I had never heard of Listography until Christmas when I discovered a book by that title in the journal section of Chapters. Listography: Your Life in Lists. The creator’s brief introduction says the book "is designed to help you create your autobiography through list-making." Intriguing.
My life in lists, eh? Would that be different from my life in phone numbers, or my life in passwords, or my life in pictures, or my life in calendars? Well, why not find out? You will not be surprised that I bought the book (or is it a journal?), and couldn’t wait to get home to start listing my life on the dotted lines under the captions the author thought were significant.
I started with the easy ones. List places you’ve lived. Only three. That’s manageable. St. Victor, Regina, Melville. So far, so good.
List things most people probably don’t know about you. I can do that. I’ve done it before for games: I did French play-by-play commentary for the National Junior Baseball Championships; I have shingled a roof, including ridge caps.
List countries you’ve visited: a few are Germany, Hungary, Poland, Panama, USA.
List your greatest fears. Okay, now it’s getting serious. Losing my memory, not knowing where my children are, driving in a blizzard and hurting someone, interfering in my children’s lives.
List your bad habits. Best to skip over that one.
List your crushes. That one too.
List your most memorable birthdays. I turned 40 at Universal Studios in LA, 45 in Quebec City, 46 in Vancouver, 57 in Whitehorse, 58 in Toronto Airport on the way to Frankfurt, 59 in New York City, the perks of a July birthday.
List the things you are glad you did. This one is fun. Some of those I write down are : started piano lessons again as an adult; had children; became a teacher; obtained a Master’s degree, and wrote the thesis in French; stopped getting perms; read to my children; sewed my daughter’s dance costumes; began blogging.
Nowhere in this book, however, can I find a Bucket List. I check in the Table of Contents. Nothing. In fact, I realize I don’t have a bucket list, and never have had a bucket list. I don’t even have a desire to make one. I hear that phrase bandied about so often now that I feel old-fashioned, out of touch, even a bit eccentric. When people mention their bucket lists, I smile. I am sincerely interested in their plans to cross off the next bucket list target. Behind my eyes, however, lurks fear. What do I say if they ask me about my bucket list?
Yes, there are things I would like to do before I have to say good-bye for good : visit places I have read about, write, refine my writing, do nice things for people. If I don’t, though, does that mean I have not lived a full life?
Confession: I have never
climbed Mount Everest,
Does that mean I haven’t taken risks or had a worthwhile life?
I can’t accept that. I can’t measure my life in adventures.
But if I
failed my children,
didn’t go out of my comfort zone
didn't challenge myself to develop my strengths
didn't help out in my community,
well then, I would have do so some serious reflection.
I have lots of lists, but a bucket list won’t be one of them. The blank pages at the end of the listography contain the overflow of my reading list, but no list of the things I want to do before the end of my life as I know it. Why not? It doesn’t work for me. I need to live in the present moment, and focus on today. I have done my best. I continue to do my best. I am content.