Bucket List Got You Down? Try a Thimble List

I do not have a bucket list. On paper, I love the idea of it – a list of things to experience in life – and I can certainly see how such a list could motivate you to open more to wonder.

As much as I love adventure (I’m in Portland this weekend at the World Domination Summit which is about how to embrace your unconventional path in life although you might not know that from the title), most of my life is not lived in adventure mode.

I need a ridiculous amount of time alone doing very quiet things like walking in the woods with the doodle dogs and reading novels and cuddling with the Bob and watching movies with my girl Lilly.

Which brings me to the Thimble List.

A list of very small ways to savor life. I define savoring as mindfulness + gratitude = touching your essential goodness

If a bucket list is life writ large (bike the Australian Gold Coast, learn to read the Bible in Greek, read past page 12 in Swann’s Way ) then a thimble list is life writ intimate.

Here’s my thimble list:

* Sip my first cup of morning Keemun tea with cream while reading poetry

* Eat raspberries with fresh whipped cream

* Pick a whole slew of lilacs for my studio

* Take my Bob out for a leisurely lunch during the week

* Rearrange my books so I can find stuff

* Tell someone whose work I admire why I admire them include juicy details

Note: this are one time things, tiny pleasures to enjoy once not a new list of “ideal life” have-tos.

I could go on and on with my thimble list but that would overwhelm me and I like savoring small these days.

What’s on your thimble list?

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Doll - June 2, 2011

Love the thimble list!¬† Today mine is short: take a few moments to sit by the lake. ūüôā


Kylie - June 2, 2011

Aw; a thimble list! I love it. I’m picturing a teeny weeny list rolled up and perched within a thimble. It’s such a quaint picture.

Here’s my list at the moment:
-Look up at the sky while walking home
-Make rice crispy treats, and eat them with friends
-Make eye contact with the friends I see this weekend
-Give thanks (both verbal and nonverbal) for the wonderful air conditioner allowing me to sleep this summer


Fabeku - June 2, 2011

 Love this, Jen. So much.

* Chai in the morning. Tulsi in the afternoon.
* A five minute Hafiz break.
* Laying with Sid. On the rug. In the sun.
* Hands on a drum or gong or bowl. Every single day.
* Playing air guitar in red suede Docs.
* Dark chocolate.


    Sylvia - June 3, 2011

    BIG! yes to *2 & *6 ūüôā

Karri Flatla - June 2, 2011

So might you say that your thimble runneth over, Jen?

Down with buckets. Up with thimbles. 

And cheers to every Thumbelina who reads this.


Britt Bravo - June 2, 2011

I love this idea.  Beautiful!

Elizabeth Crouch - June 3, 2011

Appreciate my waking & conscious first morning breath .. seriously.
Take a very deep next breath. Stretch like a big cat. Skip.
Hug Zoe & play like a puppy.
Today, open & read one page in the nine books beside my bed.
Give away a book a day to the YWCA.
Call David and Gaetan.
Eat fresh!


Marianne - June 3, 2011

I love it Jen. It’s perfect for me (and the reason I’ve never gone in for the BIG lists). My thimble list for today:

– make myself a perfect cup of tea (and my definition of perfect is pretty loose, impossible to fail as long as I boil the water and choose fresh tea)
– savor it with a good friend
– drink a quince martini (testing a new recipe for the restaurant, yummy!)

Hiro Boga - June 3, 2011

Jen, I love love love your thimble list. As I read your post, my breath dropped into my belly and my whole body whooshed into a deeply satisfying ahhhhhh…

To savor that which is simple, present, right here, right now. What a gift!

My thimble list:

+ Poetry. This week: Louise Gluck. Mary Oliver. Wendell Berry.

+ Washing my face with organic coconut cream cleanser just before bed. Scent of coconut and clean skin follows me into my dreams.

+ Lying on the floor with a hand on my heart. Eyes closed. Breathing.

+ Talking and giggling on the phone with my funny, beautiful, playful friends.

