“It’s called a Bucket List because –” I said recently to Daughter, just after her ninth birthday and at the start of our new year.
“Actually, Mom,” she interjected right away, “I just read about a famous author who calls it a Life list, which I think is better, because then it doesn’t seem sad. A bucket list seems sad, don’t you think? But a life list sounds happier.”
As often happens with Baby Girl, I’m struck by how observant she is. And how someone so young and innocent, just beginning to collect life experiences, has so much wisdom.
I do completely agree with Daughter and her author. Be it a bucket list or a life list, something about this concept feels full of pressure, and fraught with potential for not accomplishing all one had hoped in life. The procrastinator in me can picture myself at 80, frantically trying to check off all the things I thought my 40-year-old self wanted to do. Perhaps that’s why my long-term wish list is relatively small. Live in Italy for a bit. Visit Greece, Egypt and Israel. But mostly, watch my kids grow into joyful adults, and celebrate with them all the milestones along the way.
This same rationale keeps me from making New Year’s resolutions anymore, as I really don’t want the additional, self-inflicted pressure. But the possibilities a new year offers is motivating and inspiring, and perhaps that’s why this recent post featured on Freshly Pressed spoke to me. “This year, instead of making a list of resolutions,” writes Lily on her Such Small Hands blog, “instead of thinking of all the ways I failed in the last year or all the things I want to do better, instead of making 2015 a giant to-do list, I’ve decided to join the many people I know who choose One Word. The idea of One Word is to get rid of your list and to choose just one word to focus on for a whole year.”
It started me thinking about finding one word for myself this year, and how having that word ever-present in all I did for the coming year could be a powerful inspiration.
But with so many areas of personal growth, which one word might be the most encompassing, encouraging and appropriate? Could I possibly find one word to remind me to live each day with purpose and intention for the entirety of 2015? Perhaps the one word selected at the beginning of a new year, with all its joys/challenges/frustrations/fears/excitements still yet to be revealed, may not actually be fitting or comforting the whole year through.
“Every year is a little life,” Lily quoted one of her readers’ comments, “with birth, death, family, love, travel, new things, familiar things, difficulties and good friends all swirling through it.” Which cuts to the heart of the issue: the different seasons in life experienced over the course of an entire year require their own word.
As happens in early January, I start cleaning out drawers and closets, mostly to avoid the more obvious need of packing up all the Christmas trimmings. In rifling through my catch-all drawer in the kitchen, I came across a list I had made this time last year. It was a list of words, which I had titled “Life Principles” (inspired by Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance). Rather than define who I already was, these qualities were reminders of who I hoped to exemplify. The plan was to pick one word each month and let it infuse my daily actions, then blog about it/invite you all to join me. That plan was quickly forgotten as the list became buried under coupons, reminders and clipped box tops in the drawer. However, like finding one last present tucked way behind the Christmas tree, this little list was waiting for me, to unwrap and enjoy; to celebrate the start of the new year.
Looks like I had my word(s) with me all along. Here they are, in no particular order, with their Italian translation:
- Joy gioia
- Vitality vitalita`
- Humor umorismo
- Gratitude gratitudine
- Harmony/order armonia/ordine
- Simplicity semplicita`
- Kindness gentilezza
- Intelligence intelligenza
- Spirituality spiritualita`
- Health salute
However you mark the beginning of a new year, through a bucket list, a life list, setting new goals or finding your word, I hope you find joy, blessings and inspirations every day, perhaps in the extraordinary, but more importantly, in the ordinary.
This post first appeared on Prayers and Piazzas.