Every year, on my birthday, I make a life list for the year to come. It turns out that this is my fifth year doing this; I also made lists when I was 26, 25, 24 and 23. I love lists. And I find that making this list is one of the best ways to live intentionally (in making the list), cultivate gratitude (in looking back on the list a year later), and delight in the small things.
Some of the big things carry over from year to year, and some of the small things don’t get done and end up on the next year’s list. But what always amazes me is the power of intentionality. I don’t have to post this list above my desk where I’ll see it every day for these things to take root in my heart; it just happens. It’s beautiful. I recommend it to everyone.
A few highlights from last year
It’s hard to even know where to begin. I wanted to try six new Portland restaurants; including food carts and coffee shops, I patronized almost 30 new establishments in 2011. I wanted to discover a new camping spot; we camped in three new spots this year. I left the country not once but twice; threw a surprise birthday party for Josh’s 30th; took classes in floral arranging, letterpress printing and Italian wine; ate jicama and fennel; achieved a fitness goal; painted pottery; and created a new space, here, to be deliberately and specifically thankful every day.
This year, I want to…
- surrender. Surrender is my one little word for 2012. (In 2011, my word was rest. More about this later.) Surrender my pride and find humility. Surrender my striving and perfectionism because only God can give me beauty for ashes. Surrender — and come messy. Surrender — and trust. Surrender — and choose joy.
- take at least one four-day weekend every month
- read all 27 books of the New Testament
- grow out my nails
- do less*
- take (another) wine class — preferably about a wine region I don’t know much about, like France or Spain
- give generously, of both time and money
- write at least two letters/cards/emails of encouragement every month
- bake 12 new kinds of cookies and deliver them to my neighbors
- be a woman of prayer
- keep one evening open every week**
- set and reach a fitness goal. Possibly the Blue Lake Triathlon, possibly using this plan.
- visit a national park I’ve never been to before
- write five chapters of my novel
- open a new investment account
- become a better photographer
- put more resources toward travel and shared experiences
- organize another pinterest party
- read 32 books, including at least: ten books from my existing collection, five classics and three works of non-fiction. I just read that, apparently, you have to read 52 books a year to be an avid reader. I beg to differ. Quality over quantity.
- learn to play at least three songs competently on the guitar**
- try 10 new Portland restaurants
- be more flexible*
- love people exactly where they’re at
- watch 15 movies from our Netflix queue
- live open, create space, look for opportunities to bless random people in my path
- eat a vegetable and/or fruit I’ve never had before. I did this both of the last two years and it’s definitely worth repeating.
- be fearless
* Carried over from last year’s list because it’s a work in progress.
** Carried over from last year because, well, it didn’t get done.
What about you?
What’s on your list for 2012?