Life’s Lists, Shoulds and Mlle Colette

Life’s Lists, Shoulds and Mlle Colette

Barb here.

Let’s talk lists.

I love “To-Do-Lists!

I really love crossing things off the list.

(I like that so much I’ve been known to write down a completed task just so I can cross it off. Some of you will relate.) 


I’ve used all sorts of systems (the Franklin Planner being the most elaborate), read all sort of books, (Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and one of David Allen’s first books), and attended seminars; I’ve written the lists on yellow lined paper, fancy calendar binders, and a plethora of different software programs.

I’ve had color coded lists, lists with items marked A – D to indicate importance, and lists with stars or highlighter applied to indicate something along the lines of VERY IMPORTANT! DO NOW OR FAIL AS A HUMAN!

List management, with wine

I am really good at lists.

I’ve had life goal lists, daily and weekly to-do lists, monthly lists, and seasonal lists.While cruising, the lists were short and sweet. This year as my life has gotten more complicated, I again struggled with systems, software, and apps. (There are a plethora of apps for lists.) After polling my younger, tech-savvy Facebook friends I’m back to lined paper in my essential, must-not-lose-ever-notebook. I’ve incorporated a few tips from those past lessons, but keep it simple and focused.

How focused?

A while back I discovered a yellow pad with the “master list” I had written shortly after my college graduation. Some of the things on that decades-old list could be on my master list today—if I had a “master list”. For me, a “master list” consists of everything I think I should want to accomplish. Finding that old “master list” largely equaled the new one pulled me up short.

Some of the things on that list don’t need to be on any list of mine today – or any time. They were “shoulds” I picked up somewhere and added to the list for self-improvement, or self-importance, or self-something.

I like lists and I use them so that I can keep track of a whole bunch of things in my life and not forget the important and the urgent. (Did I get toothpaste? Yes.) But the big picture stuff? Those “shoulds” or self-I things? I have no patience for those anymore. I will learn, I will grow, I will achieve. As important, I am learning to accept those things that just aren’t going to change (now there’s an original concept) and banish them from the list.

Perhaps I can now cross “Learn to be an adult” off the list.

Yeah. Probably not. I’m beginning to actually understand that—even at 60—I’m a work in progress. Still, I’ll keep writing my To-Do-List and crossing things off.

Barb’s Happy Dance

It makes me happy.

I found a great article on Quartz about how to write a good to-do list. (Their version of “master list” is reasonable.)

We would love to know if you have a “To-Do” list and if its old school paper or 21st century app. Which app?

Lynnelle here.

Even at THIS age, at 60, it takes such discipline to not let the “shoulds” get to you, or the “theys” of the world who dictate the “shoulds”. I don’t need a list to screw me up about who, what and where I “should” do, be, know or have. As I’m again reinventing myself; transitioning from typical, full-time, professional employment to …self-employed blog-queen/travel writer… there are many “shoulds” (inclusive of “should haves”, “should nots”, and “should not haves”) looking me in the face, clamoring for attention.

“Lynnelle, you should….

  1. ​Get a normal job to have reliable income (& health ins. & vacation pay & retirement savings & …)
  2. Sell that Mercedes because you don’t need that ‘flash’ OR that payment. 
  3. Have saved more money.  
  4. Have started on this writing thing years ago; you would have a track record, by-lines and SALES by now.
  5. Sell the Hermes Kelly bag. It would cover the mortgage for 6 months.

You get the idea.

The above all revolve around money, which is clearly an issue when you go from a 6-figure income to … zero. The more sinister “shoulds” swarming around me like a cloud of black flies are about my self identity. Without the big job, who am I? Well, I know who I am – I’m still me; but the perception of who I am is different. Lynnelle the international banker conjures a different image than does Lynnelle the blogger/writer. We’re the same, but not perceived the same.

I  should  will…​

  1. Be secure in myself. Others’ perception of me is ultimately out of my control.
  2. Ignore those with negative comments, opinions or views about my life.
  3. Not base my self-image or self-worth on the perceptions of others.

Like Barb’s decade-old master list, I’ve been working on these three things my whole life, it seems. I’m so much more secure in myself now at sixty than then, BS (before sixty) – thank God.

But, there are times – like now – when you take your life in a completely new direction; reinventing yourself – again –  testing your grit. I’m dusting off and updating the secure-in-myself manual. One of the things I’m getting into is the Stoic philosophy. If you’re into that kind of exploration, this is the *book that introduced me to the Stoic philosophy, The Good Life. If you’d like to learn more about the philosophy of Stoicism, go to the website, a non-profit organization that shares information, events and courses on Stoicism as a life philosophy.

I’ll be leaving the “Learn to be an Adult” manual, however, on the shelf.

Here’s an appropriate quote (found at Brainy Quote):

Mlle Colette

“You must not pity me because my sixtieth year finds me still astonished. To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.” —Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

By the way, Colette published “Gigi” in 1944 at the age of 71.

Go be astonished.

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