I was spawned by list makers. My mother made grocery lists, task lists, correspondence lists, and gratitude lists. My father, an elementary school teacher, made lists of students who needed individualized attention. He made lists of household chores. He kept lists of conversational topics he wanted to bring up with his kids and, later, lists of things to do with his grandchildren . When he got older he used to write “Hello Earl” at the top of his lists. As he pointed out, lists were a way of talking to his future self so he might as well say “hi.”
I’m convinced we can use out-of-the-ordinary lists to enhance our lives. I have all sorts of suggestions to create Life Lists unique to us and I’m following through on a few goals on my Delights To Cultivate list.
Recently I heard about Bit of Joy lists. These are lists to post somewhere in view. Maybe on the fridge door. Maybe as a screen saver. That way whenever a bit of time opens up we’re prompted to devote it to something we find wonderful rather than whatever has become our default activities (ahem, like checking our phones).
How to consciously savor life’s random free moments? Hmmm. As I scribble down ideas I wonder why oh why don’t I let myself do these things more often? That’s exactly how a Bits of Joy list can be so useful. What would you put on your list?
When I Have Five Minutes
Go outside. Take some deep breaths, look at the sky, notice sounds. Unpleasant weather? Do it anyway.
Balance on one foot, then the other, in an impromptu tree pose.
Hug someone I adore.
Indulge in the reverie kids know as “pretending.”
Donate to a good cause.
Smile at someone for all of the following reasons.
Contemplate my blessings.
Make plans to do something with someone dear to me.
Hug a tree.
Sing. Made up lyrics a plus.
Dance, especially to the music stuck in my head.
Click over to Light Weaver for interactive mandalas plus music.
Meditate or (as I practice it, sit quietly and hope this has some meditative effect).
When I Have A Half Hour
Take a walk, which may be the best problem-solving method around.
Read a book on the porch.
Clean out a drawer or clean out a computer file. Very small increments of de-cluttering are allegedly fun.
Play the piano (which I never do, but tell myself I will).
Write an actual written-on-paper letter to a friend. Or mail something weirder.
When I Have An Afternoon
Go outside with a notebook and good pen, sit somewhere lovely, and write.
Play a game new to me from Bernie DeKoven’s master list of games.
Do one of the hundreds of projects I’ve saved on Pinterest.
Wander through shops that entice me. I’m not a shopper. I run to the market, grab what we need, and get out. I haven’t been to a mall in over a decade. But there are places that entice me. I know of a dollhouse shop about 40 minutes from here where I’d love to linger. (I’ve nearly convinced my husband to cut a hole in the wall and install a dollhouse-sized door and window, into which I can arrange a miniature scene. This WILL happen.) I love art galleries, import shops, odd niche stores, and of course bookstores.
Go to an art museum. My favorite see-it-in-an-afternoon museum is Oberlin’s Allen Memorial Art Museum.
Attend a noontime concert. Many of these are free and hosted in beautiful old churches.
Learn something. This is another list but there’s so much I want to learn. No time like the present.