I am not a good list maker. I lose the grocery list that Jan’s gives me somewhere between the driveway at our house and the milk vault at Walmart. If asked, she would imply I aid and abet its mysterious disappearance. When I take a day off, I hate making a list of things that need to be done. It cramps my inclination toward the spontaneous. But I have found that there are a certain kinds of lists that even a guy like me needs to compose.
I have heard people reference their “bucket lists” quite a bit in the past several years. The phrase was popularized by the movie with the same name featuring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The plot revolves around two terminally ill men that have a list of things that are trying to accomplish before they kick the bucket. It sounds like a pretty good idea, but I think I have another one that is equally compelling.
During the course of the past year I have composed joy lists. (Not to be confused with a joy ride. I have taken a few of those as well.) The process of creating such an account looks like this: I pause to take inventory of all the things in my life at the present time that brings me joy. I stress the term present. Nothing from the past or the future can be included. I write those things down with some detail in my personal journal.
I strive to make a conscious choice to accentuate those things in my life. In other words, if spending time with longtime friends is a source of joy, then I choose to carve out time for such activities. I have found that if I don’t put together a listing of this kind every few months that I have a tendency to start dwelling on the negative. There is of course plenty of negative out there to absorb our energies. Today I am working on the March, 2011 version of my bucket that I am striving to fill with joy. What fills your bucket?