Refine My Plan – Relook at my Possibilities List

Recently a blogger posed the question: What thing(s) would you really regret not checking off your bucket list? It made me go: Hmmm.

I am a planner. I have an action plan and check lists and daily/weekly calendars. Not everyone needs this, but for me, it keeps me balanced.

I’m a worrier; I wake up at night with scenarios running through my head. I believe that planning contingencies turns chaotic concerns into organized, more positive sequences. (My hubby thinks I just worry & stress out too much!) I’m actually not strict about adhering to the plan in place. I can move to Plan B or Plan C pretty quickly, especially given I’ve run multiple scenarios in my head.

But I do need a (singular) plan.   And that plan almost always includes some bucket list items.

As I’m about to reach another major post-work milestone (our downsized move), it’s a perfect time to rethink my action plan and daily/weekly calendar. Maybe even update how I am manifesting my vision with new mantras/affirmations.   The last time I hit a major post-work-life milestone, it felt anti-climactic.   I’m hoping some intentional planning will avoid that feeling again.

In this plan refinement, one thing I’m doing is relooking at my Possibilities List.

  • What thing(s) would I really regret not checking off?   What on my possibilities list will bring me joy now? What aligns with my self-discovery – what possible adventures fit my conservative, mainstream, mid-west, structured personality?
  • Why do some items on my possibilities list create a feeling of gut clenching? Is it just the idea of trying them makes me feel like I’m already failing/incompetent? Or is it because they really do not match what’s important to me?


It’s also a good time to re-look at what activities that I’ve added in the past 2 years – which stay and which go? Intentional choices and not just activity by default!

  • Is there anything on my calendar that I’m doing, not because I want to or it’s the right thing for my life/my family, but because it’s expected of me? Or because I’ve invested a bunch of time/money/life pursuing that path and I don’t want to admit failure/it’s not working?

I know in this new (down-sized) space I have to create new habits.

  • I have to plan new things to boost my physical activity – find a new yoga studio, walk the new neighborhood, explore the bike path (next spring).
  • I think it is time to try some charity work, something I have not done yet in retirement beyond monetary donations. I’ve not ever felt a huge desire to volunteer/give back; I also felt that this lack reflected on me as being a bad person, a failure in the human race. So I’m going to intentionally try volunteer work this next year.
  • I will be looking into exploring new interest areas from my possibilities list (like birding!) and planning our next big vacation. The downsized house is supposed to give us a higher degree of flexibility for travel, so I need to plan what is needed to make that a reality.

It’s feeling good to refine my plan and relook at possibilities. I’m excited because this downsizing move feels like a fresh start into making my retirement vision a reality.

What things are on your possibility list that you might want to kick-start?


Photo Credit:  Tim Doyle – Lilac Roller, Africa 2017


22 thoughts on “Refine My Plan – Relook at my Possibilities List

  1. Sounds like you’re headed in a good direction to me. I will say that while I’m not doing the Mission trips that I used to do for many years through our church, I found that there really simple ways to volunteer and reach out. A pretty painless way is to think about people you know who may be caregivers or stuck in that sandwich generation taking care of kids and their parents. Having been the recipient of many acts of caring through numerous surgeries and bedrest and the birth of my triplets and needing help with them for a very long time I can say that just showing up and visiting somebody who could use some adult conversation is a really good place to start. There’s so many people like my mother for instance who is 89 and still going pretty strong except being sent back now by vertigo which means she can’t drive, she is just the type of person who loves a visit or somebody calling in saying I’m going to the grocery store can I pick up something for you or I’m stopping by Wendy’s and going to get a big potato and some chili and coming to see you so don’t eat yet I’m bringing you some. It’s really amazing how far little things can go like calls and cards and hospital visits or relieving somebody who sitting by a sick person so they can go get some coffee or something. So that’s my thought on the subject. Sorry if it’s unsolicited but I just thought you should not beat yourself up or think of yourself as not being helpful in the human race because I’m sure you’re doing way more to help people than you know. A smile even goes a long ways. Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always get such inspiration from posts like yours, Pat, to when I really do retire for good. In the meantime, we are adjusting our up-sized downsized house (started as a 900 sq feet home, but added to the master bedroom). Still small but with recent improvements, I’m in the mood to dump knick knacks and other dust-collectors. That is an ever-onward bucket list item, but at least it’s on the list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, there is the continual de-clutter/ get rid of stuff on my to-do list as well. Adjusting to this downsized space will take a few months…but I’m not sure I can dump too many knick-knacks…they hold lots of memories for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah yes, the ‘ol bucket list. Or if you’re a fan of the show “Keeping Up Appearances,” I guess it would be the Bouquet list. Maybe, perhaps, etc. Anyway, Even though I’m one of the world’s most non-religious people around, it was on my list to join a local synagogue after we moved to our Forever” home city. We went a couple of times and then decided it wasn’t for us…. only to later decide perhaps we were too hasty. So we’ve put it back on the list — but for next> year. One shouldn’t rush these things, I suppose. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, you gave me a light-bulb moment! I had not put finding a new congregation to engage in on my list. I was attending a church for years for all the wrong reasons (obligation, mostly) and hated it. I’ll need to think about when and where to explore this again, because I think as I get older, I’ll want the comfort of church. I was raised Catholic; both of my parent were quite devout and found a great deal of comfort in their faith in later years. Agree that this is not something to be rushed, especially given my most recent experience. Thanks for the thought.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Pat,
    Once again, we’re in the same boat at the same time. For me, recent decision-making has been about my daily/weekly calendar. So many of my possibilities are everyday kinds of things, but the days are drifting by and I’m not getting around to them.
    My post this week is about Profound Journey’s first birthday tomorrow, but next week I’ll be talking about my new plans. They go by the acronym – RAW NEWS. How’s that for a teaser? I’d love your perspective if you have time to check it out next week in the midst of your downsizing and moving (not sure when that takes place).
    Thanks for yet another thoughtful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The move is almost complete. We are in the unpack and sort it all out stage..and put things in the Goodwill pile when they don’t fit anywhere! Unfortunately, hubby is much slower at this than me… and has way more stuff than me. So I’ll be living with “exploded boxes” for awhile. I

