#212 Make a “Before I Die” List

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Make a ‘Before I Die’ list

What kind of things are on your bucket list? Who do you want to settle things with? What do you want to learn before you die? No matter how much time you have in front of you, it’s possible you have a long list of things you want to do before your time on this Earth runs out. Put it in writing.


I recommend that the list be divided into categories such as travel, people, learning, achievements, and good will as well as any other header that you deem appropriate. It doesn’t matter how outrageous it seems today as we never know what our future holds. Disregard – in the moment at least – the money  needed to achieve any list item; this is just a ‘master’ list; a dream list.

I suggest that one of the lists is ‘little’ things – regardless of topic – so that while you plan for the bigger, perhaps more expensive things, you are still accomplishing items from your list and generating a sense of satisfaction. I know someone that simply wants to “keep a houseplant alive” on her list.


Because we never know what tomorrow may bring, go back to each topic and prioritize the items there. If you want to travel to London, Quebec, and Fiji before you die, which one is most important? Second? Third? Which topic is most important to you? Is learning more important to you now than travel? Does good will tug at your heartstrings more than accomplishment? Since you’ll feel good about mastering the things that are important to you, you’ll need to identify them.


For many, this may be the hard part. Our thoughts are always running away in short fantasy about how we’ll live our lives and then we get caught up in the day-to-day living things, claiming that there aren’t enough hours in a day. Life needs balance and it is important to foster a sense of anticipation, excitement, and achievement. In order to feel those things, we have to step up and ‘just do it’. So… think about what’s important to you, what brings you joy, and what is happening when you feel satisfied. Then, with pen in hand…

Make a ‘Before I Die’ list.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#221 Plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

Are you someone who goes to the same beach town each year? Do you have a timeshare that you visit every vacation? Do you have a mountain cabin, lake house, or beach bungalow that is your home away from home? Does that mean that you rarely see other parts of the country or of the world?? Perhaps it’s time for you to explore a little and schedule a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

Ready for change

What type of landscape attracts you? What city have you always dreamed of visiting? Is there a place of solitude that has been tugging at your interest? If you weren’t tied to your family’s choice, where would you go? Are you bored to tears at the lake, looking for more nightlife than the crickets and fireflies offer or are you fed up with the traffic and city lights?

Where to go

Take a look at your calendar and a good hard look at a map… what part of the world is calling you? Maybe it’s just around the corner and is easily attainable. For destinations halfway around the world, it may take a bit more planning and saving but with dedication to the goal – still attainable. If you can’t decide then write down the top five and draw from a jar or close your eyes and point. If all else fails, try the old fashioned dart throw. After a destination is decided upon, investigate and plan. Take a look at all your options and put together a budget.

Pleasurable anticipation

Allow the anticipation to build as you imagine yourself in a new vacation spot. It will be new and exciting… perhaps a bit strange if you’ve been used to a particular location but discovering new things is responsible for pleasure more often than  not. A fresh location to experience rest and relaxation may be just the thing you need this year so go ahead and…

Plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Noticing Gifts

“A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect.” –  Jonathan Lockwood Huie

I was speaking to a client the other day about things that we learn in life and how each of them seems to have to be learned personally even though generations before us have tried to impart the knowledge. We often don’t value the wisdom of people who have already experienced part of a journey. In this case, we were talking about aging and accomplishments. She is approaching thirty and feels as if time is running out for her to reach some of her goals. I made the comment that I recall thinking the same thing and then I didn’t finish grad school until age fifty. I assured her there is plenty of time. She said, “yeah, that’s what everyone tells me”. The thought occurred to me that if ‘everyone is saying it’ – might it really be true?? What would we do differently if we actually ‘believed’ the information that people who went before us, shared? How can it be wrong if everyone says it?

Now… keep in mind that I’m speaking about life experience here – not whether or not the world is actually flat or that infections can’t be cured. I realize that there are a time and place to forge ahead with one’s own hypothesis but we weren’t talking science or metaphysics. We were keeping it pretty simple that day and focusing on accomplishments. Age is only a number!

