Thursday, May 31, 2012

Knowing what I want

Fairy Princess, Halloween 2010. Alyce has always known what she wants.
Last week I mentioned that I was ready to take Helen Jane's advice to figure out what I actually want (because you won't get what you want unless you know what you want). She tells us that lists help, and so lists we will have.

What I like
spending time with the people I love
birth, new families
reading about baking and cooking
making people laugh

What I don't like
the unknown
processed food (except Doritos sometimes, wine gums, and alright I probably do like processed food, but I don't want to)
low expectations
traveling without my family (except maybe once or twice a year, especially if I'm joined by husband or good friends on our way to weekend of good wine and good food)

What I want
to be there when babies come into the world
to work with women
to be with my children
to laugh a lot
to stop feeling guilty
more energy
time with my husband
some stability
to make my own corn tortillas (and other feats of the kitchen)
to learn from my mistakes
to develop a savings account
to live in a big city
to show my girls the world

What I don't want
to work in a job I don't enjoy just to pay for daycare
to prioritize making money over savoring the good things in my life
to be out of work again
to feel isolated
things I don't need
to worry so much

Having written these down, are there patterns? Is it glaringly obvious or will this take more work?

I admit that I've been pretty rotten with the analyzing stage of list-making. I've mentioned before that I'm terrible at following through on the lists that I've made. From daily to-do lists to bigger "this year I need to" lists, I write them and then look the other way. On the one hand there is something valuable in list-making that doesn't require follow through. Because I'm a visual learner the very act of writing a list stores those points away in my head for later (I almost always forget my grocery list, but if I close my eyes I can visualize the things I listed under each category. I still forget things, though, so clearly this isn't a great system.) But there is more to me avoiding my lists than just plain forgetfulness.

It's hard work.

Isn't it, though? Writing down the things you want or the things you need is work enough, because you need to listen to yourself, really listen, if you want results. Those things in life that you think you need can be awfully noisy in your head sometimes, so you have to listen hard just to get that list down in the first place. But then turning that list into action? I usually prefer to move on to something else, like making dinner or collapsing on the couch after dinner, tucked in next to my husband, watching Sons of Anarchy (we're on season three now). These alternatives are perfectly fine, enjoyable even, but they're not getting me closer to getting what I want.

I know what I want. I just wrote it down for all of you to see. Now I need to make these things happen, it's as simple as that. But there isn't a straight line from here to there (I think I might already be learning from my mistakes), so the question now is, what are the first steps? That's my homework for this weekend. I'll report back on Monday.

Have you written lists like these ones before? Will you share them with me? There's strength in numbers, you know. And I'd love to see them.

P.S. Have you heard of Health Month? It's a game, of sorts, that helps you get it together with some important health goals. You choose your own goals (anything and everything) and you score points for your ability to get them done. I chose three goals, including "Track my dreams at least three days a week," something I know will contribute to my mental health in a massive way, a strategy for avoiding the out of control feelings I get when I lose touch with the things I want in my life. (My other goals are 30 minutes of exercise three times a week and getting to sleep before 10:00 pm six nights a week.) My first month starts tomorrow!

Anyone want to join me?

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