+ Blessing the people I love. Blessing this website. Blessing Twitter and all the other places that bring us together.

Love, Hiro

Christa - June 3, 2011

Bless you, Jen Louden. Exactly where I am right now. Thank you.

Christa - June 3, 2011

Bless you, Jen Louden. Exactly where I am right now. Thank you.

kathleen - June 3, 2011

love this idea.
my thimble list:
– savour warm bowl of butternut soup
Рcurl up next to roaring fire
– watch animated movie with 2 delightful daughters and 1 huggable husband
– slowly sip glass of cab merlot
– nibble on 72% dark ghana choc
Рput on raincoat and walk outside in cold air. inhale.exhale.

Bringingprettyback - June 3, 2011

THIMBLE LIST! Jen, That is the best !!!
I can not tell you how much I love this!!!
Have a pretty day!

Sylvia - June 3, 2011

love the idea ūüôā

mine list for today:

:: take time to create 
:: light a candle and just breathe for a few minutes
:: prepare yummy snack and actually sit to eat… ¬†
:: connect with people 
:: take a few photos


Anonymous - June 3, 2011

Lovely timing! Facebook served me one of those bucket list ads yesterday and my recoil was intense. What’s on my thimble list today:

– show up at my college reunion tonight as I really am. Scrubbed, laundered, and hair combed, to be sure, but just me, nothing extra. No one to impress. Just want to love everyone there.

– enjoy the irises in the garden

– listen to a Cheri Huber podcast while winding some yarn

    jenniferlouden - June 12, 2011

    Max you are a miracle!!!

Heather Plett - June 3, 2011

I’m inspired. Here’s mine for today:

– have a chat with a friend (or 2 or 3)
– delight in the ability to go for a walk
– eat pizza in a circle of people whose company I enjoy
– book my flight to a place where my tribe gathers & where being an edge-walker is accepted
– peanut butter and honey
– the way the sun and leaves are casting dancing shadows across my arms right now as I type

Anonymous - June 3, 2011

Hmm, just last weekend I was with friends and talking about bucket lists, and most of the items were so big and far off they seemed nearly impossible. I love the idea of the here and now Thimble List. Here is mine for the next several days:

+ Vacuum and sweep and enjoy walking barefoot
+ Find a lovely simple dessert to take to my friend for a catch-up dinner
+ Go to Farmers Market and soak it all in
+ Ask my favorite vegetable lady for a new recipe
+ Spend a few hours making jewelry
+ Enjoy individual flavors – dark chocolate, bleu cheese, cherries.

Life Lists and Thimble Lists - June 4, 2011

[…] Source for idea ‚Äď thimble list. Image by chris_hertel on Flickr. [+] Share & Bookmark • […]

Mon Bv - June 4, 2011

Utterly beautiful!! As I’ve only just learnt to slow down and savour life a year ago, this speaks to me perfectly. I can HEAR it today.

    jenniferlouden - June 12, 2011

    Yeah !!

Jeffrey Davis - June 4, 2011

You are such the wonder-tracker, Jen. Really, I’ve written about how I’d rather die like a cow in a quiet meadow than bungee-jumping. And you’ve articulated why bucket lists don’t appeal to me. Or bigness.

* Get to know intimately, by name and texture and personality, more of the trees around here.
* Make a secret orchard in the back woods for my daughter.
* Gather at least three small, memorable moments a day.
* And I’ll steal one from Susan’s list: Enjoy individual flavors – dark chocolate, bleu cheese, cherries.

Great idea, Jen (and enjoy dominating the world this weekend!),

    jenniferlouden - June 12, 2011

    Jeffery you are wonder itself.

Marion Williams-Bennett - June 4, 2011

Love, love, love the thimble list! 

This is just perfect. It’s the savoring of these beautiful moments that make life worth living. ¬†
Making a list of my own, which includes :

Make daughter laugh and listen to sounds that get created

Dance in the kitchen while making dinner

Buy new lipstick (maybe red)

Celebrate the birds who sing at 4:00 ¬†in the morning…

Thank you for helping me “savor the small!”

    jenniferlouden - June 12, 2011

    Marion I savor the birds too, so very much!!!

