101 Things Life Is Too Short Not to Do

101 Things Life Is Too Short Not to Do

I took an excellent workshop this week about how to teach others to take care of themselves – physically, mentally, spiritually. I don’t always get to do that kind of thing in my job, so it’s a real pleasure when I do, and I’m really looking forward to sharing what I learned with young people and adults.

One of the greatest concepts we were exposed to as participants was a simple one. More of a reminder really. They gave us a worksheet and asked us to write down the things that gave us joy, and asked us to complete the phrase “Life is too short not to…”

Working for only two minutes, I came up with quite a list. (Try it! You’ll like it!) I wanted to carry it out as far as I could. So I’m sharing my list with you. I’d love to hear what you’d add to it!

  1. Paint the picture that waits in your mind’s eye. It doesn’t matter if it looks the same on the canvas. Sometimes we don’t really know what it looks like until we do the work.
  2. Play in the rain until your clothes are heavy and your skin streams with it, and the rain can’t tell you from the leaves of a tree.
  3. Dig in dirt that will grow things – beautiful things that nourish you body and spirit.
  4. Read your favorite book again.
  5. Plant seeds. Water them. Clear a path for the sun.Plant seeds. Water them. Clear a path for the sun.
  6. Understand yourself and give yourself the gift of compassion.
  7. Then become your own mystery, and come to understand yourself again. It’s how we change and grow.
  8. Revel in the dirt under your fingernails and caked to  your knees and arms and face and my-goodness-how-did-the-dirt-get-there?
  9. Then take a hot shower. I’ve never felt so clean as after a shower on my dirtiest day.
  10. Accept yourself for who you are today.
  11. Do something that yesterday, you would have believed was unacceptable.
  12. Laugh out loud.
  13. Laugh until you snort.
  14. Laugh some more.
  15. Stop and breathe.
  16. Swing your swing as high as it will go.
  17. Eat a bowl of ice cream for dinner (every now and again).
  18. Take your time when you eat your favorite fruit. Use all of your senses. Realize the full feel and flavor of that juicy morsel!
  19. Let a piece of chocolate melt on your tongue.
  20. Roll around and wrestle with a dog.
  21. Sleep in a bar of sunlight with a cat.
  22. Try to figure out what makes your cat purr. Then do more of that.
  23. Bottle feed a baby – human or animal.
  24. Hold a (tame) snake. Let go of the fear. It’s incredible every time it “sniffs” you with its tongue!
  25. Sit still long enough for a butterfly to land on you.
  26. Lie in a hammock all day long with someone you love.
  27. Rock on the front porch all afternoon waving to everyone you meet.
  28. Go barefoot. Curl your toes into and against whatever surface you are on. Feel the freedom creep up your body!
  29. Dance with complete abandon for the sheer exhilaration of feeling your body move.
  30. Sing out loud (even if it’s off-key).
  31. Roll down a hill like you did when you were a child.
  32. Crawl into your tent before you’re tired so you can listen to the woods come alive.
  33. Hike – go off the trail without GPS. Be so present and pay so much attention to your surroundings that you can’t get lost. (You can always turn the GPS on later to find your way back).
  34. Appreciate each season – of the year and of life.
  35. Delve into the colors in nature – more subtle and more pure than any artist’s rendering,
  36. Revel in the sensation of an animal’s fur against your skin.
  37. Forget yourself enough to smile the kind of smile that splits your face in two and shows your gums and makes your eyes wrinkle – the happiest, free-est smile of all.
  38. Sleep with the windows open so the cool night breeze blows across your skin.
  39. Swim in an ice-cold lake.
  40. Make a plan for yourself.
  41. Go off the plan.
  42. Try something you never thought you’d try.
  43. Travel to faraway places, and explore every inch of the region you call home.
  44. Stay home and make it a place you love to be.
  45. Color with crayons. Use the well-loved nubbins of colors that other people throw away.
  46. Play in the mud and rub it, cool and smooth, on your skin.
  47. Make a personal rule that skinny-dipping is the only way to wash off mud like that.
  48. Turn your face to the wind and let it blow your hair into wild disarray.
  49. Teach children to make grass whistles, to watch the bugs skating on the water’s surface, and to see shapes in the clouds. They will love you for it!Teach children to make grass whistles
  50. Sleep outdoors every chance you get.
  51. Pick your own berries and eat them – fresh and warm in the field.
  52. Sniff a cat’s toes – so sweet!
  53. Take photos of things you love.
  54. Write about life and use poor grammar, because grammar really doesn’t matter when you’re just getting it down.
  55. Read Rumi and Wendell Berry and Anne Lamott.
  56. Drink lots of water.
  57. Get rid of as much “stuff” as you can. Lighten your load so much you can’t help but love what remains.
  58. Love yourself – naked and natural – and build your style from there.
  59. Spend the night camping on a sandbar with friends. Listen to the river flow by all night long.
