I’ve always been somewhat of a compulsive list maker. Post-its, to-do lists, and TeuxDeux on my iPhone keep my day-to-day schedule in order, getting me places (at least reasonably) on time, but when I graduated last May I realized that for the first time I could choose my next big step. The next five years are wide open. This was obviously an opportunity for some big list-making. While I had already nailed down my location (New York City, with a lot of traveling first) and my job (a consulting analyst) I suddenly realized that I had a range of possibilities beyond that, and crucially, an income to fund these things.
I’ve been in East and Southern Africa for the past six months, which has given me a little more time than usual to think, plan and pencil out the next few years. I’ve spent a lot of time in my own head, and during one of these angst-y sessions I stumbled upon a list (on Pinterest — where else?) of “101 things in 1001 days.” The original author, a blogger named Mackenzie, had written out a list of things both big and small that she hoped to accomplish in the next 1001 days (about three years). I was thrilled. It was the pinnacle of my list-making dreams, and on a business trip the next week, I sat down to pen my own list.
Being somewhat Type A about organization, my list is obviously broken down into subcategories: athletic goals, work goals, travel, etc. I have things from the frivolous (buy a pair of Charlotte Olympia heels) to the boring-but-important (take the GMAT) and the very exciting (go to Cuba). I’ve had to put most of these things on hold until I returned stateside (just try to join a CSA or go to the ballet in Tanzania) but I can’t wait to start crossing those items off my list when I return home.
The more I think about the next phase of my life, the more excited I am. The 20-somethings I know are amazing women who manage to juggle a casual competitive marathon habit with a full-time job, a blog, and Michelin-star cooking capabilities. While this may take a bit of planning (and more lists) I think the things we do “on the side” are as important as our jobs. My disparate passions (gluten-free foods, long-distance running, the environment and a serious travel addiction, amongst other things) are things that I want to make time for, that will enrich my life and even make me more productive at work. So when I return stateside in a few short weeks, I’ll be applying to be a coach with Girls on the Run, doing some unrealistic real estate shopping with my sister, cleaning out my closet, buying a GMAT book, signing up for the Philadelphia marathon, and cracking open some cookbooks.
What do you have on your to-do list?