Maira - June 6, 2011

1.  Running after my 2 yr old daughter as her laughter is carried off by the wind.
2. Putting my finger in my husband belly button when I hug him from behind.
3. Appreciating home cooked meals by my mother.
4.  Choosing to rest when my mind has other plans.

Lovely post!

Jeriellen - June 6, 2011

Yes I agree, the bucket list is very overwhelming and full of unattainable out there in the future somewhere goals. I am learning that in the moment, attainable, damn that was good goals are what I prefer. Today mine are;
-Sit in the jacuzzi early in the morning and listen to the world
-play with my daughter
-Drink a tall cold glass of diet peach snapple
-Speak my truth aka. stop being silent
-Not take my impending job layoff so seriously 

Tasha - June 7, 2011

A hug and a cuddle from my beloved before we get out of bed on a beautiful sunny morning.
A walk in a beautiful garden on a sweet June day with a little breeze.
Burying my nose in a baby’s neck.
Seeing my daughter’s smiling face.
Sitting down to a good meal a friend has cooked for me.
Tasha Halpert

    jenniferlouden - June 12, 2011

    Yum on baby necks!!!!!

Matt Langdon - June 9, 2011

Great idea Jen.  A Thimble List gives you something to do every day, rather than something to think about every day.

Thanks for dropping by my site – much appreciated.¬† I’m still digesting the World Domination Summit.

    jenniferlouden - June 12, 2011

    Me too Matt. Look forward to supporting your work and vision!

list #23: the thimble list « cakes, tea and dreams - June 9, 2011

[…] recently discovered the work of Jen Louden – and loved her recent post about a “thimble list.” I’m a big believer in small, beautiful ways to celebrate and savor each day (see the subtitle […]

jenniferlouden - June 12, 2011

What a tremendous list Susan I am savoring right along with you!

jenniferlouden - June 12, 2011

Alia hope the list was fun to write!!!

SimpleProductivityBlog.com— Open Loops 6/21/2011: Articles I Think Worth Passing Along— - June 21, 2011

[…] those who find bucket lists to daunting: “Bucket List Got You Down? Try a Thimble List” […]

Ali - June 22, 2011

Can’t believe how much your idea resonates with so many of us. Genius.¬†

Karen Talavera - July 7, 2011

Morning meditation
15 minutes in the south Florida sun daily
Fresh fruit smoothies I invent from whatever is on hand
Surprise my husband with a kiss when he least expects it

    jenniferlouden - July 7, 2011

    Sweet! Nice to see you!

Veggie Chick - July 7, 2011

thank you so much for this idea ,i wrote a bucket list last week and have not read it since .A thimble list sounds so kind to ourselves .

start a gratittude journal
enjoy a soak in the bath
make a fresh fruit salad
listen to an angel meditation c d in bed tonight

    jenniferlouden - July 7, 2011

    i love your list!

friday favs: the thimble list - July 8, 2011

[…] Last month, the lovely Katie, of Cakes, Tea and Dreams linked to a post by Jennifer Louden about her Thimble List, which is essentially the opposite of a Bucket […]

Gift Exchange of Words and Wisdom | Liberating Choices - December 22, 2011

[…] Bucket List Got You Down? Try a Thimble List¬†by Jennifer Louden […]

Laya - January 12, 2012

* Tell someone whose work I admire why I admire them include juicy details
I admire your work Jennifer. I love your honesty. I love the way your heart shines through your words. I love the way you write, your style. 

love and blessings!

    jenniferlouden - January 15, 2012

    Oh Laya thank you!!! that means the world to me!

Melissa Shanhun - November 5, 2013

Oh now this I can totally relate to!! ūüôā Love it!

Write a Thimble List | life and other splendid things - November 8, 2013

[…] a Thimble List. Jennifer Louden has a great explanation of what a Thimble List is, in her blog here. I like to sit and write one for myself each weekend (or any time really) and it only takes a […]

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