I am a list maker. I make copious lists. It has served as a running joke in my house for as long as I can remember doing it. “Better get out the list or you will never remember!” We are leaving for a trip. “Mom, when are you going to make you big list… ha ha ha!” I just shrug and laugh along with them. Secretly thinking, “How about you try packing for 6 people!” Truth is, my family would be lost without them.
There are some things that you should know about my lists. They are as follows:
Ink color is very important. I have to write them in blue pen. I am not comfortable with any other color and my house is flooded with blue pens. Seeing writing in black pen is like hearing nails scraping on a chalkboard for me. I will throw out any color pens that don’t hold the proper color.
Currently, I also have to write my lists on white printer paper. I cannot write on just one. They have to be stacked to provide the perfect cushion for the writing implement. If I can write on the back of a used printer paper, all the better. In the past, I had a composition notebook to keep my lists on. Composition was perfect, no perforated pages that could, by accident, tear out or wire bindings that could get bent. I have to be able to fold the covers over at some point because I don’t like to have a notebook open with two pages showing at a time. If you really break in a composition notebook, you can do that. My lists could run on forever, as long as there was a page to turn, but after years, I found my lists too overwhelming in a notebook. I had endless space and the lists became too long. White printer paper is finite and with a used back, I can’t turn it over and keep writing. Ah, self regulation. I am so smart!
Font, well, with the composition notebook, it was all bubbly cursive quickly scribbled onto the lines. Oh, and the lines had to be WIDE RULED. Printer paper is different… it has to be neat large handwriting, spaced large enough so that if I have to squeeze something in, I can write smaller between the lines. Oh, and each list item must be written parallel to each other… Slanting lines of text drives me nuts.
Now that I have revealed one of my biggest neuroses, I should explore the bigger question… Why do I do it? Why do I write lists? First and foremost, I swear that I have lost more than my fair share of brain cells to Mommy Brain. I am not pregnant, though I have been for a large portion of my life. Like during pregnancy, I forget words during a conversation, put the milk in the pantry and yes… I misplace my lists. I talked with my doctor because I was concerned! Something is wrong with me!!! My daughter laughed and said, “You have five kids. That’s a lot.” Quite honestly, making sure that teeth are brushed, stomachs are full and underwear is changed can be a challenge in the morning… I’ll let you figure out if I’m talking about the kids or myself. I think the act of writing it on paper is putting order into an otherwise very chaotic life. The ship won’t run smoothly unless there is a list.
So, the point of this blog post… (“Get to it, you’re saying!) I am going to push myself with a list, a different type of list. I am writing it on the computer so there isn’t white printer paper. WAY out of my comfort zone. I am not writing it with, dare I say it, blue pen in my straight round print. I have to type it. GOOD GOLLY. I can’t scribble in the margins or watch it every moment to make sure I have gotten done what needs to get done and then crossing off the completed! I am really pushing myself. I am going to look at it each week and decide what is doable for that time period or what I can start working on.
What is this list, you ask??? I want to come up with a to-do list that asks me to do the things that seem impossible or things that I feel like I will never get to in my lifetime. I have learned from my Mom, that life is very short and some things shouldn’t be put off until a diagnosis. I have put myself off for a long time.
I have been busy focusing on other people: kids, my husband, and even fundraising. I have lost all of my own dreams and wishes. My to-do lists are the only things that bring me satisfaction, but it is the satisfaction of getting things done. To keep finding some source of happiness, I have to add more and more things to the to-do list. I could come up with endless amounts of things to put on it.
Wow… that is what it has come to. That’s what makes me happy, to get things done. What does that say about my feelings of self-worth? I have put changing light bulbs in front of myself. Where did I go? What is even sadder is that I don’t find happiness in my own interests. In fact, when I have “alone” time, I’ll pass on it, in order to fold laundry or do returns. I just don’t know what to do with myself.
