Llangollen Canal

Julia Cameron is one of my absolute favorite authors of books on creativity and writing. I have learned so much about myself from reading her books. Every chapter asks you to think about the significant and the seemingly insignificant things in your life, so you can understand yourself better.

One of the things she asks you to do is to make lists. So, today, I will be sharing a list of 25 of my favorite things and what they say about me. Then I’ll ask you to make up your own list and determine what it says about you.

Learning what we love gives our lives shape — the things that have shaped us in the past, and the ways in which we can shape ourselves in the future.  The list can include something as simple as your favorite ice cream, or as complex as your first love. While making up your list, don’t forget to utilize your sense of taste, touch, smell, sight and sound.


  1. Reading. That’s a no brainer for me.
  2. Writing – Oh, there’s another.
  3. Canoeing on the French River. That’s my idea of heaven.
  4. Biking in the local cemetery. There’s lots to see and people to meet – dead and alive.
  5. Sitting on the deck with a good book and glass of wine on a warm summer evening.
  6. My mother-in-law’s apple dumplings with lemon sauce. No-one makes them quite like she does. Now she’s gone, no-one makes them at all.
  7. A breeze on my face.
  8. Good conversation with my friends.
  9. The sound of my daughter’s laughter when she was watching Donald Duck as a child. She’d always laugh in the same place, and I’d always wait for it.
  10. Soggy cheese and tomato sandwiches at the beach. When I was growing up, my mother always made these when we went to the seaside and I’d eat them sitting on the battered brown suit case that she’d packed our things in.
  11. Riding a donkey, also at the seaside. I can still hear the bells jingling on the saddle, and see the sand trembling around the hooves. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I was living in England during those last two events.
  12. I loved eating bangers and mash with baked beans as a kid. We had them every Tuesday night. It would kill me to eat them today. So I’ll hold on to the memory.
  13. At my Nana’s, we used to make what we called French toast on the fire. (She had no stove.) It consisted of buttered bread, folded onto a fork and held against the flames until it was toasted on one side, then you and eat it. YUM!
  14. Another fond memory is having warm cow’s milk on my corn flakes, also at my Nana’s. Sweet!
  15. These cute orange shorts my son had as a toddler. I can picture him standing in the bay window in his bare feet wearing these.
  16. Art of the Group of Seven. Especially Tom Thomson.
  17. Flying in an airplane. It’s miraculous.
  18. I love clothes. Lots and lots of clothes. Probably because as a kid I had only two dresses that I wore all year round. They were a different colors — one red, the other green — but otherwise identical. In the winter I wore it with a sweater. And when I got taller, my mother let it down.
  19. I love, love, love the sunshine. I’m definitely not a winter gal. Drop me off in Hawaii and I’d be happy any day of the week.
  20. I enjoy learning new things, and then sharing what I learn with others.
  21. I like to sit on the front port in a rainstorm. Nature is an amazing force.
  22. I have a fond memory of walking on the beach in a rainstorm. The wind was blowing, and the rain was pouring down my face. It was incredible.
  23. Sitting on a deserted beach at night with a bonfire and no other light for miles. It feels like I’m the only person in the whole world. It puts me in mind what it might have been like for prehistoric man.
  24. Semicolons; I use them quite a bit.
  25. Dashes too – that is, they really get your point across.


Well, that was surprising. While there were the obvious choices of my favorite things, there were a few things I never considered before, like the semicolons and dashes. They came hard won during my last edit.

The chickens are around there somewhere.

It’s clear, I have some very good childhood memories. Many of them of the time I lived in England. It’s nice to think about a simpler time. We lived in a village and spent holidays on Nana’s farm where there was no electricity or stove. And the outhouse was by the chicken coup. These are memories that help me to appreciate the simple things in life.

I attribute my love of the outdoors to my life in Canada. I always had this notion that cottage living was the ultimate Canadian family holiday. When we arrived in Canada in 1966, it seemed that everyone had their own cottage on a lake that had been passed down from generation to generation. The kids would spend the entire summer at the lake with mom, while dad traveled back and forth during the work week. I was so jealous. It is only now that I am catching up for lost time. Canoeing the historic French River feeds my love of the wild Canadian landscape. I have been christened in its icy waters. I am now a bonofied Canadian.

Have you ever tried this? It’s quite an experience.

Biking is another late life endeavor. Although, now that I think about it, I do remember riding out into the countryside of my native England and stopping at the bridge that looked over the  Llangollen canal not far from where I lived. It’s the first time I experienced something greater than myself. Perhaps that’s why, at 50, a time when I was redefining how I wanted the future to unfurl, I decided to recapture my youthful memories of biking by getting a bike for my birthday.


You see what I mean. Making a list of your favorite things can give shape to your life. It can help you to understand why you choose one thing over another. It can encourage you to pick up those lost threads of joy and weave them back into your life if you so choose. You might even decide to pursue a creative endeavor that you let go by the wayside. Sometimes, we give up things for the wrong reasons. Like giving up piano because of a poor teacher despite your love of music. When you look at the real reason you gave something up, you may be able to find your way back to that initial joy you once felt and decide to take it up again.

So, grab your pen and paper, and start making up your list. Take a really good look at it to determine why you liked what you did. How did these things shape the person you became? If there’s something you’d like to pick up again, do it. Sit back and revel in the wonderful memories each item evokes. Then I want you to pick up that pen one more time and tell me how it went.

Have fun reliving the joy.




Categories: Life Reflections

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