A few years ago, I started keeping a list of things I wanted to accomplish during the year. It was more than a to do list, but less than an actual “goals” list. I guess, I saw it as being more of an experience list. Eventually, it morphed into what I now consider a “just because” list. There is no rhyme or reason as to why I want to do these things; I just do. Most of them will not improve my life in any direct way that I can currently see. And that’s okay. This is literally a list of things I want to do, well, just because I want to.
When I started making this list a few years ago, it sucked so badly. Without fail, every year I would unintentionally transform this list into a goals list or a to do list and would immediately become burdened by the pressure of accomplishing it all. THIS IS NOT THAT LIST!!!
I cannot stress enough how liberating I’ve found it to be, having something I can refer back to when I’m feeling bored or when I’m presented with an opportunity. Heck, sometimes the presented opportunity is not even on the list and I add it because I feel like it. There are no strings attached to this list, or at least my goal is for there to be no strings attached. If I had to define a “just because” list, I guess it would most closely resemble a bucket list. But I have no intention of dying right now, and if I died without doing any of these things, I would be okay with that.
How to Create a Just Because List
My list was started right after my 29th birthday and initially resembled a “29 Things in My 29th Year” type thing. As time progressed, however, I decided to liberate myself from the limitations I imposed. What if I want to have more than 29 experiences? What if I can only come up with 10? What if I come up with 29 things and I think of something else? Should I take something away to accommodate the 30th thing? How do I weigh what’s more important? Again with that overthinking! So I decided, no limitations with regard to the number of things. The only limitation I would set for myself would be time. This is because I have a tendency to procrastinate, miss opportunities, and plan, plan, plan never to actually execute.
I started by asking myself the simplest question I could think of: What do you want to experience? Suspending current financial and physical limitations, what do you want to experience this year? Not what will make your life better on the surface. Not what you can currently afford. Not what you think you should be doing. And certainly not that which is simply a means to meeting a goal. Just what do you want to experience this year. This is what I came up with:
My 2017 Just Because List
Change my name
- Attend an NBA game
- Go out of the country to a place I’ve never been
- Go to MS
- Lose 80 pounds
Cut my hair
- Read 52 books
- Save 10k
- Visit New York
- Ride a roller coaster
- Take a solo trip
- Attend a professional/personal development conference
- Go camping
Take a family plane ride
- Visit my dad
Stand in the ocean
- Grieve my twenties–what was, what could have been, mistakes, etc
- Own 10 dresses (currently at 6/10)
- Go to a baseball game
- Attend a festival
- Practice yoga
- Get a commemorative tattoo
- See a Broadway show
- Take a dance class
- Complete a writing class or workshop
There are 2, maybe 3, things on this list that will help me in accomplishing a bigger goal. Most of this stuff is just that, stuff. Experiences. Non-pressure inducing. Liberating.
I’m slowly learning that a rich life is a well-lived life.