Berate or Celebrate?

It is halfway through the year of 2022, and therefore time to look at how I am doing on my 22 for 22 Plan (link here – Jan 2 2022).  As it’s also halfway through the summer (because in Florida, summer is full on by May 1), I have my “Summer of 22 Fun” list to review as well (link here – May 2022).  Yes, I love lists!  I feel like that might be announcing a major flaw (Hi, I’m Pat. I’m a list lover.), but I do love lists of all kinds and use them extensively.

As I started these reviews, I wondered, “Do I berate myself for lack of accomplishment?  Do I celebrate what I have done?  Do I re-energize things I really still want to do?  Do I ask myself why this is on the list at all?”  Yes, even more than loving lists, I love to think about things.  So I’m thinking about how to use my lists better.

I do not want to berate myself at all!  Lists for me are positive things. I organize my thoughts in lists. I adore bullet pointing items and creating list-like charts. I track things (another form of list making) – books read, new things explored, or recipes tried – so I can re-savor the moments.  To help me feel organized and not leave someone out, I have lists of people to review for my monthly Intentional Connection set-ups or Fun with Friends planning. Lists are a form of structure… and yes, I am a structure enthusiast, too.

As I looked at my 22 for 22 Plan, there are actually over 75 to-do items listed on my longer copy!  My Summer of 22 Fun List has 72 items on it as well (with only 39 accomplished so far this summer).  Someone could look at all those items as potential misses (many of those items are really not going to happen) and start to berate.  I am shifting my thinking and simply viewing them as possibilities for how to execute the idea – possibilities for summer fun, possibilities for investing in experiences, possibilities for intentional connections, etc. I’m going to look at these how-to possibilities as inspirations to reenergize myself for the rest of the summer/year!

Also, if something is not being done and/or not yet planned, I will ask myself, is it something I really want to do or is it a family/cultural/societal imprinted “should”!  There are many of these items that pop up my lists – often in the areas of travel, volunteering, and family connections. It’s a challenge to dig down to really know what my authentic beliefs are.  I’ve worked through the “you should continue to work in retirement”  (aka you’re too young to not work and contribute in a second career).  I’ve come to terms with the “you should be creative and take classes to develop mastery at something” (see my recent post on this topic).  With my tendency to Compare & Despair and an inner voice that constantly tells me I’m not good enough, seeing other’s travel plans, volunteering activities, and family connections regularly results in those ideas ending up on my own to-do lists. These are areas I’m reviewing for “should versus real desire” on both my 22 for 22 Plan and my Summer of Fun list.

Number 22 on my 22 for 22 Plan is actually “celebrate the wins”!   With that in mind, here are some of my year-to-date celebrations (with a few gentle nudges on re-energizing, and no berating!):

  • On my New Experiences Tracking, part of the how in Invest in Experiences (#1 on my 22 for 22 Plan), I am up to 83 new experiences!  WooHoo.  Since many of these were Fun-with-Friends (and I was the designated planner for many – an important how-to), it’s a double positive whammy on Intentional Connections (#11 on my 22 for 22). It was nice to see a number of solo experiences as well – those are challenging for me (Courage is #14). Lots of new restaurants tried (#3 Savor Culinary Experiences!), and quite a few new crafting techniques. Crafting is definitely a big new exploration area this year – Get Crafty is number 19 on my 22 for 22 Plan and I wrote about it here (blog link). It was tough to pick my favorite YTD experience – I have to go with alligator & bird spotting in the Everglades on an airboat ride with friends – that just hit so many joy buttons for me!
  • Being active is not only on my 22 for 22 Plan twice, it is also part of my retirement lifestyle vision statement (Active Body, Connected Heart, Creative Spirit, Contemplative Mind.) While there is always more I can do (bike rides and park walks remain on those how-to possibilities lists!), I am doing weekly Beach Yoga, weekly Zoom Zumba, and now bi-weekly Cardio Drumming. And loving it all! Plus I have been doing more of my far-off-friend connections as beach walks – getting out into nature, moving, and connecting – another multiple positive whammy.
  • I’m doing well on Boosting my Love of Learning (# 6 of 22) with my tangent blog posts this spring (from cultivating an emerging feminine consciousness to goddesses and childhood abandonment), my books read (at 36 of a 52 yearly goal, a mix of fiction and non-fiction), and my new summer study focus.  Getting crafty and being more active does take some time away from learning, reading, and synthesizing.

Lots of items on both lists are simply daily living – morning journal, daily gratitude, daily crossword puzzle, weekly blog post, regular gardening, savoring our view. There are definitely a few items I need to consider deeper on the why I’ve not planned, executed, or even moved the needle.  Not the Big Challenge of getting hubby to organize, de-clutter and reduce – #21 on the 22 for 22 Plan was always a long shot. It’s the travel planning, the selling old things on eBay, the hosting dinner parties, and the get out on the SUP.  I need to give more thought as to why these possibility ideas never turn into real plans and executions.

Net, it’s celebrate. Not berate.

Do you have yearly or seasonal plans/lists?  And if so, do you do a regular review to berate or celebrate?

Picture Credit: photo from recent hike at Watkins Glen New York on a quick family visit.

16 thoughts on “Berate or Celebrate?

  1. Pat, I recognized that opening photo as being Watkins Glen. We have visited there a couple of times and love it. It is a photographer’s dream environment.

    As far as berate or celebrate, it’s celebrate, hands down. I love that your list keeps you focused on what you want to accomplish without confining you to just those things. Flexibility is the absolute key to a successful retirement!

