Nancy Roman

A List Of Your Awesomeness

This weekend I went to a birthday celebration. The man who was being honored is a ballroom dancer, and so the party was filled with other dancers. Oh my, the dancing was so lovely, I watched like I was at the ballet. And I need to take some dance lessons this year!

But something else that was lovely also occurred.

I sat at a table with a woman I have met a few times. She is 80 years old, a classmate of the birthday “boy.”

AnnaMae is an avid reader, and she was delighted to tell me that she is currently reading my first book, JUST WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED. She said this with an embarrassed smile – just like you might approach a “real” author – the kind you might sheepishly ask for an autograph from. It was rather enjoyable to say the least – especially since I was feeling very humble about my inability to dance. But although pleasant, this was not the other lovely event.

With so many talented people in attendance, it’s readily apparent that many people are  gifted. We should enjoy their gifts. And while not diminishing our own, recognize that no one is more special than anyone else.

We are all unique – in our talent, experiences, and nature.

And AnnaMae is no exception. For she told me a small fact about herself that was actually not a small thing at all. It amazed me.

AnnaMae loved to read from the time she was a very little girl. And way back then, she kept a list of every book she read.

And the habit stuck. She possesses a wondrous list – a list of every book (and they are many) she ever read. From the time she started to read until today. That must be 75 years in the making, that list. I imagine a file cabinet, paint chipped but well-dusted, just full of her list of books!  Titles and authors and dates. Can you imagine?

I hope there is such a thing as reincarnation, because I would like to keep a list like that.

There are so many singular things we do – what makes us “us” –  I am overwhelmed this week by the idea of Life as a list of our experiences. And there are so many! Even introverts or the very lonely (which is not the same thing) have boundless small experiences that make them who they are.

Imagine how long your list is:

Every class you ever took and every teacher who ever taught you.

Every trip to the beach. Every lake you ever visited.

Every song you ever heard.

Every dog you ever petted.

Every baby you ever held in your arms.

Every ice cream cone you ever bought.

Every movie you ever saw… and every one that made you cry.

Every person who ever said to you, “I love you.” Every person you ever said “I love you” to.

Every joke you ever heard.

Every time you signed your name. How many times in your life do you affirm who you are?

Every flower you ever planted.

Every street you ever lived on. Every town.

Every bit of clothes and shoes and furniture and beautiful things you bought.

Every car you ever owned. Every one you ever rode in.

Every wedding you ever attended.

Every funeral.

Every walk in the snow.



I could go on and on.

The list of our awesomeness is endless.

Never tell me you’ve had a boring life.


I have reprinted this before, but it’s appropriate, I think, to do it again. Here’s a small poem I wrote after my father died. He had his own list.


the list of us



  1. When I retired, my colleagues gave me a book called “Listography: Your Life in Lists”. I’m embarrassed to admit that I only ever filled out the first (of 150+) pages (“Pets You’ve Had and Their Names”). I’m going to pull it out right now and starting filling in more (and I may even add some of my own, taken from your wonderful ideas above); what a great way to record your own personal history!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Diane

    I have read your mention of your Dad’s list before and it made me cry then and it did today. What a precious ‘document’.


    • I never knew that he had that list… but when I saw that he had added my husband’s birthday – and much later, all the little great-grandchildren, I was very moved. Especially in his last years, he had some minor dementia, but he wanted to remember everyone.


  3. How cool

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your Dad’s list is soo moving. thanks for sharing.


    • It was so loving a gesture – to make sure he remembered everyone, and all our birthdays.


  5. jono51

    Why didn’t you tell me about this when I was five?
    My father also had a list like that. It included cousins and friends as well. Many pages, but he sent birthday cards to all of them. Stamps were a part of his budget.


    • That is such a sweet habit – and rare for a man. He must have been very special.


  6. lvlawrence

    My grandmother died when I was 12. She was an avid reader and I remember wishing that I had a list of every book she ever read so that I could read those books, too.
    Maybe I will start making some lists.


    • I don’t know that my grandmothers read much. My Polish grandmother had little English, but I do remember her poring of the newspaper constantly. I think she was extremely intelligent but very quiet. My paternal grandmother loved TV – and I used to watch with her. She liked “Queen For A Day” and ANY cowboy show. She loved the cowboys, and now we have a horse… maybe that is connected?


  7. I will never retire as I am a mum and nanna and that means no retirement for me, I do hope to be around for many more years to come


    • Well, your children and grandchildren will definitely give you an abundance of experiences for your list.


  8. Reblogged this on après-pensées.


  9. nice touching lines


  10. Ray G

    I am keeping a list of all the horses I have ridden. They are a special kind of animal to interact with. That list is getting pretty long.


    • That will be one nice list!


  11. I love this idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. One of my treasures is a diary of my father’s that has (among many other things) a list of all the payments to our sponsors who paid for our family’s passage on a ship from England to the U.S. in 1953. It was so meticulous and the payments were so tiny–$10 a week or so–but so meaningful to me now, knowing how my parents struggled for us to have a better life. Thanks for a powerful post!


    • What an amazing list! A treasure.


  13. Your father must have been wonderful.


    • My father was just a regular man – if you consider regular to be smart, kindhearted, and cheerful.


  14. Love the poem!


    • Thanks, Gabi, it’s one of my favorites too.


  15. Chris

    The little list of her children that my grandmother kept and wrote in pencil (all 14 of them) in a little book I have in my safe deposit box. And when I think I haven’t “done” what I’ve wanted to in life I need to remind myself that I’ve snowshoed in the Catskills, hiked in the Arctic, rode my bicycle in Austria, camped in Germany and marched in parades in Switzerland. I’ve ridden a camel in Morocco, climbed the Eiffel Towel. Rode on the giant ferris wheel in the Prater in Vienna, hitchhiked through Devon and Cornwall and drove my truck all the way from Connecticut to Phoenix. I’ve surfed in Florida, rode the “Canadian” to Edmonton. I’ve sat in the front row at the Ryman, and also in the front row at Stratford-upon-Avon. Then add the dogs and cats and picnics and parties. Weaving classes in Vermont, Common Ground on the Hill in Maryland. Sailed on a windjammer in Maine and volunteered on Mount Desert Island trails. And think of all the amazing people we’re met along the way.


    • Wow! That is one fantastic list! Keep going!!!!!


  16. This is sooo beautiful ❤ thank you Nancy ❤❤


    • Thanks for the kind words, Hafsa.


  17. I love your poem. I’m a great list maker. Quite a few lists have been started by me. Some as simple as a grocery list, or blogs I want to write. What I need is a list that tells me where my lists are. They always seem to disappear and then the list becomes a new list.


    • I have dozens of little notebooks with only the first few pages filled in… because then I misplaced the notebooks and bought a new one. Then I find the old. Repeat.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I like the poem. I make many unfinished list. Always have


    • Thank you. Is a list ever finished, anyway?


  19. Every one of your posts is special, but this one really touched me. I just love that your dad kept that list in his wallet: what a man he must have been.


    • Thanks Dianna. I like to think of my father as just a regular guy, if you consider smart, happy, and kind as just the way regular guys are.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. We introverts have a list of thoughts they never say out loud. Thank you for this Nancy! This is my day’s affirmation. 🙂


    • I often think that introverts’ thoughts are a lot more interesting than so-called “normal” people.


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