Thanks to my favorite columnist, USA Today’s Craig Wilson, I have yet another book to add to my Christmas wish list.
He turned me on to the hottest new book to hit the shelves. It’s a treasure trove of people’s life stories, tales from celebrities such as Stephen Colbert to tales from your Average Joes.
The book, “Not Quite What I Was Planning” (Harper, $16.95), presents an intimate look into their lives. All in six words.
Sounds like a challenge, doesn’t it? Of all the words in the English language (and if you think a simple dictionary houses all of them, I invite you to acquaint yourself with the massive Oxford English Dictionary; good luck carting that thing home on your bike), how can you restrict yourself to a mere six? Your life, your experiences, your passions, your loves, your hates, your gripes, your likes, your ENTIRE life story reduced to six words?
My life is better than yours, perhaps? Get me off this crazy ride, even?
If you’re still stumped, leave it to me to provide a more in-depth explanation because of course “I can show you all how.” See, I just did it right there.
MORE JUICE AFTER THE JUMP….
I first posed the question to my mother and sister. I could tell they needed to think hard about this all-important question, so I sat there silently and waited. Eventually, my mother’s eyes lit up and a little chuckle escaped her lips. I took this as a sign she’d come up with her summation.
“It’s in one of my bins.”
Yup, I’d agree with this one. As of now, she has about four different bins, all different colors, filled to the brim with papers, mail, winter apparel and the occasional pen. She “claims” she’ll clean them out over the holiday break. We’ll see.
I couldn’t wait to see what my sister would decide for her life story. She pondered for a bit and then offered up this summary:
“What exactly was the question again?”
Ahh, yes. This fit her perfectly. She’s the sort of girl who lives in her own world sometimes. It must be a pretty magical world because more often than not, she’s lost in it. Thinking. Contemplating. All the while when we’re trying to talk to her or ask her questions. I’ve stopped fighting it; I now think of it as a cute little quirk of hers.
And of course because “they don’t know me at all,” they were left speechless when I asked them what they thought would be my six words of choice. Well, let me give them – and you – a little refresher course. I’m a forthright person (“I know what people should do.”). I work hard (“She works hard for the money.”). And I have full authority (“Always question people’s truths. Except mine.”).
Our lives are filled with so much – so many hopes, dreams, disappointments, triumphs, fourth-quarter victories. It can be head-swirling trying to capture all that. But I suppose it comes down to this: What does your life mean to you? Other people may have their opinions about you, but what matters most is how you choose to view your life, how you want to be remembered for the long haul.
Perhaps six words could also help you focus on what you want your life to be in the future. A way to focus and think long and hard about what you really want in life … five, 10, 20 years from now. It might not be a whole life plan, but at least it’s a good, solid start. And besides, who needs pages and pages of life plans anyway? That’s totally overrated. I’m a big fan of the “slow and steady wins the race” philosophy.
At the very least, it’s a powerful exercise; that’s for sure. Especially for me, a woman who loves to have passionate love affairs with words.
Now if you’ll excuse me, “I must go save the world.” After all, “Someone has to do it all.” “It might as well be me.”