The list. In order to find myself again, my list asks me to do things that I loved in the past. Maybe I’ll discover myself in there. She must still exist! Some of the items on my list are mundane things but some are far larger and will take some serious effort and planning to accomplish. I am going to sit down each week and schedule myself and the list in. I deserve to be on that to-do list. I am giving myself a time limit, 534 days or a year in a half, to accomplish it. I am asking you to keep me accountable. Don’t let me down here!
- Keep a house plant alive for a month (I can grow anything outside but indoors is another story… which is why I love fake houseplants so much!)
- Write my blog post six times in a row, every Monday. (If I skip, I have to start over.)
- Shower EVERY DAY for a month. Shocking, I know but a girl has to have goals.
- Visit the cemetery and towns where my family originated in Canada, preferably with my children.
- Run a 5K.
- Go to a movie alone. Eat popcorn and sip on wine in a travel coffee mug.
- Go for a drive (alone) with the windows wide open (gasp… no AC for the kids) and my hair down. I must sing songs, in appropriate songs of my choosing, at the top of my lungs.
- Learn to make merengue cookies.
- Go on a horse drawn sleigh ride in the snow with warm blankets and hot cocoa. I haven’t figured out how to carry that cocoa warm and contained… I only like mugs for warm drinks.
- Go for a day hike, alone.
- Learn to use my DSLR camera on a setting other than automatic.
- Put all of my 2012 photos in an album. (I have put all the previous printed years in albums already! Please note… The last 4 plus years are not included in this item. They were never printed and I have given up them. Best to start with 2018!)
- Go to bed at 9:00 pm every night for a week, leaving 30 minutes for reading… OK, 45 minutes. I can’t go to bed without reading afterall!
- Make donuts.
- Do a 1500 piece puzzle (used to love doing puzzles).
- Take myself on a date to a restaurant and eat alone at the bar. I can talk to strangers near me. I love to strike up conversations with complete strangers…
- Go on a girl’s weekend.
- Learn how to make homemade buffalo mozzarella and do it.
- Try foot reflexology.
- Have mole mapping done by a dermatologist.
- Become proficient with the sewing machine and make a valance for my downstairs bathroom.
- Build a sofa table.
- Send a care package to a college baby sitter.
- Send a letter to someone and tell him or her how important they are to me.
- Make gnocchi.
- See a concert.
- Read 15 books in 6 months, 2 of which have to be classics I have never read before.
- Hike Mt. Washington.
- Order pan seared scallops at a seafood restaurant. I normally opt for chicken or burgers (not cooked on the same grill as the fish because the “fishy” taste can be transferred. I inherited a seafood aversion from my mother and my grandmother before her…
- Say the rosary.
- Use ancestry.com to map the Polish side of my family, all the way back to their immigration from Poland.
- Go away for 2 nights to a place I have never been, alone.
- Have genetic testing done.
- Go to the Brimfield Fair and buy myself some Fireking and Lu Ray. My Mom and I used to go to flea markets to buy these things when I was a kid.
- Make a cheesecake.
- Do not use my phone in the car for 2 days.
- Play Scrabble, even if it’s by myself.
- Actually start the event business that I have wanted to do for years and have one paying client.
- Eat lunch, seated on a placemat with a napkin, for a week. The couch does not count as a seat and the TV must not be on.
- Go two weeks without ordering take out.
- Take a roadtrip with the kids to Charleston, SC.
- Research the lost family recipe for “wapshi” (a made up family recipe) and make it…
- Have a yard sale.
- Grow a cut flower garden.
- Visit a salt therapy room.
- Go camping… in a tent.
- Find and research a new recipe each week.
- Drive to Big G’s in Winslow, ME and have a Cindy Blodgett sandwich.
- Walk the Freedom Trail.
- Play a round of golf (I used to play all the time but stopped after Conor was born… yes, 12 years ago…)
- Oh, and one more… finish this list for myself!!!
Off I go on this journey! Putting myself at the top of the list, or for that matter, even on it, is going to be tough, especially since the “writing” portion has already been torture. I’ll let you know how it goes!