Sometimes when I scroll through Facebook, I can’t help but wonder when lists took over the world. “25 things to do before you’re 25″… “37 things I learned before my 37th birthday”… “101 ways to be a better mom”… “10 reasons your marriage is in trouble.” I’m not even married and I read that one to make sure I would know someday when I am married whether or not my marriage is in trouble. In one of my January posts, I even offered up a list of my own when I mentioned ways dads could possibly improve their relationships with both their children and the mothers of their children. But as I read through more and more of these lists and ideas and suggestions, I wonder if these musings of the typical person are preventing me in any way from coming to my own conclusions or figuring out for myself what is most important to me.
I don’t have advice about your marriage or your mothering. I don’t know how to tell you really how to live a life you can feel amazing about. On a typical day, my biggest accomplishment might be putting together a nice enough outfit and walking out of the house with a cup of coffee consumed and a plan for the next 8 hours. If it’s a great day, I’ll get some things done at work and am able to take a couple of free minutes to make sure I haven’t overdrawn my checking account or check in with a friend in text or email.
While these lists can be super inspirational and give someone an awesome idea of how to approach life with excitement and a positive attitude, or maybe how to make up with someone they’re in a contentious relationship with, they shouldn’t necessarily be the benchmark of whether or not you “made it” and you should never feel like a failure if you don’t see all of those 1000 places before you die. You should live by your own dreams and plans (but don’t forsake the plans God has for you… they’re better than yours) and hope that maybe, by the time you lay your head on the pillow at the end of the day, you accomplished something for someone else. You told your co-worker how nice they looked with their new haircut. You remembered to call your friend on their birthday. You reached out to someone you haven’t heard from in months. You donated to a charity that has made a difference in your life or in the life of someone you care for. You took a deep breath and responded in kindness instead of in anger or sarcasm.
If I were to try to put together a list of the top 34 things I’ve learned in 34 years, I don’t think I could do it. I’m learning daily… I’m changing like seasons… and I’m almost unrecognizable from the girl (woman – still not used to that word) I was only two years ago. It’s truly daily work. We have today and only today. Be kind. Be loving. Be a blessing… that’s the next thing on my list.