Confessions of a Reforming Box Checker (I'm a work in progress, anyway)

You've all seen the articles.

12 Things to Do in Order to be Happy
12 Things to Stop Doing in Order to be Happy
10 Things to Get to Help De-stress Your Life
10 Things to Get Rid of to Help De-stress Your Life
8 Ways to Find More Time for You
8 Ways to Find More Time for Others
20 Best Pieces of Furniture to Buy for your Home
20 Reasons You Shouldn't Even Have Furniture
15 Things You Must Have for Baby's First Year
15 Things You Don't Need for Baby's First Year
11 Things Never to Say to Large Families
11 Things You Should Say to Large Families
13 Things to Do Before You Even Start Your Day
13 Things to Do Before You Can Even Consider Your Day Complete
#1 Phrase You Should Tell Your Kids
#1 Most Damaging Words You Can Say to Your Child
3 Compelling Reasons to Quit Coffee like it was Yesterday
3 Excellent Reasons to Take Up Coffee Drinking

The internet is exhausting.  Based on the response to when I wrote about this topic previously, it seems I'm not the only one who feels this way.  (Thanks, everyone.  It's nice to know that I'm not alone in my thoughts!) 

The older I get, I realize that this whole box-checking thing is just not for me.  This is kind of a big deal, considering I spent the first 30 years of my life making lists and striving day in and day out to complete them.  Mostly underachieving.  What a disheartening way to live, right? 

The older I get, I realize that goals are great, but the process of getting there is better.  I spend so much of my time working toward the end product, I miss the beginning and middle of the story.  You know what those parts are?  The majority of the whole thing. 

The older I get, the more I realize that relationships with people are more important than tasks.  Checking boxes on a to-do list is less messy, and let's face it, easier, but when your life gets tough, you can't call up your to-do list for a shoulder to cry on.

The older I get, I realize there are no formulas.  We don't fit in boxes.  As much as I used to enjoy labels, that's how much I've come to despise them.  They are either meaningless or an excuse for people to put you in a box - where none of us belong.

How does all of this fit together?  It probably won't.  That's what happens when you try to collect all of your brain clutter and dump it into one blog post, but let me give it a try.

Here's my plan for the imminent future:

To spend my days reading internet articles less and classic books, childrens literature, and my Bible more.
To keep drinking my coffee, but more often with friends over deep conversations.
To forget labels and see hearts.
To rely less heavily on my to-do lists by using them only as a memory crutch and not a means to an end.
To find joy in the mundane because it's there.  It really and truly is.
To stop comparing...especially my chapter one to others' chapter sevens.

"The internet" seems obsessed with finding happiness.  Happiness is just circumstantial anyway.  Joy.  That's what we're seeking. 
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
There's only one way to that kind of joy.  Send me an email if you want to talk more about it or if you just want to talk.  Period.  I don't do high pressure sales.

In the meantime, I'm hanging up my favorite box-checking pen, seeking meaningful conversations with the people - the ones I love and the ones I don't know I love yet, and enjoying the beginning and the middle of my story.  I hope you'll consider doing the same.

Edited to add - Disclaimer (of course I've got one of those):  If you like lists, it's cool.  Just giving you my own thoughts on the subject.  Not condemning anyone.


Sharon said...

You know, Jennie, what you speak of is the beginning of wisdom. And I say that as a 60 year old wise woman!! LOL!

Seriously, though, I so understand what you're talking about. Life is too short and too wonderful to spend so much time trying to fit into checklists and boxes. The best thing in life is God, and after that, in my humble opinion, is the very special gift of family and friends. Life is not experienced in 10 easy ways, or 5 steps, or 20 how-to's. It is experienced and enjoyed in living each moment, messy or wonderful, to its fullest.


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