  60. Join the circle around a bonfire. Spend the whole evening watching the flames, talking, laughing, and listening.
  61. Drive the countryside without GPS. See where you end up.
  62. Walk someplace you drive every day to see it in slow motion.
  63. Stroll down Main Street and say hello to everyone your meet.
  64. Read a book recommended to you by someone of another gender and another generation and another culture.
  65. Hold someone else up in a way that they need even if you don’t completely understand.
  66. Have the courage to allow yourself to be held up when you need it.
  67. Eat ice cold watermelon after a long hike on a hot day.
  68. Eat fresh-caught fish cooked over a campfire.
  69. Get plenty of rest, plus a little more for good measure.
  70. Spend more time playing than shopping.
  71. Wake up to sunshine and birds instead of bells and the news.
  72. Climb a tree as high as you dare to see the world from a different perspective.
  73. Kiss someone in such a way that they can feel every bit of the love you hold for them.
  74. Create something. It doesn’t have to be beautiful in any traditional sense of the word. Create it of yourself and without holding back, and it will be beautiful in every other sense of the word.
  75. Explore your personal culture. Talk to your elders about where you came from. Eat your people’s food. Sing your songs. Dance your dance.
  76. Figure out how your personal culture fits into your view of yourself.
  77. Learn the names of the flowers and the trees and the rocks. Their stories are in their names.
  78. Find a way to remember people’s names. No excuses. Make it a priority. Their stories are in their names as well, and by holding their names in your memory, they will know you care.
  79. Listen to music that fills your soul and won’t let you be still or silent.
  80. Weep when the spirit moves you. It’s one of the most sincere things a person can do.Weep when the spirit moves you.
  81. Send prayers and/or positive energy when you hear sirens. It might be you in the emergency vehicle next time, and you’ll need all the help you can get.
  82. Wear shoes that are kind to your feet, jeans that hug your curves without binding, and tops that make you feel beautiful.
  83. Watch a storm come across the horizon with all of its power, its beauty, its grace, and its intensity.
  84. Get up early enough to watch the sunrise (at least sometimes).
  85. Identify the one thing that leads to the greatest stress in your life. Find a way to let it go – either the stress, the thing causing it, or both.
  86. Identify the person, place or thing that you love more than any other. Pretend you’re seeing them for the first time. Drink in every detail.
  87. Be generous with your time. Know when to be generous with others and when to be generous with yourself.
  88. Look for a person or a place, or at least a moment, that gives you peace. Don’t give up until you find it!
  89. Do the things you’ve pinned on Pinterest or read about online.
  90. Take the best advice that you’ve given to other people. Live it yourself.
  91. Hug someone. Hold them for an extra minute or two. Squeeze them extra tight so they feel how much you care.
  92. Give people second chances. Recognize when they’ve earned third and fourth chances.
  93. Reach. Stretch. Push your boundaries. Trust your roots.
  94. Give up on perfection. It’s impossibly boring! Strive for perfectly you.
  95. Let go of living by the clock. That round face is miserly when it should be generous and lavish when we want less.
  96. Be ruthless in removing feelings, possessions, and thoughts that do not serve you.
  97. Dig out all of the things you have tucked away for rainy days and special occasions. It’s raining somewhere. Make today special.
  98. Step by step, align yourself with the person you truly want to be.
  99. Make your own list, and live it!

I’m hoping to live more and more of this list as the year goes on.

What is your #1 thing that life is too short not to do? What would you add to this list?

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8 thoughts on “101 Things Life Is Too Short Not to Do

    • Thanks Jacque! I did. It seems so worthwhile to put together a list like this one. I hope I don’t forget anything on it! There are some I really want to work on.

  1. This list is a work of art… so exquisitely imagined and brought to life in words that sing, dance, roll, breathe, and skinny-dip. To unfurl the very life of life in this vibrant way is exhilarating to behold, and ultimately, to become. Bravo!

    • Thank you Diana! May your own list make you feel and help you become as filled with life. Best, Monica

  2. This list is so inspiring and beautiful, Monica! I’m going to share it in my next “Joyful Finds for the Weekend” at my blog. Whenever I can catch up with your blog, I feel kinder and smarter for having read it. 🙂 Thank you!

    • Joy,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment and especially for sharing this page! I find that when I need a boost, I come back and find this list. I always find something worthwhile in it, again and again.

      Have a beautiful weekend! I know you’ll find a way to make it so. 🙂

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