I’ve made lists my whole life and it wasn’t because I mimicked my mother doing it. In fact, my quest for an organized life – from drawers and closets to bills and computer files and photos is a perpetual, organic, never-ending feat. Life is the queen of dispensing out things to add to the “Things to Do List,” and reality is, I have it easy.
Can I imagine the “Things to Do Lists” of days past?
Chop the tree for wood, make a fire, kill a chicken for dinner, grow the vegetables, grow tea leaves, get water from a well, deliver a baby with just hot water…
My lists are easier. They involve very little heavy lifting or interacting with harsh weather or fighting bears in the snow. Mine deal with “pursuing my dream” and “publishing my book” and all that difficult stuff which happens from typing a lot of tiny buttons on my computer for many days in a row. I also have to do a lot of driving here and there and back again and this is all done in my large, comfortable automatic car with heated seats and auto defrost. I never have to MacGyver the windshield wipers, they totally work with the push of a button. I can even talk on the phone and listen to Pandora in my comfy ride, all hands-free. I can park without turning my neck because I have a rear view camera. My life is tough.
Last week I thought about the list of “Things to Do” in my father’s head because he’s not a list-making man. He had to find a funeral home pick up his sister’s body, find a cemetery, arrange a burial, find a place to eat lunch at afterwards, and call friends and family to tell them his sister was dead. He has to grieve for the rest of his life, and for now, this trumps every other item on his list.
These are the kinds of things life puts on our lists whether we want to or not. I don’t put “grieve” on the top of my list, but for the last few days, I’ve accomplished little else. I carry on doing things like driving my son to school and putting tiles on my kitchen walls and calling LG to complain about not having enough gas coming out of the burners.
My lists are a snapshot in time; a day of my life and what chores hijacked my time. Sometimes I find old lists in notebooks and think, “I finally got around to that,” or else, “There’s something that never got crossed off the list” and it faded away, old ink on weathered paper.
Recently I’ve developed several lists based on the topics. Here are the current lists in my rotation:
- Things to do to finish up the kitchen list
- Things to do to finish up the master bathroom
- Things I need to get for Mackenzie
- Things I need to get for Jake
- Doctor / Dentist appointments
- Receipts Due to State Farm
- Work Things to Do
- Gifts for the Holidays
- Grocery List
- List of Things to Return (to Costco, Home Depot)
- Things to Get at Home Depot
- Article Ideas List
- Books to Read List
- Songs to Download List
- Movies to borrow from the library (because I’m clearly 85 years old)
- Audio Books to borrow from the library (see previous parenthetical)
- Post Office – Mail Bryan’s gift, Ilan’s gift, Reena’s shoes
- Misc that doesn’t fit on other lists … the Homestead application (whatever that is, deadlines today), order school photos, sign my daughter up for baseball (trend de jour), call Lumber Liquidators to complain about shitty floor
Also, at the bottom of every list: WRITE.