The gift of The List: Shaking up life in big ways

“Don’t be mad,” she Jude as as she placed a beautifully wrapped present in front of me. I had no gift for her and honestly, felt a bit bad about it. Jude had become a good friend, a confidant even, this year and I had thought about getting her a little something to show my appreciation and gratefulness. And of course I never got around to it. But I pushed those feelings of guilt aside, remembering that while the holidays are about giving, but they’re also about receiving graciously. I opened the gift to find the book The List: 100 Ways to Shake Up Your Life by Gail Belsky. “I saw this and thought immediately of you,” Jude said. I was flattered. Then I was humbled. Because this was exactly what I needed this week as I set my goals and intentions for 2012 and the universe knew to send it my way through a person I both admire and trust.

The book tells 100 stories of women who took action to shake up their lives in 100 different ways — from doing a triathlon (hey! I know that one!) to learning to surf to going skinny-dipping to baking a wedding cake. It’s not meant so much as a to-do list or a bucket list. Some of the items in the book have no lure for me. And that’s OK. As Belsky wrote in the introduction:

[T]hat’s what stepping outside of your comfort zone is — doing things that are exciting or challenging, even if the mere thought of them makes you sweat bullets. It’s about going skydiving because you’re afraid, not in spite of it.

Yes, pushing outside my comfort zone is one of my personal themes, yet it’s something that, even with practice and intention, can be difficult to do. We like to be comfortable and secure. Doing something because it terrifies you, well, sometimes doesn’t sound all too sensible. But actually, it’s critical. We are constantly creating our own lives. Do the same thing, get the same results. Want something different in your life? Then do something different. Sometimes that means going skydiving or joining the peace corps. Sometimes that means telling someone to screw off or radically changing your hairstyle. The grandness of the shakeup lies in what it means to you. But something that scares you and makes you all uncomfortable to the point where you’re squirming in your seat? Well, maybe that’s an indication that you’re on the right track.

Today I’ll spend some time with The List and come up with some ideas of my own. Because 2012 is not just about creating the life I want, it’s about living it in every moment of every day.

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