Come on Baby, Light My Fire

The task

I assign a basic exercise in my art class at the beginning of the semester, where I have the students make a list of 20 things they love. It’s personal and useful. This assignment was initially created to resolve the frequent phrase I hear whenever I assign a new art project: “I don’t know what to draw!” If the students have an ongoing list of things they love then there is always an idea on paper, to, at least, start from.

Last time I gave this assignment, I spontaneously said something to the class that made me think Well, that’s kinda smart. I gave myself an imaginary pat on the back—because why not.

The application

As the students composed their lists, I told them: This list helps you come up with ideas. All good artists know themselves quite well. And, one more thing, if you want some good advice for life, get to know yourself really well and everything will be way easier. Like, everything. If you know that you love working with your hands or you like cooking or you like talking, you get a job that suits you. You also make better choices with who to date, who to marry, what kind of car to buy, how to spend your money. Seriously, all those decisions are so much easier and better decided if you really know yourself.

There were nods of understanding. I think they were getting what I was saying. I hope they remember.

What about us grown-ups?


Great advice for teens, but how well do we know ourselves as adults? Where do our passions lie? Have we gotten off track or forgotten them altogether? Can we make a list of 20 things we love?
It’s the fire inside that makes life worth living, makes waking up and going to work manageable.

My list

I can only speak for myself when I say that I really need to enjoy my life in a fun way almost all the time to be present in it. I have a very long-running list of all the things that ignite my daily desire to get me up and going. This list started a long time ago on a mundane winter evening with friends. Over twenty years later I keep adding to it. Maria von Trapp couldn’t be that off when she sang about her favorite things, could she?

A few little things I love:

  • eating with chopsticks
  • coffee
  • summertime
  • fog (weird, I know)
  • listening to people tell stories
  • camping
  • the prairies

The Challenge

How about you? What would be some of your 20 things that ignite your passion or light your fire? I challenge you to make a list too and share it. If nothing else, it might be a lovely reminder.

As always, thanks for reading lovelies.

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