When I turned thirty, I believed my ability to impact the world was over. For some reason, I had the mindset that if I was going to be accomplished or achieve anything significant, I would have to be half way there. I wasn’t. I had not finished college, hadn’t had any great success in my job at that point, and had recently quit altogether. I had decided to be a stay-at-home mom for a while – a decision that my step-father thought was a tremendous waste of ‘my talents’ – whatever they were. I never could have imagined the road that has led me to where I am today – never!!

I believe one of the challenges we face in adulthood is having the patience to allow the Universe to deliver. We – at least those of us with control issues – are so often focused on what we think needs to be happening that we don’t just allow unfolding. We get tunnel vision – rigid expectations of how things should be. Indeed, sometimes our sight is so focused on a specific vision that we fail to notice what is right in front of us.


I wrote a book. I’ve said it isn’t the book I thought I was going to write when I imagined it all this time but today, after talking with a very special person, I noticed a few more dots that I hadn’t connected before. I see the perfection in what has happened – in the way that it happened and I realize that God had delivered exactly what I had asked for. In our discussion, I imagined exactly how I see the cover of the book – a dilemma I’ve recently considered. It makes sense to me in a way that I hadn’t been open to contemplating before. I continue to stand in awe at the Universe’s ability to manifest exactly what is good for us – when it is good.

Late this past summer I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. I love the way that she writes and being the aspiring creative that I am, I loved what she wrote on those pages. She touts “the universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them”. I know that to be a true statement.

I feel like I walked in circles around an idea, never really allowing it to stand out because I anticipated that it would look a certain way. When it jiggled my mind, I ignored it because it didn’t fit the vision I had. And then, I just trusted. I started something without an expectation of what it would be and in the end… it was that idea – the one that had pulled at me and I saw it clearly.

It was there the whole time but it didn’t look the way I thought it would and so – I didn’t recognize it. I’ve had this lesson before! A few years after Rocky died, I was ready to marry again, I wanted more children but nothing was happening in the dating realm. My options were bleak and I was headed toward 30. I was convinced that it might not be in the cards for me. And then… I had an epiphany. I realized that a family was still possible in any number of possible ways. I could meet a man with children – I could have children later than I imagined – I could adopt a six-year-old… really, the vision I had of my life was so rigid that only one possibility seemed desirable until I considered how many others were plausible.

I had imagined a life of ABC but got a life of XYZ…. Same alphabet, just different letters. Instead of green bows on the gifts, they were red. Because I was looking for green ones, I never stopped to consider that what I wanted was in the boxes with red bows.

Today, I realized that I was noticing that lesson over again. Funny how we forget what we know and need to be reminded! Christianity teaches us (Matthew 7:7) “ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find” – that God wants to give us the things that we ask for. The Law of Attraction tells us to ‘visualize what you want and you will manifest it’. Oprah taught us that “you get in life what you have the courage to ask for”.

I’m not sure which one of those universal truths or guiding statements is responsible for the progress I’ve made here over the last several months but I know that I’ve just trusted it to happen – with no expectations of what it will look like. I trusted it by staying present. By focusing not on what I was going to accomplish that day specifically but by relying on the here and now… what is happening now? What is the message at this moment? What do I feel led toward at present? I did only what felt authentic in real time and today, I realized that it was there all along. The book I had imagined years ago, was sitting right there, ready to be written.

I can’t help but consider how many other areas of my life this applies to? What am I missing by structuring my vision so strictly? How many times do I need to learn this lesson?

My client imagined her life a particular way by the age of 30 – as I had. She had a very narrow perspective of how to get there and how it would unfold. I never allowed myself to write because I couldn’t figure out how to get from where I was to what I imagined and without a specific and direct plan I didn’t want to go forward.

The substance here is the principle of trust; of believing that it will be exactly what we need – when we most need it but only recognizable if we have opened our mind to ALL potentialities. Don’t allow yourself to be so focused that what you are seeking goes unnoticed.