All the Lists in the World . . .

All the lists in the world . . .

Won’t make you renew your passport.

Won’t get you to make the phone call.

Won’t force you to say yes.

Won’t make you get up early to write.

Won’t make you stay up late to paint.

Don’t mean you’ll complete the things on the list.

Don’t mean that you’re not scared.

Don’t reveal the day when you show up in a sizzling red dress.

Don’t show the progress of a transformed life.

Don’t show the discomfort after a fight, when you’re finding the peace and shutting out the bullshit.

Don’t show the morning when you want to lie on the couch and binge watch a junk TV show instead of getting up to pray, run, meditate, write, apply, learn, create.

Don’t hide the fact that you can be happy and complete and alone, and yet still yearn for company, a partner.

Don’t always show your growth.

Don’t always show when you’re not feeling creative.

Don’t show that what you’re doing now for work is not what you thought you’d be doing for work.

Don’t show the amount of coffee, red wine, scrambled eggs, arugula, homemade hummus, carrots, and rotisserie chicken that went into your adventures and dreams.

Don’t show all the things that are unlistable: watching morning sunrises, making love to someone you like and maybe love, and writing things that you can’t believe you wrote or shared.

Don’t show that sometimes bravery is a tiny, small thing: showing up.

Don’t show the hours you’ve been online looking up and researching vanlife.

Don’t show the progress you’ve made when you go back and look at old lists.

Don’t show the comfort that exists in a list and checking off something from a list.

Don’t show the heartbreak when you have to leave an old place and carve out a new direction.

Don’t show how damn happy you are and how you are amazed at how you’ve changed your life in just a couple of years, even if things on the surface don’t look so different.

Don’t show the state of the world or the state of discord that we seem to be in.

Don’t show the huge pile of laundry by the door, ready to be hauled to the laundromat.

Don’t show the glory of a quick run in the neighborhood and the quick, hot shower afterwards.

Don’t show the relief after paying off a debt.

Don’t show the “yes, I can do this in a year” feeling and the overwhelm of “I’m not sure I can do this in a year, what was I thinking” feeling.

Don’t show the angst of sending a text and waiting for a reply.

Don’t show the fun of taking pictures, reading poetry, and hiking new trails.

Don’t show the peace of just breathing.

Don’t show the gratitude of living the life you want to live.

Don’t show the roads not taken, the choices made.

Don’t show that a life is fluid and there will be changes along the way, even in pursuit of the list.

Don’t show what forgiveness takes.

Don’t show the sadness and hopefulness in deciding how to pick up the pieces with someone.

Don’t show the hissyfit when you couldn’t put your bike on your trainer and couldn’t put your bike rack on your car.

Don’t show the progress that you’ve already made.

Don’t show the dinners of flat soufflés in pursuit of mastering the soufflé.

Don’t show the peace of soaking in hot springs on a cool evening.

Don’t show the admiration and inspiration you get from others.

Don’t show the soreness and stench after a ten-mile run.

Don’t show the things that didn’t make the list, like getting a dog, because you know you don’t have the space or commitment for a dog right now, even though you really want one.

Don’t show the glory of doing and finding things not on the list.

Don’t show the mad scramble of covering the list on the dry erase board with a tapestry, because you don’t want the close friend who is coming over for coffee to see the list.

Don’t show the music and singing and dancing that accompany getting something on the list done.

Don’t show your distaste for bucket lists for yourself.

Don’t show that all of a sudden you know you give none of the fucks and you give all of the fucks, which, for you, is the best place to be: caring about your effort and the cause and the input, and yet not caring what the outcome is and what others think.

Don’t show your non-attachment to the list.

Don’t show the cleansing of an early morning swim.

Don’t show that each morning, each moment is starting anew, again.

Don’t show that some things may not get completed on the list, due to changes in attention, priorities, desires.

Don’t show that the current list is a living, breathing thing and it may change over time.

Don’t show the mornings waking up at 4 am and working on the dreams, then going to work at 1 pm, and returning home at 10 pm.

Don’t show the inequality of items on the list. Some will take minutes, some will take days, all will take heart.

Don’t show your disbelief at using the f word, and being completely vulnerable and honest and open, and yet still keeping the essentials private.

Don’t show the amazement of finally learning what love is and letting go of a crush and releasing a person.

Don’t show the beauty and love you feel for the white-winged doves out your windows who come visit on the patio and share their lovely question-song, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?”



  1. A wonderful anti-list list. 🙂 And a few reminders for me, who persists in believing that somehow the right list and the right organizational scheme will make life worthwhile…when in reality it’s what’s NOT on the list that more likely will.


  2. Kary

    Enjoyed the effrontry that was encompassed into this lengthy list. There are two delineated items that stand-out: i) does not show the glory of finding and doing things not on the list; and, 2) and does not show the progress of a transformed life. I am a sinner to the nth degree and at sundry times employ the “f” word though not in the presence of others. According to Psalm 130 verse seven, “with the Lord there is steadfast love and plentiful redemption”.


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