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December 28, 2005

Lists are the elixir of life.

When I die? My tombstone will be in list format. Preferably in Arial bold, or maybe Tahoma if we're feeling jaunty, with bullet points.

I am a list maker. Grocery lists, to-do lists, budget lists, change-my-life lists. Each year brings Birthday Resolutions and New Year's To-Dos and To-Don'ts. I list my life away, often on post-it notes. (And that is a whole nother column, because Good Lord do I have a post-it note problem!)

I make lists when I am stressed out, tired, lonely, bored, busy, frantic, drinking coffee, watching TV. My lists are: things I must remember, projects around the house to complete, things to buy if I won the lottery, people to call, places I want to visit, concepts and principles to incorporate into my daily life, quotes, book titles, things about myself I want to change, things about my life that are good, reasons it's good to be single, groceries, stuff to get at Target. Etcetera. Sometimes I make lists of things I have already completed just so I can draw a thick line through them and feel very accomplished.

I hope you make lists, too, because I truly believe there is nothing a list can't cure. Just the very act of making the list makes you feel better. Like you are ON TOP of this thing! You have it under control! You have... A LIST!


My 2006 List of TO-DOs and TO-DON'Ts


Money Things:

• Bring lunch to work a lot

• No more late fees at the library. I mean, really. That is just sad.

• Cut trips to grocery store down to 1-2 per week instead of the nightly "Nothing at home sounds good maybe a trip to the frozen foods aisle will help..."

• Deposit money into savings account each paycheck.

• Stop buying stuff that I don't need.

• Stick to The Budget.

• When faced with the opportunity to spend embarrassing $$ on shoes OR put towards monster consumer debt, choose to enjoy current selection of shoes.



The Size Of My Ass:

• Walk on the treadmill every day. Must get money's worth from large, expensive machine in living room.

• Eat healthy stuff

• Stop trying to rationalize french fries.

• Eat vegetables other than french fries.

• Eat vegetables.

• Drink less alcohol.

• Drink more water.


Personal Good Stuff & Leaving The House:

• Every day, choose happy over sad, free over constrained, liberated over abandoned, and laugh a lot. Wake up the next day and repeat.

• Take private salsa lessons.

• Go out salsa dancing at least once this summer with all the girls.

• Forget about fear.

• Go to the Laemmle on Sundays now and then to see indie movies.

• Plant a garden.

• Volunteer at least once for the joy of it.

• During the calendar year, go on one date even though I am terrified of dating and would prefer to stay home and play Grand Theft Auto or knit. Just one proper date, with a guy who is not married or a stalker or mean, where he takes me out to dinner and I wear a pretty dress. Or maybe just lunch. Actually, coffee might be better. Oh God do not want to go on scary date.

• Go on a trip. (Paris, baby!)

• Visit my parents.

• Visit my grandma.

• Stop procrastinating. Just stop it already.

• Make an effort to wear makeup to work and fuss with hair and so on like normal girlygirl instead of appearing at desk like death on cracker each day.

• Whenever tempted to say, "Oh, Mr. X and I went there..." or "I did that with Mr. X..." close mouth. Do not speak. Think of cute puppies.

• Moisturize.

• Floss.

• Play mini-golf

• Host a dinner party in which I actually cook dinner without dropping it or burning it or ordering pizza.

• Do something fun on my birthday. Even if my birthday hates me.

• Spend Christmas anywhere but alone in house with cats feeling maudlin. Possibly on a beach somewhere reading paperbacks while a cabana boy in red bikini pants brings drinks with umbrellas in them.


Practical:

• Sign up for the 401(k) plan

• Understand that love of Jeep is irrational and ergo, true love

• Get new tires on Jeep

• Tune up for Jeep

• Change furnace filter at home every six weeks.

• Show up for work 1/2 an hour earlier.

• Don't take glitches at work personally.

• Schedule vacation time.

• Work hard. Make deadlines a day early.

• Sell the pink imac on eBay.

• Ditto the 8-track players and 8-track tapes.

• Look at all the options.

• Have a positive attitude. Especially at work and with all co-workers. Suit up, show up and act as if....

• Finish the ____ (private)

• Send thank-you notes

Knitting:

• Finish my mom's fuzzyfeet.

• Make the fingerless gloves I wanted so that my hands will stay warm during the chilly summer Air Conditioner months at White Guys In Ties, Inc.

• Hoard all the Up Country left in the universe (optional) (see Money, above)

• Make Kitty Pis for Jen, Drew, Shan & Karman and their felines.

Finally... The Not-To-Do List:

• Don't say "yes" to things just because someone springs them on me at the last minute. Instead, say "Let me think about it and get back to you."

• Time is sparse, life if short. Don't waste it on useless things, people, memories, obligations.

• Don't worry about stuff I can't change anyway.

• Don't expect other people to live by my values.

• Don't compromise my values for anyone.

• Don't choose the known over the unknown just because it's comfortable.

• Don't waste time on stupid stuff or mean stuff. Frequently ask myself "Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?"

• Don't minimize success.

• Don't be tempted to Live Locked Inside when it's possible to Live Out Loud. And it is possible!

This list is subject to change and modification of course. There's more philosophical navel-pondering and drunken observations about 2005 and precarious hopes for 2006 to come later in the week. And of course some truly frightening pictures of my hair and some January Hor-O-Scopes. I do hope you'll make a list, not so much Resolutions as goals and hopes and your own To-Do and To-Don't pile for the coming year. May your list be bulleted and bold! Or numbered and small. It does not matter. To list is to live. To list online is to live out loud!

May you ... list long and prosper.

Posted by laurie at December 28, 2005 11:22 AM