This week has been filled with an overwhelming number of details, challenges, joys, and irritations. As I try to weed out the junk and focus on this post things keep popping back into my mind’s eye. Normally I enjoy the tangents that my mind explores but sometimes it’s just too much to keep up with. That’s when I find myself making lists. Lots and lots of lists.

Now, if you aren’t a list maker this may not make any sense but something about getting the words, ideas, images, and feelings out of my head and onto the page just makes my day flow smoother. I’ve made lists for everything under the sun at one point or another. Most of the lists are shuffled to the side and recycled the next day or the next week. But some of the common themes and messages from my Creative Genie appear often enough that I can’t help but notice.

For some people making a list and then not being able to check the items off the list as completed is a lesson insanity but for me, lists are a guide. A treasure map if you will. They give me a starting place on the adventure that my day will be. If things aren’t going the way I want them to, I just choose another item on the list to complete. And with that choice my whole day changes.

I have also learned that something’s I put on my list not because I want to do them but because I feel like I “should” do them. As I was reminded from reading Elle Luna’s book the decision of what I must do and what I should do is mine. So my list is now a place where I can weed out the “shoulds” or decide if it’s truly something I want to pursue. And as with all things, my needs, dreams, desires, and musts continue to change. It’s a struggle, sometimes, to accept those changes and let go of things that used to bring me joy, but I’m infinitely happier when I do.

What sorts of lists do you write? I have lists of writing prompts that I love and lists of one’s I’ve never used. I have lists of places I dream of going and books I want to read. I have lists of family members and lists of the paint colors that are on my walls. I have lists of character traits, character names, and stories I plan to write. And I have lists of movies I’ve enjoyed, songs I can’t get out of my head, and people who inspire me. I have To Do lists for this hour, tomorrow, this month, and this year. Hell, I have To Do lists that will never be complete. I have all these lists and if I sat here I could come up with many more, but that is not my point.

So what is my point? That lists are only as good as the action behind them. For some of us they are excellent organizing tools but the list should not be the end result. Remembering to take the next step, the leap off the cliff into the unknown, is where I sometimes get stuck. But this is my life. And the only one I’m going to get. So making the decision and taking the next step is what I am focusing on.

Taking action and making a change is what led me back to this blog. It’s given me a new outlook on my life and a new way of looking at how I intend to reach my goals. For a while now I’ve been drifting, letting other people choose my direction, and a simple list written on the back of a napkin at lunch gave me a new perspective. And the energy to take the leap.

So tonight, I’m going to dust off some of my old journals and take a look at the lists I wrote when I was younger. I know that I have not achieved everything I thought I would, yet, but I also know that what I want has changed. Looking at the bones of my old dreams will give me a chance to revisit those feelings. Embrace those emotions. Celebrate how far I’ve come. And plan for tomorrow’s adventure!

Until next time, my fearless travel companions, enjoy the magic and wonder that appears in your day.