May 2001 was the month I would have walked with my high school senior class to receive my diploma, had I not finished midterm and opted out of the graduation ceremony.
I had opted out of pursuing a college degree too, and was beginning my first full time job at the front desk of the local Holiday Inn. I was also participating in our community theater’s production of Into the Woods, a show I’d wanted to be in since I was a little girl, where I played a (very convincing, I’m sure) Cinderella.
In May of 2001, I was still 17, and in one month, I would meet my future husband for the first time, when he asked if he could help me with something while I shopped at Staples and I mentally noted the Chad on his name tag and the hazel of his eyes.
On the 29th of May, I took two pieces of notebook paper and a pencil, and I made a list about the kind of life I wanted. This is what it said:
* I want to live in a place where the heavens are not blurred by the artificial lights of the city.
* I want to have a place to sit outside at night to watch the stars.
* I want noises interrupting silence, not silence interrupting noise.
* I do not want to be alone.
* I do not want unmanageable debt.
* I want to design and build my own home, or be free to change whatever I wish.
* I want to live where it is warm.
* I want to own my own business.
* I want to belong.
* I want to live in a place that has lightning bugs.
* I want to live inexpensively.
* I do not want a life from which I feel I must take a vacation.
* I do not want to be scared.
* I want to have houseplants (ivy and African violets)
* I do not want my dishes to match.
* I want to be a good wife.
* I want to be a good mother.
* I want to be known, not for my accomplishments, but for my character.
* I want to have fresh flowers in my house.
Over the years, I kept that list among my personal papers. It was not something I studied or memorized or posted on the fridge. It wasn’t meant to be any guiding force in life decisions—just an exercise in list making one night.
The interesting thing is, as I came across the list again about five months ago, I realized that--thanks be to God--it is representative of my life today. The life that I wrote down on paper as a single, hopeful 17 year-old girl who had absolutely no idea what was next is the exact life that I am living right now as a 31 year-old.
[As an aside: I say our woodstove makes it qualify as “warm” where I live, and while I don’t actually have any ivy or African violets, I do have houseplants. Possibly the fact that I am a good wife and mother is debatable, but I am a wife and mother, so the potential is always there.]
Over the last month, I’ve completed this list by starting my own business, which I officially launched last week. I help people bring order into their lives, or at least, that’s what I want to do. If I can really do this—and I hope I can—I hope for it to be the beginning of my pouring out of the things I’ve learned and studied over the last decade or so.
I made a new life list last week, the day before my 11th wedding anniversary with that hazel-eyed Chad. I will be the first to put forth that it is possible that the things on my new list will ever happen-- I don't know what tomorrow holds, or this afternoon, for that matter. But I think it's important to have something to aim for, if given the opportunity.
What's one thing on your life list?