Not a life list

Life Lists seem to be the Thing these days, under whatever name you want to use.  I just… can’t get on board, for some reason.  I think it might be that I don’t dream big enough.

When I was 8 years old, I knew how I wanted my life to go.  I wanted to grow up (er), graduate high school (check), go to university (check), get a job in a shiny office tower downtown (the last office tower was shinier, but check, and I do have my own office, which: double plus check), get married (check), buy a house (check) and have babies (soon to be checked?).  So.  My life is very much on the path to be the life I’ve always wanted.  And I’m happy and like it that way.  I don’t have any burning need to set the world on fire or become famous or really rich or a published author or a rock star or anything else.  My life desire has always been to just … live a good and mostly happy life.  I’m painfully aware of how lucky I am to be in the position to have my needs met by life.

My grandparents survived the war in Germany.  My grandfather fought at both fronts and survived a Siberian POW camp – escaping once to walk to Austria before being caught, and then starving himself to the point where he was sent back to Germany weighing less than 100 pounds.  My grandmother lost part of her ear to a fighter pilot while she ran for cover, with her baby in one arm and little girl in the other. They came to Canada after the war with almost nothing, with three kids, and then lost everything else in a house fire a few years later. Their oldest daughter died at 17. Their lives were harder than I can possibly imagine.

But they came to Canada for a better life, and here I am, 58 years later, and my life is good. My life is grand. Bad things have happened to me, and I’ve hurt and felt loss and death and all that, but I have a good life. A blessed life. I’ve never been shot at, or starved, or tortured. I think the fact I don’t feel the need to dream bigger and better stems from the fact that I’m already living my dreams. (And that sounds so much cheesier than I mean it to.) I’m incredibly lucky and I know it. While I hardly feel done yet – there’s so much more to see and do – I’m more than happy with my pleasant middle class life and good job and ample travel opportunities and lovely house and wonderful husband and good friends and healthy savings and so on.

So any life list I could have would either be too small or too large. (Go to Panama / figure out what I want to be when I grow up.) Going to Panama is easy – save money, get vacation time, plan, and go. The latter seems impossible, and likely to be something that develops as I age, and will always be a work in progress.

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3 responses to “Not a life list

  1. Hi Morgan,

    I’ve read your stuff on APW before – hit home with me because my dad’s passed away as well. So, I clicked over here due to your APW comment and I have to say, I LOVE this post.

    I’m totally not sold on Life Lists either. In a weird way, they seem totally constricting. Who’s to say you’ll want to the same big dreams when you’re 40 that you do now? And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with an standard, ordinary life…in a way, they seem to praise only the extraordinary and not the satisfaction of the day-to-day. I’ve seen so many posts just extolling them and this is the first I’ve seen that I can actually identify with – yay!

  2. I’m so glad it’s not just me! I sometimes feel like the boring middle class stick in the mud. Which, I’m actually pretty okay with, it just sometimes feels like a fairly lonely place to admit to being: happy with your life now.

  3. On a similar note:
    My mom was here last week and we had a lot of long conversations about her parents – her dad died before I was born but I have always felt a kinship with him based on stories I’ve heard – I told her this and she told me, “He would have LOVED you!” – which was as huge a gift as I can remember receiving, ever.

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