My bridesmaids at my rehearsal dinner put on a goofy skit about the piles and lists I was known to make. 26 years later, I still make piles and lists.
I’d much rather have my clothes in a pile to grab from and save the time and effort of hanging them up and then having to take them off hangars. Training children to keep their rooms clean ALMOST cured me of that habit, but not completely. There are more pile people in the world now. (But I did find a handy compromise: Hang one of those over the door gadgets and drape my most often worn clothes on those hooks. This both reduces piles and avoids my hangar issue.)
And give me any extra sixty seconds, and I will start making a list. Any list. People to write. Bills to pay. Groceries to pick up. Exercises for my arms. Books to read. Items to add to the Goodwill pile in the back of the van. (piles and lists go together really well) Some of the more fun lists are books to collect for my grandchildren. Books to write. Character flaws to get rid of. Character qualities to acquire. New versions of favorites recipes. Things I wish I could tell my grandmother. I am a list fanatic.
When my thyroid is bothering me and all the other loopy things that happen near 50 flare up, I back off some because the Cloud of Overwhelming Failure moves down from 10,000 feet to right above my head. My lists paralyze instead of prepare. Exhaust instead of invigorate. I still make lists. I just deal with them differently. Once written, they get set aside or better yet, tossed. I don’t look at them again. It’s a mental release to write it down, but if I’m not going to be able to mark anything off, then the pressure of the words on paper can strangle me. (Paper lists are the best. Sure my phone is full of lists as well, but nothing is quite like a sharpie written list on a 4x6 notecard)
So, this fall, with my September is the New January initiative, I am making plenty of lists, but I am approaching my list making differently. Only those things which have a real possibility of being crossed off within the next four months will be written down. It doesn’t matter if I might only barely squeeze in getting it accomplished by December 31st or if it takes 10 minutes today, it just has to be doable. Enough with the impossible lists.
For example, I wrote something down the other night which I immediately crossed off. It was a letter which I had been wanting to write for 2 years. While we were watching TV, I grabbed a cute note card and envelope, drafted the letter on my phone (it had been in my head for 2 years, so it didn’t take an enormous amount of effort), and copied it onto the cute note card with my favorite teal sharpie. Then I added “Contact CC” to my Goals For the Remaining 122 Days in 2018 and crossed it off. Oh, the endorphins!
I did spend 30 minutes after that trying to upload 12 photos to Walmart’s one hour photo lab so I could pick those up the next morning and pop them in the letter which had to go in the mail immediately or I’d have to uncross-off “Contact CC.” I uploaded the photos, but they went into the “mail to you” or “pick up in 5-8 days” section, not the “one hour lab,” and I couldn’t wait 5 to 8 days to pick up the photos so I could mail my letter. So that was a problem. Plus, I couldn’t ask an offspring to help load the photos to the right Walmart section because that would set me back on another Goal For the Remaining 122 Days in 2018: “Don’t ask the kids to do what I should be able to figure out myself.” So, I slept on it, and the next morning opted for Costco instead of Walmart. Photos uploaded just fine. And the letter with photos is in the mail. Calculable progress. More endorphins.
Long live lists.