retro_dinnerpartyI came downstairs the morning after Boxing Day and found Jim’s friend Jim (Big Jim) at the table, head bent over a small book that he was writing in.

“Just getting everything down so I don’t forget it,” he said by way of explanation. I had to admit it was a little incongruous to see this big, 6’4″ muscular, tattooed, shaved-headed man who’s favorite topic of discussion includes ‘knives’ and ‘poop’ to be writing in a journal.

“That, and I’m writing my list,” he added.

“Your list?”

“Yeah, my list for 2016. I don’t write resolutions, I write a list of things I want to get done in the coming year. Last year’s list included hosting a float party. I nearly didn’t get it done, but then I saw it on my list, and even though it was late in the year, I got a bunch of people and boats together and we had a float party.”

I started thinking about this list versus resolution idea. The problem I’ve always had about resolutions is the assumption that you were somehow flawed the year before, and you need a resolution to make yourself better. So much pressure and kind of a crappy premise to start the year off with.

I suppose you could call your list goals, but even goals are different than what Big Jim was talking about. Goals, like resolutions, to me imply a certain deficit, and I’ve always felt somewhat guilty for not setting goals. Frankly, in the widow world, I think goals are often eschewed since we all had goals at one point and we all know what a load of crock they all turned out to be. So goals don’t really cut it either.

Therein lies the beauty of the list. There’s no pressure really to “accomplish” your list or to change yourself somehow in order to meet your list’s expectations. It’s just a fun list of things you want to do in the coming year. I immediately thought of the one thing I wanted to do more of this year (already added to my non-existent list when I turned 50), which was to have more dinner parties. But more have been popping into my head as I think of all those things I keep meaning to do, but because they are not on any list, I keep forgetting about them. Visit Tofino. Take down the tree-house. Figure out ways of making my house Jim’s house too. Visit a real Catalina (airplane that’s at the center of my grandfather’s novel that I am editing). Both Jims created lists and one item on both thier lists was “make a new friend,” which I think will be a rollover list item.

So not resolutions. Not goals. Just a list of fun stuff you want to do or get done. I think sharing your list is probably a good way of helping you take it more seriously, so here is mine (so far):

  • Have more dinner parties
  • Make a new friend
  • College trip with Carter
  • Visit Tofino (by way of Victoria) and visit friends
  • Take down tree-house
  • Make my house Jim’s house
  • Get knee in shape enough to take a dance class
  • Write an essay and submit to a contest or magazine.
  • Publish my grandfather’s book
  • Finish my second memoir
  • Visit a Catalina
  • Hike Paradise (park near Mt. Rainier)

What’s on your list?

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