You want a bigger life? Here’s my advice: make a Life List, which is a list full of things you want to do/have/be while you’re still around. Here’s why: 1. it’ll give you focus, 2. once you put your wishes onto paper, many (if not all) those wishes will come to pass without a whole lot of effort from you, and 3. you’ll be happier because you’re getting all kinds of things you really want. Want to know how to make one? Read this post. So a while back, I made my own Life List. I’ve been busy of late checking stuff of it.
1. GET A PUG
There’s always time for a sweet pug break. Always. This is Bryer. We got him when he was eight weeks old and just about fit in the palm of your hand. Now, he’s now a little over a year and he makes you happy just by being around him. He’s also a shining example of how you can put your intentions out in the world ~ all I wrote was: get a pug ~ and have life deliver you what you want without it being hard.
2. DO A RESIDENCY AT HEDGEBROOK
You want some uninterrupted time to think and write and drink way too much coffee (or wine if that’s your thing)? Then an artist’s residency is for you. The lovely cabin pictured above was all mine for a whole week. Time to sleep in. Get rid of all the distractions. Focus. Listen. Write and write and write some more. Figure out the missing piece to my manuscript. And be reminded that writing and stories matter. I wrote Hedgebrook on my list and not long after, I got a grant that paid for almost all my expenses to get there. (This project was made possible through the support of the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency, the Blumenthal Endowment, and the arts councils in Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Rutherford, Union, and York (SC) counties.)
3. LEARN TO SHOOT A GUN
Turns out there’s not much to it. Point, line up the sights, breathe in, breathe out, pull the trigger. I am a fan of the shotgun and the .45. You want stopping power? Bam! There it is. Reminder: “the right of self defense is the first law of nature” (St. George Tucker). Wrote it on my list and not long after, a retired military guy showed up in my life with lots of guns and ammo and time to teach me, all for the cost of taking him out to lunch.
4. VISIT LONDON
Some highlights: Leavesden Studios, where the Harry Potter movies were made; fourth row center to see Hamlet at Barbican Centre with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead; riding double-decker buses around the city at night; 200-year-old pubs; comfort food; and the fascinating but morbid history of murder/back-stabbing/conniving within the royal family. On my list and less than a year later, I’m there.
5. VISIT PARIS
Some highlights: bakeries on nearly every corner, tarts and éclairs and crêpes and fresh-baked baguettes and the list goes on and on; eating lunch on the banks of The River Seine while overlooking Notre Dame; walking hand-in-hand through the Jardin des Tuileries; hooking a lock on the Pont Neuf; going to the top of The Eiffel Tower at night; seeing the Mona Lisa in person at the Louvre Museum. Scribbled it on my list and bam! there it is. A quick flight from London and I’m in Paris. And the best part: all of it coming true without making much of a dent in my bank account at all.
So are you gonna say yes to a big life and make a Life List? And if you’ve already made one, what’s on it? And if you haven’t, seriously, what the heck are you waiting for?