Guide To Google Drive

Your Wishlist Is Your Best Personality Test

Paying attention to the things you love is an underrated way to get to know yourself

Woman wearing face mask holding grocery bags on the street with Google Drive icons in foreground.
Photo illustration; Image source: FatCamera/Getty Images

This piece is part of How Google Drive Can Make Every Corner of Your Life Easier

Right now, in a Google Doc under the heading “Things I Love,” I have the following list: velvet couch pillows. Leopard accessories. Rosy lip gloss. Pastel crocs. I wish I were joking about that last one, but I’ve lingered over enough targeted ads for those rubber shoes to accept the truth.

The Doc is a catch-all for items I’ve come across during trips to the store, during idle online browsing, or while scrolling social media — less a premeditated shopping list, more a brain dump of things that happen to bring me joy. When I happen across a product that screams “Ashley,” I feel like someone out there knows me, even if that “someone” is just the algorithm. Putting them all in one place feels like collecting vital information about who I am.

Practically speaking, my list is a helpful compass when I’m trying to make a purchasing decision — like a Pinterest board with words instead of pictures. I have a built-in answer when it’s time to update my living room decor (more velvet, please), and I can tell my Grandma what I really want for Christmas when she inevitably asks me about it every August.

More importantly, though, the Doc is also like a mirror. My husband is a neutrals-loving minimalist; ever since we met in 2010, I’ve slowly traded in my loud, colorful aesthetic for his quieter one. Several years into our relationship, I ended up with a dresser full of gray and black shirts, a living room filled with industrial furnishings, and a strange feeling of being bored by and disconnected from my surroundings.

Sure, I like a modern gray couch as much as the next person. But minimalism just isn’t me. Where my husband is reserved and soft-spoken, I’m whimsical and feminine and fun-loving, and my style expresses those things. Keeping track of things I love might seem materialistic, but it reminds me of what I like, which connects me to who I really am. And there’s a comfort to having a list that’s accessible from anywhere, like a security blanket I can pull up on my phone.

Slowly, under the guidance of my Google Doc, I’ve reintegrated clothes and furniture that make me feel like myself. Last year, after a months-long bout of winter sickness, I decided my living room was just too gray. So I turned on Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten,” rolled my minivan windows down, and scream-sang all the way to World Market.

At home, I unbagged my new jewel-toned couch pillows and pastel-pink napkins with tears in my eyes. My husband couldn’t help but laugh — it’s just like me to make a dramatic experience out of an otherwise mundane moment. But my shopping list, full of colorful, sparkly things, reminds me that I like it that way.

Writer-mom hybrid. Health & psychology stories in NYT, WaPo, Allure, Real Simple, & more.

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