Create a “To Do” list

I love to work in my garden. There is somehow a need to touch the earth, to dig & plant and be able to see the fruits of my labor. Lately I have discovered hardscape. I am building retaining walls, sidewalks, and planter boxes one brick at a time.

As you turn into my over-sized driveway, you may find me on my knees, trowel in one hand and a rubber mallet in the other. I cannot think of another activity that gives me so much joy as seeing my efforts come to pass right before my eyes. I can stand back after a hard days work and see the beauty and strength my work has created. However, my children threaten to ban me from watching HGTV because my eyes will light up and I am off on another landscape or house remodeling project.

I know there will come a day when my age and physical deterioration will stop this activity. For now, I am content to continue as long as I can. When that happens I will cross it off my “To Do” list and move on looking for another adventure.

I can’t think of a time when I will have nothing to do. If I can’t lay brick I will plant flowers. If I can’t plant flowers I will create art on a canvass. If I can’t paint I will read and write. If I can’t …. well, you get the picture. There are so many things that I put on hold while raising my family, I have an entire “To Do” list that I haven’t even scratched. Some people might call it the “Bucket List” (from the movie of the same name).

I have noticed recently retired people having problems with the life change. My theory is that they failed to find something to be passionate about in life and now in retirement are bored and unhappy. Many of us create a life with the focus on our children, husband, and home. Even those who have chosen to pursue a career struggle with the same issues. Now that they are not working, what will they do with their time? The kids are gone and so is their job. What now?
whitehouse1 This picture is from my own “To Do” list. As you can see, it is a picture of the White House. Last summer I finally got to visit Washington DC and various other places like Civil War Battle Fields and Arlington Cemetery. It was a trip of a lifetime. Now, I get to cross it off my list. One thing down and lots more to go!

I must impress upon you that creativity is essential to our “wildish nature”. It doesn’t matter whether it is singing, dancing, sculpture, painting, ceramics, doll making, gardening, cooking, writing…whatever nurtures that creative spark. I love to dance! It is a major part of who I am. Music is essential to my happiness. After the failure of my last marriage I swore that the next person I married would also have the love of dance and music. Did this happen? NO! Why? Because I sacrificed that part of me for other needs like financial security, companionship, travel…well, you get my drift.

Was it worth the sacrifice? Yes and no. I am financially secure. I have traveled all over the United States until I am tired of travel. I have had the companionship of a wonderful man who has spoiled me materially. However, I still have a hole where the dance is. I can only take so many line dancing classes. I can only dance in front of the TV so many times alone before the loss creeps in. Don’t get me wrong–I love my husband. but, there is this longing for something missing in my life that will never be satisfied because I chose to ignore that need.

I can blame no one but myself. I made the choice. I ignored my need to dance. I is not my husband’s fault that he is tone deaf and has no desire to dance. In fact, to him, music is just annoying noise. Go figure. At the time I didn’t realize just how much music was necessary to my happiness. I want to assure you, there are trade offs. We have spent most of our married life on one adventure after another. We became Sasquatch Hunters and pursued this field in our spare time. bigfoot

I know…you’re saying, “grow up!” Exactly!!!
Part of the wildish nature is… dancing under the stars to a car radio. It is… walking through wet grass barefooted. It is… dancing down the isle at the supermarket music. It is… singing at the top of your lungs when you don’t think anyone is listening. It is… blowing bubbles with the neighbor kids. It is… drawing with chalk on the sidewalk. It is…being childlike in our approach to creativity. It is…letting our hair down and not being so uptight. It is… giggling at a stupid joke. It is…decorating your yard for Halloween. It is… wearing that crazy hat to pick up the kids at school. It is…doing something totally unexpected and not worrying what people will think. It is… not taking ourselves too seriously. It is… being free–free to be our true self.

I want you to make a “To Do” list. I want you to list all the things you have ever wanted to do in your life. I want you to explore your heart’s desires. I want you to write down even the silliest things you have thought of doing.

Then, when you are done I want you to go back over it and find something to experience from that list. It can be as simple as painting one wall in your home, with its white walls, a bright color. You can stop by the library and pick up that book you have been meaning to read. You can spend an entire day curled up on the couch vegging with a cup of hot cocoa and a romantic movie. You can join the church choir. You can volunteer your time at the local YMCA. How about joining a woman’s softball league or a bowling league? You can take a walk through a botanical garden. You can start to write your memoirs. What ever it is that is on that list, pick just one and do it. What ever it takes, do it! Tack the list on the fridge and look at it every day until it is empty. Then make another list and keep going.

Find something that you feel passionate about and find a way to make it happen. Do you feel the heat from that spark grow as you nurture your creative spirit? Go for it! Just do it!



~ by womenstudycenter on January 15, 2009.

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