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To plan or not to plan, that is the question. When I fill in my calendar with events, meetings, obligations, and activities I feel a sense of importance and urgency. I find myself prioritizing and making difficult scheduling decisions. Can I possibly squeeze in a yoga class there? Would that be enough time to meet my friend for coffee? What time will I have to wake up to make sure I get that 5 mile run in? It feels a lot like putting together a puzzle; fitting together the people, places, and things that help define who I am. It is always amazing to me how much I can do when I take the time to plan out my week. I like having a reason to get up early in the morning and I like feeling tired at the end of a long day. Those are some of the pros to scheduling.

Unfortunately, when every day is filled up and I always have somewhere to be, I find myself having to say no to many spontaneous activities and opportunities. I sometimes feel stuck in the plans I have made and then I do not enjoy myself fully. I might be wishing I was somewhere else, or with someone else. I miss out on some of life’s biggest and best surprises. Also, with little to no down time, I find it harder to justify sleeping in, wearing pajamas all day, or even going for a long walk. There is joy in simple relaxation and availability. I suppose it comes back to balance. The balance between plans and spontaneity, productivity and laziness, society and solitude, adventure and comfort.

I encountered this need for balance recently when my life went from 5 mph to 60 mph in less than a week’s time. For months I was unemployed, unencumbered, and unplanned. There was so little for me to do that there was no need to schedule anything at all. I woke up every day and said yes to every opportunity that arose. If someone wanted to have lunch, sure, I could do that. If it was a sunny day then I might decide to drive out to Mt. Hood National Forest and go for a hike. Heck, I could even decide to do a spontaneous backpacking trip if I wanted. It probably sounds great to most, but I was bored and I longed for structure and plans. Everything changed when I got hired at my new job a couple weeks ago. Now, with limited availability, I can’t do everything and be everywhere. I have to make choices about how I want to spend my precious time. And so I have begun to plan. This is something I can spend hours doing. Looking up events, activities, etc. and then plugging them into my calendar. Calling friends and scheduling time to get together. “I can do Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning, or between noon and 3 on Sunday.” Even penciling in chores and phone calls: “Vacuum Thursday morning after yoga and before work.”

It did not take long to recognize that by eliminating spontaneity, I was eliminating a major source of joy and comfort. I want to be free to take advantage of nice weather, to say yes to a friend who is going on an adventure, and to feel peace when I decide to spend 5 hours immersed in a good book instead of always going places and doing things. Recognition of limitations is really as far as I have come in my own planning experience. I hope to find a healthy balance between making plans (so that I get to do the things that matter to me) and having a flexible, open schedule (so that I can take advantage of opportunities as they arise).

Today I read a book by Anne Lamott called Imperfect Birds and I came across two different quotes that stood out to me. In their own way, they each relate perfectly to this topic. The first is from the poet Rilke. He says, “I know there is room in me for a huge and timeless life.” Wow. This gives me hope and reminds me that the time I have is sufficient for everything I need and want to do. Later in the book a character states, “There is wilderness inside you, and a banquet. Both.” Life cannot be all banquet or all wilderness. I must leave room for the different parts of me, and patiently learn how to embrace all of my needs.


I just wanted to point out that I have a page on my blog (next to the About page which I have yet to create) called the “List Archive” where I keep all of the lists that have been posted in my blogs. I update these lists as necessary and may even reorganize them if that’s what makes sense. I want to encourage everyone to visit the “List Archive”, look through my lists, and then suggest in a comment items that I could either add to a list or other lists that you hope to see. Of course I am just getting started and I already have so many more lists to include, but you may have some ideas that I haven’t thought of, so please share! That’s all…thanks for listing!

