbs.

But last month—I threw out the list.

I'll tell you why. I read an article that I've thought about probably every day for a month now. I let myself imagine: What would life look like if I nixed my list and went with just ONE goal? What would that goal be?

Easy. Number One on my 30 before 30 list.

It's always been at the top of the list. But #7 seemed easier to measure and #15 was more fun. And all the rest were awesome projects and plans, but they took enough time that Number One was not gonna get done.

So the list is gone. I tore it out of the front of my planner where I've checked in pretty consistently over the last several months. And I replaced it with a note to myself:
And I'm not saying here what it is until it's finished. But you can guess...
Everything beyond Goal #1 is fluid. That doesn't mean I'm being lazy. I'm actually accomplishing more than I was before—and feeling more peace when I pursue something that's not on my  list.

Because there is no list.

I'm not saying everyone should get rid of their bucket list. Or goals. I'm not saying this is the best idea for everyone, all the time. After all, some of the 30 before 30 lists I've seen out there seriously kick butt. And my friends' lists impress and delight me.

I'm just saying that I'm happier. And feeling a little more free these days.

I'm also saying that this article is worth a read. If you don't read the whole list, make sure you read numbers 1 and 3. Life-changers. No, seriously—stop procrastinating and go read them.

7 comments:

Adrienne said...

Love the article. I find it interesting that learning to simplify is a challenge for me. But a good challenge. Can't wait for you to accomplish goal #1.

eden said...

i love how you have three links in your post that go to the same article. yep. i clicked on them all. (: i got a clue after clicking on the second one, but had to click on the third just to make sure.

i really liked what he had to say, but disagree a bit with the last one. sometimes you have to work on things you don't love. like my thesis. sure it was interesting in the beginning and maybe even 'fun' when running results, etc., but now i'm not as fond of it as i once was. but i still have to work on it...

thanks for sharing it. i'm going to have to keep it in a tab for a while so i can look back on it and remind myself of some of the things he says.

emilia. said...

I'm so happy you posted this. I hate the 30 by 30 lists. It makes me feel like my life isn't worth living unless i'm doing something obviously amazing. so thank you. good luck with goal #1.

Nick West said...

Next time I see you, you better let me in on that number on goal. (I wonder if it's similar to mine?)

I hadn't realized it, but I've been doing this for a while myself. It is quite freeing. Having an existential laundry list can shackle your spirit and creativity. It works for some people, but apparently you (like me) have a bit of hippy in that soul.

kathy w. said...

Adrienne, thanks!

Eden, I totally agree. Some things (like cleaning my house) aren't things I like to do, but they need doing anyway. I'm just trying to beat myself up a little less that my house isn't clean as often as it should be, and enjoying the results when it is. Good luck on your thesis. It's going to be awesome.

emilia, you ARE obviously amazing.

Nick, here's to hippies.

janel said...

Very interesting article, especially for someone else who is about to turn 30! Happy birthday to both of us! And happy one year anniversary to your tupperware in our closet! Can I mail it to you? Leave it with my sister? Visit your new place?

kathy w. said...

You are amazing, janel! I think we've lost almost every other piece of that tupperware set.

We'd love you to drop by if you're ever around. Are you in Provo much?