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Friday, January 14, 2011

The Happiness List

Photo: Joe King
Over the years, a number of variations of the bucket list have appeared and they all contain the same basic premise – make a list of things you want to accomplish, track them, and check them off as you go. It’s intentional living rather than reactional (I think I just made up a new word) living. 

I first heard about the idea in the movie, A Walk to Remember. Jamie had a list of 100 things she wanted to do before she died. Then I heard about 43 Things – a website where you list 43 things you want to do and you interact with others who are working toward the same goals. Then, of course, there was The Bucket List movie. More recently I read about The Mighty Life List. Just yesterday I read about a variation of these ideas called a Happiness List. It is similar to some of the other lists, but it also contains a twist.

This might be Rainbow Rowell overkill, but I read about the Happiness List in her latest article called New year’s disillusioned? Resolve to be happy. It is about a guy named Nicholas Schnell who chucked the idea of making an annual resolution list in favor of a happiness list – a list of stress-free items. On his list, he wrote things such as watch the original Freaky Friday with two of his friends and re-read Pride and Prejudice so he could read the zombie version.

But here’s the twist, he suggests getting friends to make lists, so on some lazy Friday night, when you can’t think of anything to do, you team up to help each other check something off your lists. If one of the items on a friend’s lists is, “try the new Italian restaurant downtown” and another friend’s list includes “check out the independent film festival,” you make a night of it and do both.

I love this idea for so many reasons.

First, for me and my friends, it would mean not going to Borders for the 43rd consecutive Friday night because we couldn’t figure out what else to do. Second, it means getting involved in activities our friends enjoy which will give us a view of who they are in their element. You can learn a lot about a person when he or she is in her element. Third, it would expose us to new things. Most new hobbies and passions begin after someone introduces us to them. I’m also thinking it would make for some great memories.

As a variation, I’m thinking it would be a good idea to list 50 items that could be done with one or more friend and 50 items that could be done individually. 

What do you think?


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