On average, we are exposed to sixteen hundred and twenty five messages a day, 1,625 truths and untruths collecting space in our heads, homes, cities, and online communities, but how do you recognize which messages apply to you and your life? How do we know when we’re listening to the right messages? When we've struck gold. The hope is for an epiphany so we know without a doubt we’re on the path from good to better; mediocre to extraordinary.
[Dear checklist, the status quo says I need to be beautiful, rich, and live behind a white picket fence with 2.5 kids and I need this by the time I’m 30.]
We often treat life like it’s a checklist rather than a journey. Journeys allow for going off the path. Journeys encourage, even praise adventures and delight in the chance to do things in your own way.
[Dear checklist, is there not a subtext to a college degree?]
We get into trouble when we set expectations for change as if they’re mile marks of age instead of transformation. Through the years evolution has challenged my theory of transformation trumps Checklist. The first floppy disk drive was invented in 1967. By the mid-1990s, the plastic magnetic coated floppy was on its way out, only to become a highlight of our history. If Alexander Graham Bell only knew that a man name Steve Jobs would catapult the phone as we knew it, into an iPhenomenon.
[Dear checklist, I want to be extraordinary but a trailblazer’s road cannot be repaved and maybe I’m crazy for attempting to ]
Life can be confusing and frustrating! I’m sure you must have stories to back me up, no? It’s like this: some people love to run because it makes them feel like they can fly and other people would only be caught running if something was chasing them. We see a shiny ring on the internet and want an engagement before we even want the marriage. The temptation to have it all toys with us daily. You get caught up chasing the wrong career, the wrong relationship, the wrong hobbies.
If we’re not careful, not present, we could change the course of our future for the worse. Checklists are supposed to be a good thing! They’re supposed to keep our goals in order and lead to positive results. I think we forget life isn’t an even playing field. Everyone’s life goals or “checklists” are different, they have to be because even though our paths cross each other’s every day, my inner compass and my obstacles are not the same yours…from the get go.
The neglect is even worse, you neglect to acknowledge your goals; you talk yourselves down from believing you deserve your dreams. We often convince ourselves the pressure is so great that we can’t even achieve our goals, dreams, or any of it. So we hide behind our distractions; food, cellphone screens, snooze button. We watch shows and absorb into our favorite characters’ because we actually believe in their stories. We believe the characters and the plot will move forward. Knowing how to progress in our own lives seems entirely too complicated and dragged out in comparison.
[Dear checklist I can see I jilted myself paralyzed from fear but my story is not a cookie cutter list of expectations to cross off. My life; my story and I can rewrite it whenever I decide to.]
The desire to have more, be more, live more eats away at our time and makes us believe we’ll never be enough. We end up like my sister’s dog on a short leash chasing every rabbit in sight, getting tugged back and eating grass because she’s so riled up she doesn’t know what to do with herself. I call the human version of that Netflix binging. A popular procrastination technique and my “drug” of choice. – I promise it’s only for the series with kick ass plotlines.
[Dear checklist, check out the list of people who’ve failed. These people are people who’ve tried and failed multiple times before they won. Notice how these people have a far shorter list of regrets. Please consider this your permission slip to live unapologetically and wholeheartedly. The side effects are living to the fullest and that is something you should check out.]
I’m not down playing the importance of lists but I get it. One minute we’re children where the magic of dreams and make believe is not foolish, it’s real. It is the catapult to stones yet unturned. One minute we’re little - superheroes, princesses and rock stars and the next we’ve all grown up and forgotten what makes us dare to be invincible. Our fingerprints are as unique and as one of a kind as snowflakes so why do we spend our time looking outward instead of within ourselves? The dreams we have become a checklist, a mountain that seems impossible to climb. We forgot if we want to be a rock star, we just have to start with one song. One note.
[Dear checklist, I'm folding you up and throwing you in the bin (recycle bin.) It’s time to focus on myself and what I need – not what you deem worthy. No longer can you smother my dreams with your haughty judgmental tone.]
Realistically, not all of us will make it to the Top 100’s Chart or what-have-you, but does that make the song less extraordinary? You bet your ass it’s still incredible. Most of us have thankless jobs and our moments of glory and praise are short lived but so what. We can make a difference and be extraordinary if we not only do, but believe. So forget your checklist and remember who you are or who you long to be. Because day by day, as you collect the puzzle pieces of your life and forget the rest, you’ll, eventually step back and see a masterpiece and the beautiful thing is if it isn’t right for you, you can find another puzzle and start again.