I have always been a list-maker. I think it started when I could first hold a crayon (“To Do: Build tower out of blocks. Accomplish by COB today”). When I got to high school, this list-making was my salvation, as my parents sent me to an extremely demanding prep school—I had to be organized to maintain a decent GPA. Now that I am a wife and mom, I have noticed a strange thing happening to my lists: items are appearing that I can’t cross off.
Isn’t the whole point of a To-Do list to cross things off? You know the way you feel when you find a surprise $20 bill in the pocket of a jacket you haven’t worn in over a year? That is how I feel every time I cross an item off. Buy milk? Crossed off! Go to dry cleaners? Crossed off! Make dentist appointment? YES!
However, this exhilarating feeling wears off quite quickly when I realize there are still 10 things on the list that I will not be getting to today. Or ever.
Things like, “Learn to play saxophone” and “Sign up for Physics for Beginners” or “Lose 20 pounds.”
Frankly, I am not really sure how those things got on my list in the first place.
Did aliens possess my brain and force me to write those evil things?
Maybe it was that strange bit of power that takes over when I write a list: I can write down anything, and I can get it done! (I even have a quirky habit of writing in things I did after I did them if they were not part of the original list, just for the thrill of crossing off—Oops, I returned those library books sitting in the front seat of my car; better write it on the list and cross it off!
But saxophone lessons? I do not own a saxophone. Nor is it on the list to buy one.
What about sky-diving? Should that be on the list, too?
I get out a blank piece of paper, full of promise and potential. I scribble down a few words:
MAKE NEW LIST.