I have been wrestling with this for a while now and thought it might add value to your life if I shared that struggle with you.
How many of us have a checklist? I don’t mean a to-do list. I mean a life checklist.. Yours might look different but here is a few of my “checklist items” that I have been discussing and other friends have been kind enough to share.
Have a Baby
Get a job that feels like a vacation
Get over the fact that my family of origin leaves much to be desired
Win an Oscar
Get out of debt
Win a Grammy
Run a marathon
Moving to a new city
Okay so there are a few problems with a check list – One you feel hemmed in by it.. like that box waiting for the check is alone and chanting at you, “Jennifer, you aren’t done with me yet., when are you going to win that Oscar? Why are you still in school? Why haven’t you had a baby yet? and it all sounds like noise till you realize that this is self-imposed.. No one gave you a checklist.. you wrote it up and are being bound to something that is completely 100% of your doing. Two, its usually too long. There is a finite amount of time you get so a reminder that you should focus on what is truly important is not out of line, I think.
I am not saying goals are not important. They are, but I think its worth examining our expectations and getting them more aligned with reality so as to avoid disappointment.
Case in point, I wanted to run a 1/2 marathon this year. I planned to do it and was excited and scared at the prospect. I decided in March (after running 10 miles) that I could do it. For those that don’t know a half marathon is 13.1 miles which sounds really daunting when viewed that way. Well, as you might imagine, I started to try break this into baby steps. (run a 5K in September) and then do a half marathon by January.. well life (as it so often does) intervened. I pulled my back out of joint in May (but kept stubbornly on running even though I was in pain) and didn’t actually acknowledge how much it hurt until June so went to see a doctor and got muscle relaxers and the orders not to run.. but I could still walk. On doctors orders, I had to give up running. I could have walked but found myself so depressed I didn’t even want to do that so for a month and a half I didn’t walk, and ate lots of junk food trying to feel better but it wasn’t until last week that I worked out again. So, what has this to do with the checklist idea?
I need to let it go! I may run a marathon but I need to heal my body first and I have to let got of the checklist because it is going to look different than I thought. That is not a bad thing. One of my original checklist goals was to marry in 1999 and had I married the person I was with then, my life would look much different than it does now.
The Checklist can be a help but I find sometimes it can really hurt you to keep comparing yourself to your goals and finding yourself lacking. Progress, not perfection!
Think about it…