The book Listography: Your Life in Lists is a guided journal that’s meant to help you create your autobiography through lists. I turn to this book whenever I’m faced with a bad case of writer’s block and recently I came across this writing prompt: List the things you’re glad you did.
It’s easy to list things like:
- Married my best friend
- Embraced my curly hair (so I can buy cool t-shirts about it)
But these are all things I did knowing I’d end up a better person with a better life. But what about the so-called mistakes? What about the things people warned me not to do, but I did anyway? What about the things I did even though my insides were spasming every step of the way?
That list would read something like this:
- Fell for the guy I knew would break my heart
- Moved nearly 3,000 miles away from everyone I loved to get a master’s degree I wasn’t sure I even wanted
- Gave up a cool writing gig to move back Birmingham and teach teenagers
Yes, my fling with the guy with the big muscles and fast car left me coiled in a ball in my dorm room crying my eyes out, but I don’t regret one second I spent with him. How could I? We had too much fun. Plus, hurtful relationships always teach you a lesson and make the moment you find Mr. Right even sweeter.
My first few months in California taught me the true meaning of homesickness. I missed my friends and family so much I was actually sick to my stomach most days. But I left the West Coast a stronger, more well-rounded person and a better writer. Best of all, the distance showed Mr. Right and me just how strong our love was.
Sometimes I wonder if I made a mistake giving up writing full time. Yes, I love teaching and I work with an amazing group of kids, but I miss writing almost as much as I missed Edd on those lonely Bay Area nights. Nonetheless, I’m confident that one day I’ll know why this “mistake” was the right choice indeed.
What are your favorite mistakes?