The “Break-It List”
The other night, we had a group of young bachelors over for dinner; my younger, single brother and two of his recently post-grad buddies. The evening was educational for me in a number of ways. Firstly, I learned just how old I really am. Were we really that young when we graduated college? Wow. Secondly, I was introduced to a new phrase and concept the kids are throwing around these days: the “Break-It List.”
If you are unfamiliar with this concept (as I was), allow me to . . . break it . . . down for you.
In a nutshell, the “Break-It List” is a personalized running list of qualities that single or dating individuals these days carry around with them, accounting for the myriad of hypothetical or imagined demises to their new or even non-existent relationships. In other words, the “Break-It List” consists of all of the personal preferences or pet peeves that automatically, from the get-go, out-the-door, rule out a dating prospect. But perhaps the “Break-It List” is better understood in its gameplay. Oh yes, it’s a game, too.
“Ok. Let’s say she’s really hot, and fun to be with, everything is going really well . . . but she picks her nose in front of you like . . . often. In the car, watching TV. Make it or break it?”
“Break it. Yeah, that’s a no. My turn. Ok, so she’s super cool, and you get along great, but her friends are all really, really annoying . . . and they are always around.”
“Break it. I mean unless her friends are incredibly hot . . . no I’m kidding! Well . . .”
Oh yeah, there are exception clauses in the “Break-It” game as well. And that’s not all . . .
“What? A tattoo sleeve is a . . . BREAK-IT!? That’s a total make-it in my book! Seriously? What if it’s a really well-thought-out sleeve, like she designed it even, and she’s a professional ice climber?”
Uh-huh. There are critical response windows built into the “Break-It” game as well, and judging each others’ “Break-Its” provides well more than half the fun, and may even be the chief objective.
Listening to this bachelor buddy banter brought me no short supply of amusement as I cooked up an unsightly mound of tacos for the just-off-the-slopes, single ski bums. I found it especially hilarious how intensely curious these young bucks were in my hubby and my relationship. They found it absolutely fascinating that we are high school sweethearts and that we got married so young. They wanted to know all about our early dating years and how we have managed to stay together so long. Were there ever hard times? (HA!) Did we surpass any “break-its”? Do you think our “break-it lists” are too long? (Yes, yes I do.)
I can’t say my hubby and I had much insight to offer these young rogues. But at least we fed them. Of course, they may soon forget their dinner in the mountains with two old married people, but I don’t think I will anytime soon. And I don’t think I’ll ever forget about the “Break-It List” game. It’s made quite a lasting impression on me.
Not only is this game immensely fun (often inappropriately, and even offensively so), it’s also in no way limited to the dating world. The “Break It” test can be applied to almost any situation and can be quite illuminating. In fact, come to find out, I’ve been creating “break-its” my whole life, I just knew them by a different name: standards.
“A family reunion? Are matching T-shirts involved? Mmmm, not happening.”
“The recipe calls for mayonnaise? Next!”
“There’s going to be a clown at the birthday party? Yeah, I think we are going to be sick that weekend.”
“Who’s hosting the book club? Eeek . . . I’m out!”
Ok, so I’m a little picky by nature. I admit it! But I’m borderline impossible to please —break-its abounding— in one aspect of my life: MUSIC.
Don’t get me wrong, I love music. I just love to overly orchestrate and micromanage it.
For me, a piece of music has to pass the “4-G Test” for it to make it onto a personal playlist:
1.) It must be GOOD quality. That’s kind of a given.
2.) It must GO . . . with my mood, current activity (cooking and driving require vastly different playlists), and current energy levels.
3.) It must GARNER inspiration, stimulating clarity and creativity for what I’m doing at that moment.
4.) It must GIVE fresh vitality to my productivity in whatever activity I am choosing to pair it with; not distracting or draining, and never sleep-inducing (that comes all too easily for me anyhow)!
I use this test to select a highly specific playlist for all of my favorite activities, from cooking, to homeschooling, to gardening. However, this “4-G Test” is never more crucial to me than when I am writing . . . which is daily. In addition to this blog, I also write a wide collection of teaching curriculum, so I’m writing at my computer many hours each week. And when I’m working on a new creative project, I’m even pickier than normal about my music choices; my list of “break-its” twice as long as the “make-its.”
Lyrics? Break-it. I already struggle with spelling as it is.
Overly classical? Break-it. Mozart and Beethoven are great and all, but they will put me to sleep every single time.
Overly stimulating? Break-it. If a song is too exciting or energizing it will blow my focus and leave me scrambling for my train of thought.
Admittedly, like the ski-bum bachelor buddies, my standards are often too high. However, when it comes to music, I think you can afford some commitment issues and truly play the field to your heart’s content.
You know. . . 🎵 a little bit of bluegrass on the farm, a little Hans Zimmer all day long, a little bit of Bee Gees is what I need, a little Patrick Doyle while I read!🎶
Of course, seeking perfection is always a dangerous game to one’s grip on reality and general appreciation for everyday life. And yet . . . music, books, and other sources of entertainment may offer a good and relatively low-risk outlet for those of us who suffer from delusional, fantastical idealism. Perhaps we can purge our pickiness with playlist perfectionism?
To that end, meet my Productivity Playlist; over ten hours of music, meticulously chosen song by song, to stimulate deep focus and flow. It is my truly pampered playlist, the one that has powered nearly every post on my blog these past two years. And today I offer it to anyone who could use a little productivity boost! Perhaps it will serve you as well as it serves me.
This playlist pairs perfectly with:
- drinking tea or coffee
- morning devotions
- homeschooling/classrooms (for older children, perhaps 6th grade and up)
- creative projects
- hot baths
Here it is! I hope it meets your high standard and passes your own personal “break-it list!” 🙂 If not, I guess just keep playing that field my friend!
Happy listening! Happy focusing! Happy flow!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~