I just learned a new word that I have never heard before. Apparently this term has been around for almost ten years. I’ve used the format on this blog and didn’t know it. I asked my very knowledgeable husband if it was a REAL word that could be found in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. He said “probably not” but I looked it up and it’s there. My new vocabulary word of the day is “listicle”.
According to the University of Chicago Magazine a “listicle” is an article written in the form of a list”. Wikipedia describes it as a “portmanteau” or blending of two words – article and list. It is often used in journalism and blogging to write about the “best of” or “worst of” articles. This fascinating article from the University of Chicago Magazine is a fun one and can be found at: http://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/listicle-literary-form
I’m guessing that my journalist friends and fellow bloggers knew this but it is new to me and I’m glad I learned it. Listicle makes sense to me because I’ve been a list maker all my life. I’m all about that list, ’bout that list.
Here are my current “Top 10 Lists” in the form of a list:
- Books to read (obvious)
- Recipes to try
- Places to visit
- Blog ideas
- Favorite quotes
- People to email, call or send Facebook messages to
- Crafts to make
- Movies and Netflix shows to watch
- Things I want to learn about – such as words like “listicle”
- Things to buy to decorate/organize/ beautify my house
Lists are very important to me. I like to know what’s going on around me and lists help me to focus and feel balanced. When my kids were younger it was essential to keep track of all of our family comings and goings. Birthday parties, school functions, practices, doctors appointments, play dates, etc. My life was mapped out and living revolved around the master schedule.
But life changed as it often does and my lists took on new meaning. I was going through a divorce and I made “what I want my life to look like going forward” and “things I need to learn about myself in order to start over” lists. These were “life changing” lists instead of just “getting through life” lists. The focus was more on me and what I wanted the rest of my life to look like. The thought of journaling about my feelings terrified me but boy could I make one heck of a list. It was visual and safe and provided a place to start when at the time I didn’t know where to start. I could justify my decisions even when I already knew the answers by seeing my thought process in writing. My lists were neat and orderly – not at all like my life at the time. I could visualize where I might end up and according to my list it looked like a happy place.
For the first time ever I was beginning a new chapter all on my own. I started with a list of what life all by myself might look like. I knew I had to be OK with being alone and be happy alone before I could even think about the possibility of having another relationship. And there was always the chance that I might never meet someone else to share my life with. My notebook was filled with activities and tasks that I was capable of tackling alone. It reminded me that everything would be fine. I was empowered to know that I could travel, go to movies, eat out, make new friends, use a drill, drive around Boston and build a home all by myself. I practiced each little thing and then confidently checked it off my list. These bulleted thoughts encouraged me to breathe in and breathe out and not panic. Like a short inspirational prayer or mantra my “you’re going to be OK” list calmed me. “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this”. Look at your list. Look at all the things you can do. The sky is the limit. I needed that. It helped me sort out the tough stuff going on in my head and move on. Don’t sit around and do nothing. Look at your list. Do something on your list. Get up. Get dressed. Put one foot in front of the other. Do something on your list. Go somewhere on your list. Move forward.
My lists helped me feel strong and competent and worthy. I made a list of the best things to love about ME. I realized that I was a person with a great deal of love to give. I was fun and funny and smart and engaging. I could carry on an interesting conversation. I was a great companion for just the right person. I deserved to be loved by someone who thought I was special. After a long term marriage I wasn’t exactly sure what that kind of relationship might look like. I knew some things would have to be different. So I wrote it down. I made a list of what a loving relationship looked like to ME. I made a list of how I deserved to be treated. I made a list of all the things I wanted and liked to do which provided insight into the kind of person I truly SHOULD be with! My new partner would be kind, loving, happy, a good communicator, and adore me! He would make me laugh. He would love and accept me just as I was. Flaws and all. He would also like to play Scrabble, drink wine, eat good food, travel, go to lectures, visit museums, listen to music, explore and have fun doing those things with me.
When I weakened I looked at my list. When I was willing to sacrifice my own happiness for someone else’s wish list I looked at my own list. When I was willing to give up some of the things that were important to me I looked at my list. When someone was not treating me the way I wanted to be treated I looked at my list. I was determined not to settle. I was prepared to live alone because my list told me I could do it. My checklists provided guidance and saved me a lot of relationship heartache.
Shortly thereafter I met the man of my dreams. He’s kind, loving, caring, calm and he adores me. He likes to do the same things I like to do and we have fun discovering new things to do together. It’s all on my list! He appreciates my honesty and feels special in knowing that I did not settle. He is absolutely the best of everything on my list. In planning our wedding we were instructed to bring a reading that represented our feelings about each other. Of course, I made a list of the “50 Things I Love About You”. It is a list is that I keep adding to it every year. I can never find fault with this wonderful man because there are just so many things to love. And I have it in writing!
I believe in the laws of attraction. I do believe in the power of prayer, destiny, karma, serendipity, God or whatever other universal power is working to make things happen when they need to happen. I’ve seen evidence of that so many times in my own life. Creating a list (or even a vision board) may or may not facilitate what happens next but it puts it out into the universe. It alters your thinking. It provides direction and sets things in motion. It forces you to see in black and white what is most important to YOU and the life you want to lead. Consciously or subconsciously when you write it down you move towards making your best wishes come true.
My lists have changed as my goals, values, interests and lifestyle has changed. It needs to. Otherwise it becomes stagnant and you become stuck. I still get stuck in the mundane lists (clean house, laundry, cook) sometimes. More and more I try to put the things that make life enjoyable at the top of my agenda:
- Spend quality time with my hubby
- See my adult kids as much as I can
- Hug my dog
- Have fun
- Play outside
- Eat good food and drink good wine (life’s too short to buy cheap wine!)
- Learn interesting things (and new words) everyday
- Spend time with fun people.
In September 2014 I wrote a post (now known as “a listicle”) entitled “Bucket List”. That was one of my favorites (go back and read it) and includes my most important life list. If I died tomorrow it wouldn’t matter if all my other lists were left incomplete. But like a good “listicle” my personal lists tell a story. A story about me. If people looked at my lists they might know what was important to me, what I like doing, and what I am all about. Not planning on “checking out” anytime soon but I better go make my “end of life party” list. I want everyone to have fun and talk about what you know about me. It could be “10 Things I Liked About You” or the “10 Things I Hated About You”.The party will include lists and lists of my favorite quotes. There will be a play list of all my favorite music. And a long list of favorite foods to eat in my honor.
So start making your list! You’re all invited.