Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Life List.

I love lists. The put the world in order. They make me feel like I just have to follow a few simple steps and my whole life will come together. They allow me to see exactly what I have achieved and indeed that I have achieved something. This week I have come across two which at first glance appear different but actually have a few similarities. The first was from one of my all time favourite blogs, called Rules for life. it includes gems such as

2. Don’t make happy people sad.
10. Don’t use the word “literally” when you really mean “figuratively”.  It literally makes me want to stab you a little but I don’t do it because that’s illegal and also because I have a very limited amount of knives.
It really is worth a click to read the whole thing, she has the perfect mix of honest and hilarious.

The second list I came across was posted by multiple friends on facebook and is called 22 things happy people do differently. Surprisingly there is the occasional cross over between the two life lists. I have to admit I am not so keen on the second list. I am surprised how many times I have seen it re-posted. It is very very positive, glass half full, find your inner zen and the world can't hurt you, type of stuff. 

Not that I don't think it's valid. I do. At least I do a bit. I have often heard people say, (you know "people" someone somewhere, a specific person not so much, more a collective memory of people saying at some point, maybe) that "there are two types of people in the world - those who see the glass half full and those who see it half empty." I'm not either of those people. I see a glass with water in. I'm slightly more optimistic than pessimistic. I have great faith in trying. But I like Plan B's. And I really really like to have worked out every potential thing that could go wrong before I commit. It drives my husband crazy. He is a massively optimistic dreamer. It is his best and worst quality. I dislike ill-thought out dreams. I like them to be backed up with a healthy dose of reality, I don't want to be the person who pisses on the parade, but I find it really hard just to get excited and not point out the flaws. I try to comfort myself with the theory that I am saving people from much larger disappointment later on, but mostly I just feel like a spoil sport.

Anyway the point of this. I think the "happy people" list, is aimed at optimistic people. I'm not convinced people who are naturally pessimistic can just hear someone say "don't sweat the small stuff" and do it. In fact there is a fair few things on that list that from past experience I am very bad at - having a list tell me I can't be happy unless I achieve these things is just setting myself up for failure. A good example would be the first up on the list "don't hold grudges" because "happy people understand it is better to forgive and forget." Hmmm. How exactly can you just forget stuff? I think bad things leave their imprint on you. It's part of what builds you into a well-rounded person. Forgiving sure, but forgetting? Are you maybe just supposed to forget a bit, but not so much that you let someone treat you like crap again? Or is it meant to be a total goldfish thing - each day is brand new and no matter how many times you get knocked down, you get up with a smile? Bullshit. You learn, you get good judgement, you make better choices, you stand up for yourself. You don't forget. You don't have to hate the person who hurt you, but you don't have to just forget and trust again either. Actions always have consequences  The link is there in case you want to read what all the fuss is about - I've included a free pinch of salt.

So these things got me thinking. What would I include in my life list. The most important things I want to pass on, to live by myself, to time travel back and say to past me. This is what I came up with:

1. Right now you are the youngest you will ever look again. Enjoy it!

2. Where education is concerned try not to close any doors. You should enjoy the journey, but it's taking you somewhere. Know where.

3. Seeing both sides of an argument is great, but sometimes you need to stand up and say "No. This is wrong."

4. Remember your regrets. Learn from them. It will be incredibly hard to forgive yourself. Don't ever stop trying.

5. Your beliefs may have changed a million times, you may have been wrong a million more times. That doesn't mean you should stop having an opinion.

6. No matter how much you respect someone, don't trust blindly. Think, question, reason, make up your own mind - you have to take responsibility for you own actions.

7. The things that will keep you up at night are the times you didn't show compassion. Be kind.

8. If you don't laugh, and laugh hard at least once a week, something in your life needs changing.

9. do you remember the people who told you at primary school that "everyone is best in the world at something"? They were wrong. It is not even vaguely realistic that every single person on the planet can be the best in the world at one thing. Unless you are stupidly specific like - you are the best sister to your brother, or the best carer for your cat etc. This doesn't make you the best sister, or the best cat-carer in the world. It doesn't matter. You don't have to be the best in the world, you just have to live life to the best of you ability.

10. Having a happy life means focusing on lots of different things / people as important. It means you may never live up to your potential in any one area. This doesn't make you a failure.

11. Don't question things that bring you peace, cherish them.

12. Nobody wants to live squashed up in a box of rules and expectations. Don't feel guilty for wanting to be free, allow your family and friends to be a part of your freedom.

13. Just because you can do your clothes up, doesn't mean they fit.

14. Have faith you will eventually reach the place you long for.

15. Very few of you life decisions have been wholly negative, remember how unexpectedly positive things can (eventually) be.

16. You know life is short, don't let that panic you into rushing. You are not an under-achiever you have better timing than you think.

I'm only 30, it's a work in progress.

I nearly forgot this awesome list  I saw a month back on Turkey with stuff in's blog. It has a lot of short but coherent life lessons. I'm surprised how goal orientated a lot of my list is, I guess that is my current preoccupation so that's why!


  1. I've given up making lists as I'm happier without them. My husband has a completely different outlook to me. He never looks for the drawbacks, I always do. I think this is why any "health and safety" training is a non-starter in Turkey.

  2. Even the list it's obligatory to make in your head whenever you buy a lottery ticket???

  3. These are mine
    1.Don’t wait around for someone else to bring you flowers… you could be gardening.
    2.You make your own luck.
    3.A job takes as long as you leave for it.
    4.If you don’t try to change things, you can’t really complain about them.
    5.If you choose where you are and what you are doing, that is free and fair.
    6.Ignoring injustice is almost as bad as acting unkindly. Challenge it.
    7.It is better to be proud of yourself than full of pride.
    8.Change is good.
    9.Be good to your friends.
    10.Fresh air and exercise will make you feel better.
    11.You win some, you lose some.
    12.You can never be the best at being someone else but you are the best at being you.

    1. I like your list a lot. At the moment no. 3 is particularly relevant to my life.