The LIST idea first came to me when I saw Sebastian Terry give the keynote address at FILEX in 2013. In 2009, at the ripe-old age of 27, Sebastian realised that like most people, he has not achieved anything on his long-forgotten list. The death of a close friend, combined with a naturally abstract view on life, sparked a moment of clarity. In the midst of overseas trip, Sebastian decided to put pen to paper and re-create a list of 100 Things. His goal, to tick off everything.
I remember sitting next to a close friend, Carla and commenting on how that would be a great idea. Not necessarily a list of crazy, once in a lifetime things, but a list of things that I would like to do but haven’t gotten around to doing because… well, because I had excuses. Too much work, too many classes, too many commitments, basically too many excuses. The thought was warming, but then it went cold. The concept had a resurrection again on New Year’s Eve 2014, when Carla, Christine (another great friend) and myself actually started working on a LIST of cool things to do around Melbourne. The plan was that we would chip in things that we would like to do and we would then do them together. We made a beginning, but again, our individual lives made it more difficult to get together and tick items off the list. At least I had ticked off two things on the LIST and it was a beginning, but not much of one.
A cruise to Alaska revived my interest in the LIST. On the cruise, I booked myself into day excursions. Salmon fishing, dog sledding, helicopter rides, and climbing a glacier. All things that I had never done before and knew were probably once in a lifetime opportunities and all on my own. I was inspired. I loved having the new experiences and just simply getting on and doing it. My mind went back to the LIST and thought about why I couldn’t do it myself. Did I have to do it with other people? Did I have to wait until everyone was on board? No, not really. Sure, it would be fun if anyone wanted to join me, but this was as much about my own personal experiences as it was about sharing them. So I was back from my cruise in mid-July and thought, now, I will start going through that LIST. Ah yaya!! Again life and commitments became my excuse.
So finally towards the end of 2015, I decided that 2016 was going to be the year of wellness for me and I was going to go through that LIST. The year started well with a walking tour of Melbourne on New Year’s Day, and since then I have been diligently working through my LIST. Every day that I have had little or no commitments, I have booked in an item on the LIST. I have booked them in advance and often paid for a tour so that I was fully committed. I have discovered my own city in a unique way, and literally stopped to smell the roses. I have spent hours in gardens, beaches, climbing rocks, observing animals (even talking a llama for a walk), walking through museums, and learning about Australian history and culture. I have been on a trip to the 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road with tourists (I was the only local) and looking at the beautiful landscapes with new eyes. There have been hours and even a whole day where I did not speak a single word and just filled my eyes, ears and nose with sights, sounds and smells of my surroundings. One day often feels like two or three and I return back to my ‘normal’ week feeling refreshed and renewed.
What has happened to the LIST? well, it has grown. More things have been added and items ticked off and even more circled to be done again, but differently. As I share my stories of my adventures with my participants and clients each week, they keenly ask about my next item and also add their own suggestions. It has even encouraged some of them to try some of the LIST items either for the first time, or for the first time in years. It has been a realisation that I can have a holiday in my own backyard, and probably more importantly, the balance between work/commitments and doing things that rest and rejuvenate my heart and mind. It has increased my enthusiasm for my work in a way that I would have never imagined possible – and I feel that this is just the start.