Check-lists, task-lists, to-do-lists. Lists of what it is that we want to do, plan to do, really, really need to do.

Most of us have one of these, or some variation of them. And they’re really helpful, especially for reminding us that we need to pick up the mail or the dry cleaning or milk, schedule the appointment or the meeting, toss the leftovers that are lurking in the back of the fridge before they rise up and attack.

So yes, lists and plans and to-do’s – good things. They keep us on top of things and keep our heads above water when we’re busy. And really, we’re all sort of busy. The thing is, to-do’s can fill a day fast and day can turn to night before you know it.

If you fill your minutes with too much minutiae you might just miss what’s most important.

The problem, of course, is that it’s way too easy to see that the floor needs sweeping and the pots need scrubbing and the shopping needs to get done.

It’s harder to see that taking care of our mind and our body and our spirit needs to get done.

But it does.

You’ve no doubt heard the story – that if you fill a container with large items first, the smaller ones can settle in and everything will fit, but if you fill it with the small stuff first, the larger ones might not make it in at all.

You’re made of the same stuff as the stars, did you know? A one in four-hundred-trillion chance of being here, and yet here you are, with a mind and a body and a spirit and maybe these are the larger things we ought to put in our containers first.

Einstein said “when you stop learning, you start dying” and it turns out he was sort of right. Learning something new each day – something outside your comfort zone – not only improves cognitive functioning, but also cognitive vitality.

Plus, you know, it’s fun.

And at the end of the day, oughtn’t we be able to say that we enjoyed it?


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