I’ve had a lot on my mind lately.Â I’ve been overwhelmingly busy at work.Â The holidays, and all of the parties and food and stuff,Â seem to be upon me before I realize it.Â I have not had much timeÂ to write, and, therefore, it all just starts getting crammed in my head and I need it out.Â I need a break, a vacation.Â I try to rest, but I always seem to have something pulling at me.Â AndÂ so this weekend I sat down to make a list.
The other day I came upon an old list.Â A really old list.Â A list of stuff to do, things to buy, stuff to clean and organize.Â I love lists.Â Chad–not so big on the lists, but heÂ understands my need to list.Â It is the genesis of organization for me.Â If I have a list, I know what needs to get done and then I can cross stuff off my list when its done.Â It feelsÂ good.Â
Just after having the girls, I remember writing a friend, a fellow mother of twins about how hard everyday was.Â Those first few months are tough.Â The three hour patterns of feedings, diaper changes, crying, rocking and trying to get some rest before starting it all over again and again–itÂ starts to take a toll and it’s hard to do much in between for yourself or the house, much less think about anything outside of the four walls of your home.Â And so I mentioned to my friend how hard it was.Â And she said, it’s not that the work is hard, so much as it is constant.Â She was right.Â It is the constant-ness that makes it so exhausting.Â It’s the same stuff over and over and over again.Â Â Every day.Â Every week.Â EveryÂ month.Â Â It’s the laundry, the food, the clean-up, the naps, the tears, the games, the challenges.Â Winter brings its own set of obstacles with the snow, the icy roads, the cold and the feeling of the inability to escape the constant work that needs to get done.Â And then for meÂ to work full time–work hard–on top of all this.Â It’s a lot.Â
Then, theÂ other night Chad and I went to see a movie.Â A break from the kids, from the holidays, from the rush.Â The previews forecasted a new movie called The Bucket List.Â The idea is that these two old guys are late into their life and they make a list of the things they want to do before they kick the “bucket”, thus–the Bucket List.Â Love this idea.Â Chad and I haven’t really had the chance to travel in the past few years sinceÂ we moved here from Chicago, got pregnant, took another bar exam, had to work, had two babies, am raising two babies…so I thought it’d be fun to make a list of the things we still want to do as the girls get older, asÂ we get more comfortable with our resources.Â I mentioned this to Chad on the way home and he said, “We can do that, but I’ve already done everything I want to do on my ‘list’.Â I married you.Â We had the girls.Â I’m set.”
As I look into the long stretch of 2008, I start to think of the things that need to go on a list, things that go beyond the everyday chores that need to get done.Â And I get overwhelmed.Â Because I am tired.Â And when I come across an old list, a list that has been completed long ago, I think of all the energy that went into completing the tasks on that list and how the things on that list don’t matter to me anymore.Â And I look at my new list and think, does this stuff matter?Â Do I care enough to devote the little energy I have on the couple of days that I have off from work to do these things amongst taking care of the girls, and the feedings and washing and cleaning and holiday stuff?Â What I like about lists isÂ the organization it gives me–the tasks are concrete and achievable, andÂ the satisfaction of crossing it off.Â But when my list is constant, bottomless, perpetual, the list does not serve its purpose for me.Â And when I see an old, useless list, I begin to realize that I need to remove myself from these burdensome feelings.Â I need to break free of the lists.Â
I think about Chad’s “bucket list”.Â About its blankness, it’s freeness.Â TheÂ void of Chad’s list is the very satisfaction inÂ itself.Â It does not need to exist because it is complete.
So, as I think about 2008Â I try to imagine the feeling completeness, of satisfaction, of a life without lists.Â And I resolve to embrace that feeling.Â To give thanks for what I have.Â To take some satisfaction in winging it and letting some things go.Â To relax.Â To enjoy.Â To give thanks for all of the help and good health that we have.Â
And while I cannot let go of my lists, I can make them shorter; I can prioritize what needs to be on that list and what doesn’t matter–what won’t matter–so I can focus my energies on the things that matter the most right now.
Happy New Year.