I read a post yesterday from a life-long fitness guru who talked about finally realizing one day that he didn’t have to spend every waking moment trying to “move the needle forward.”
Here’s the thing: I spend a lot of time reading posts from other professionals lamenting that I didn’t discover my calling sooner. But when I read this post, about how obsessed he was with checklists, I was actually relieved. Because quite frankly, I couldn’t be more different than the person he was describing in the first few paragraphs.
I don’t have a checklist.
I’ve never really had a checklist.
I’m not going to be retired on a beach in San Diego when I’m 50.
But you know what I have done?
Said yes to lots of little side adventures.
I’ve joined a sorority because someone asked me too.
I took up the sport of lacrosse in college (and later for a scholarship) because someone invited me and I was bored with softball.
I left that sorority and joined a convent as a novice nun because that’s where my heart took me.
Then I took a low-paying job as a newspaper reporter and combined that with a job as a resident director at a small college because hell, how else do you make low paying jobs work?
I haven’t made a ton of money in my lifetime, but the one thing I’ve never done is live by a checklist.
And because I never had a checklist, I never said no to adventure.
So I’ve been a college teacher, lived in New Mexico and Colorado, taught Sunday Schools and hiked every inch of Rocky Mountain National Park. I can’t say that I was married at 26 or owned a house by 30.
But I said yes to opportunities when they presented themselves.
This fitness professional spent a lot of time talking about his ability to accept adventure now, and I think that’s awesome. But the one thing that is easy for me to do these days is judge myself for not making more money, saving more money, or “moving the needle forward” every day of my life.
It’s so easy to shame myself for what I haven’t done.
But I need to remember what I have done.
And so do you.
Everything you have said yes to is a life lesson. Everything you have said no to is a life lesson. There are people out there who live their lives by checklists, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But here’s the thing - there’s nothing wrong with living your life without a checklist. With living your life adventure by adventure.
It’s always easy to say that the grass is greener on the other side.
Well, at 42 years old, I can say that no matter how green your grass is, I’ve had an adventure trying to make mine grow.
And you know what?
I can live with that.