So little time. It seems like every day I am reminded of one more cool activity or adventure that I want to include in my one short life. The saying “jack of all trades, master of none” applies quite accurately to me, or at least to what I aspire to. I don’t care about being the best in any one thing, which is good since the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim, but I do want to be competent at many different things.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed trying to decide what to focus my time and energy on. One day, for example, I might hear about someone I know who is planning to bike across the country and I’ll feel a mixture of excitement, anticipation, envy, and longing. Sometimes the longing is so strong that I consider dropping everything and joining that person on their adventure! For anywhere from a few hours to a couple days I’ll concentrate on how much I love biking and how I really should do more to further my skills and incorporate more of it into my life. But then something else will come along, like I’ll see an ad for a free rowing clinic being offered in the Willamette, and then my mind will race around ideas of joining a club team and committing to 5:30 am practices so that I can get good at rowing and eventually compete. I have begun to notice that this is not the case for ALL activities and adventures, which is somewhat reassuring. As I get older, I am becoming more aware of the difference between my actual interests, and interests that other people like so I think I might like. For example, I know I don’t like (and don’t want to learn to like) jet skiing, or film making, or painting, or any number of other activities.

I imagine that as the years go by and as I make it into my 30’s I will be able to narrow down my interests even further. I don’t want to spread my time and energy so thin that I don’t get to fully participate in those things I really love to do. So here is a long list of the activities that I do enjoy, appreciate, care about, and want to make sure I fit into my life. I have split this list into sublists for my own organization and clarification. I hope this inspires you to make a list of the activities that you enjoy. Also, obviously this post is dedicated to my activities list, but hopefully future posts will continue to focus in on the activities themselves.

Sea kayaking
*River kayaking
Paddle boarding
Mountain climbing
*Rock climbing
Road biking
Mountain biking
Cross country skiing
Alpine skiing
*Backcountry skiing

*Activities I think I would enjoy, want to learn to enjoy, or still need to learn how to do to enjoy

I have decided to start keeping a blog. On occasion I browse through old friends’ blogs and I am always struck by how interesting they seem. Even though I am reading about someone else’s life, I usually feel grateful that they are sharing it with me. I know that this blog is as much for me as it is for anyone reading it, and I have come to accept that as a beautiful and realistic aspect of blogging. This is my journal, as well as my soapbox, portfolio, agenda, and scrapbook.

While I appreciate the creative, unique, and often eclectic nature of posting on a blog, I do plan on developing a theme around living deliberately. In recent years I have found myself referencing my “bucket list” on a regular basis. I have always been a planner and have always kept lists, but this one list in particular has really seemed to find its way into my heart. I plan on exploring the origins and use of the “bucket list” in a future post, but for now I’ll say that if my blog inspires just one reader to get off the couch and cross something off their own bucket list then I will have met my goal.

I have found myself at a sort of crossroads in my life. I am (mostly) unemployed, living in a beautiful little duplex in a great part of SE Portland. I have a lot to show for my last 8 years of life (I am 26 years old) and yet I feel restless, lonely, confused, and bored. I have the feeling that I was meant to do great things, and somehow my days filled with morning jogs, hours of reading, and endless planning, cleaning, and “hanging out” aren’t seeming to cut it. I have learned so much, but what should I do with what I know? It always comes back to the same two questions, why am I here and where am I going. This is what I hope to explore through this blog, not just for myself, but for anyone else out there who also hopes to live deliberately.

I’ll say one more thing. I know that for me the answers to my questions lie in nature. I know that I feel more alive, healthy, and on track when I am hiking over a mountain, paddling a kayak, orienting a map, or doing any other outdoor activity than I do at any other time. So throughout this journey I’ll be referencing the wisdom of other naturalists who have gone before me. I will look to John Muir, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Kurt Hahn, and Paul Petzoldt, to name a few. I will search for women mentors too, beginning with Emily Dickinson and Catherine Freer. I am looking forward to this journey, and I hope that others will come along for the ride.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up somewhere else.”  -Yogi Berra



About Me

- 26 years old
- Pacific Northwest
- Educator, adventurer, friend

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