      t’s also about learning to live in the new space… little everyday things like where to sit for morning journalling, where to set up my bills-to-pay folder. Getting everything moved and the old house ready to put on the market was exhausting. We moved ourselves – yes, a bit crazy. So a lot of my daily/weekly habits went to the wayside. So that’s needs a restart as well.

      I often have things on my to-do list that drift day to day; one thing that’s worked for me is to put them as “meetings” on my calendar! Not just on my to-do list, but listed on my calendar – “Tuesday at 2PM – do X”. It works about half the time. 🙂 The others I wonder if I really, really want to do them or not!


  5. Hi Pat ~ I’ve never really looked at OUR LIST with the thought of “what would I really regret not doing.” That’s because the list just automatically includes anything that either of us says, “I wanna…” Sometimes we evaluate the list and take off the things that neither of us wants to do anymore – (really strenuous hikes come to mind!) We simply pick and choose from the current list.

    I think it’s more important to examine your day-to-day activities, and build in with intention those daily activities that are “right” for you! I love the idea of doing what you want, not what is expected. Bravo to you – I think I need to spend more time examining that myself! Thanks! ~ Lynn

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My possibility list is also anything that came with an “I wanna”… or even, “Maybe that would be interesting”. I have not dropped anything off yet, but I know some things will probably never happen and that’s OK. But looking at it with eyes of “what would I regret” is a different lens. I think my African Safari fit that lens; I wanted to do that for years. A few other trips might as well – The Vatican and Rome; the Northern Lights. Those are big things, not the daily activities. Daily stuff is cooking more (I made scones from scratch this morning in my new kitchen) and having friends over for dinner (OK, we need to not have exploded boxes in every room for that to happen). It’s quite fun to think of this time (downsize move) as a new beginning to things.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m still reeling from the recent insight ‘who do you want to be, rather than what do you want to do”.

    I’ve always been so focused on do, do, do, that I doubt I will ever have regrets about things I didn’t get around to … well, except for losing the extra poundage I’m perpetually carrying around.

    … but whether or not all that *doing* helps me end up being the person I would like to be remembered as … that’s a heady question.

    Having said all that, my New Things list is very long. Like you, I prefer to always have a plan – or several – in the wings 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had to laugh at your “extra poundage” comment. I finally came to terms with the fact that I was not going to loose the weight in retirement that so many others did. OK, mostly men, but some women as well. They found that they could exercise more regularly, add in more walking, eat healthier. Yes, there were the few that went the other way with an everyday is a vacation day mindset – drink wine, have dessert. Me, I tried the more exercise and eat better… and not a pound dropped. So I said, oh well, love the body you have – it was in fact better toned with the Zumba and Yoga. Then, the move – lifting weights (boxes and furniture – we moved ourselves) and stairs, lots and lots of stairs. And I dropped 10 pounds. Now I have to think…. do I toss out the loose clothes? LOL.

      I’m a doer as well. I’ve come to the insight that the activities I engage in reflect the who I want to be. I want to be healthy. I want to be active. I want to be a good hostess – good food, good wine and good conversation is what I want my home to be known for. I want to be a loving wife. And a supportive friend. So the (what) activities I choose reflect that who.

      And I will never, ever get to all of the possibilities on my list… and that is OK. Because I am learning to sometimes just be, not do!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. In accordance with Getting Things Done (GTD) principles, I have kept Someday/Maybe lists for years. I look at them occasionally and add or subtract as necessary depending on my shifting interests. I am a Myers-Briggs ENFP after all, so I am seemingly interested in everything!

    I would say that there are items in several categories that I would regret not checking off.

    A trip to Australia & New Zealand is the travel item I would probably regret most not experiencing.

    In the personal development area, I would be most upset about not learning to play piano.

    I won’t list them all, but the idea is that I could not just name one item that I would regret.

    On the other hand, tomorrow is promised to no one and who knows how much time remains for me. There’s no way I will ever get to everything on my lists, but I’m ok with that. As long as I make progress and keep accomplishing things, I’ll be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure the downsizing will be a topic for awhile. I am living with “exploded boxes” – unpacking and figuring out where things will go… or not. Big trip to Goodwill this week, and the pile began again already.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi, Pat – As you actively look at adding to your ‘Possibilities List’– I am trying to reduce, or at least refine, mine! Congratulations on your move and your downsizing. I look forward to reading what ‘possibilities’ end up on your list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting you’re trying to reduce your list… I’m always looking to add to mine. Not because that I will ever do everything on the list, but it’s always stimulating to review it and go…hey, that would be so cool to do this month/ this year.

      It’s been quite a challenge to look at the next stage action plan. Our move is not yet done – the unpacking and settling in is taking time. More time than I expected. But I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s