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    1. Suzanne, You’re the second person who recognized it! I did not realize it was that famous. And my photo does not do it credit at all. I didn’t have a summer hike on my summer plan… so yeah, I’d like to think my lists are not confining, but allowing me to take advantage of opportunities as well as make opportunities happen with planning.

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  2. I live by list’s. Long term, short term, ideas and pros and cons. Can’t imagine life without them. Yes I know that there is more to life than being organized but it is my “control” and my directions. I also am willing to go with new adventures if the opportunity arises. So I get where you are coming from! Bernie

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    1. Bernie – And I am trying to get even more open to opportunities as (when, if) they arise. But among all the folks I’m meeting, I tend to be the one doing most of the planning and inviting. I’m hoping in time, they will ask me to join in to their planned activities. Because, yes, in the world of social media, I know some of them are planning and doing things and not inviting me.

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  3. I love lists also. My challenge is a system for keeping track of all of them. I would be interested in finding out how you keep track of so many lists and keep them readily at hand to add/cross of items? Spreadsheet? Bullet journal? Travelers notebook? I always seem to want them close at hand, for easy updating.

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    1. Lynn, I’m not that organized. I have three journals at the moment – my morning journal, a bullet-like weekly planner (sits on my desk), and note-taking for blog inspiration – which moves around to where ever I’m reading! My morning journal I write in every day in the same place – it’s the largest of the three (physically) and can hold a full letter-size printed page. That has my tracking lists on the back pages, where I note when I’ve had a new experience, finished a book, or tried a new recipe. The front pages I slide in my printed lists – my 22 for 22, my seasonal fun, and my Living with Intention “list” which is my retirement lifestyle vision statement with what each area includes (active body, connected heart, creative spirit, contemplative mind).

      My bullet-like weekly planner – I do keep lists there, but often it’s more notes on new things to think about, errands to run, specifics on plans made, who I invited to what event.

      I tend to look at my morning journal every morning, and so having the big lists and trackers there is easier…. and the printed pages fit into it nice.

      When I did travel, I did a (separate) travel journal where I kept track of what we did/saw each day. As I haven’t traveled in a long time now, that’s not been an active one. It was great to recall the trips when we went through all our pictures after the fact – what was that bird’s name or what was that trail name.

      That help?

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      1. Yes that’s helpful. Your system is really simple, which makes it easy to sustain. I tend to overthink it and get bogged down in the details of how to get it organized and lose sight of why I am doing this in the first place!

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  4. I prepare quarterly seasonal fun lists. I got the idea from another blog (Laura Vandekam’s). It helps me to think about seasonal fun that otherwise might go by the wayside if I don’t plan for it.

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    1. Beth – I got the seasonal fun list idea a few years back from another blogger, too (Leslie in El Paso) and do one most seasons. It does act as a great reminder to tap into the season’s activities. I’m learning that Florida seasons are way different than Ohio seasons though.

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  5. I only do this for my knitting, not the rest of my life. I use both a “list” of items I want to knit for the year (including laying it out on a calendar) and knitting goals such as try a new pattern designer, knit a baby item, etc. I view both of these as “suggestions” and use my mid and end of year reviews as learning opportunities rather than missed accomplishments. Did I learn that I don’t really want to knit baby items?? Did I overschedule how many projects I can do in a year without making knitting a burden. The rest of my life I let float by, no goals of have X dinners with friends, plan Y trips, etc. Maybe someday I’ll want to do it but not so far in the first 10 years of retirement.

    Speaking of “shoulds” and travel…. my recent Schooner sailing trip to Maine reminded me on how I hate to travel and have to resist an expectation to travel to have a fulfilling life. While there were things I liked about the trip, I certainly wouldn’t do it again. This is a should I really have to avoid. As the cost of the travel goes up, so do the expectations for perfect weather, perfect food, perfect travel agendas, etc.

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    1. I did three Maine schooner trips years ago – returned twice because I loved it so much. I’m not sure if I’d feel the same now. We just did a long weekend trip to upstate New York to visit family – our first flight in over 3 years. While everything went well, and we really enjoyed seeing family – I was thrilled to get home and just settle back into life here. It was a good trip to dip our toes back into the water of traveling.

      I’ve seen your knitting lists and plans – it is way beyond anything I do! I like your “suggestions” term too…. kind of like my possibilities. “Learning opportunities” sounds way too much like a work term! But I get the idea, and I think it’s like my trying to understand why some things are just not moving into execution mode!

      I hopped over to see your post on the schooner trip…. at least you got some knitting done. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I’m pretty nuts with my timelines and stitch counts. But I’m finding it fun so that’s why I do it. Haha, yeah “opportunities” is rather workspeak but it helps me try to see misses as a positive.

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  6. Hi Pat – I’m quite a structured and logical Left Brain person but not a list maker. I really liked how you’re looking at them as “possibilities” rather than “must do’s” – I get trapped in the need to accomplish all that’s on the list, and recognizing that trait, I steer away from setting myself up for the berating you mention. Funnily enough, my brother is one of the laziest people I know, but he loves lists and always has a to-do list on his kitchen bench – it makes me smile seeing him tick little things off.

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    1. Leanne, I read somewhere, sometime that list making is definitely a personality trait that some people have and others don’t. I actually also get a kick being able to tick things off! Sometimes, I’ll add something to the list just to tick it off. Crazy, I know.

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    1. Some folks don’t need to-do lists; my hubby is one of those people, so I get it. I think I’d be miserable without them. Isn’t it grand we are all so different?

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