A List of Lists

Lists I currently have somewhere in or on my desk/purse/fridge/phone/Google Drive, in no particular order:

  • a work list of things I should do today, things I should do before the end of the semester (December 7th), and things I should do during intersession
  • a Thanksgiving checklist that includes what I still have to buy, what I have to make, and what I’m going to wear
  • a Christmas checklist that includes important dates, gift ideas, and shopping lists (this one will eventually have lists of what I’m going to wear to various things, too, but I’m not quite list-crazy enough to plan my outfits a month in advance (yet))
  • a list of things I need to do for my classes before the end of the semester
  • a list of classes I still need to take for the MLIS program and the semesters I am hoping to take them in
  • a list of bills I need to pay
  • a list of wardrobe pieces I would like to acquire as my discretionary funds permit
  • a list of non-necessity purchases made this month so I know how my discretionary funds are doing
  • a list of kitchen equipment I could use to make cool, fancy things if I remembered to spend my discretionary funds on them and not new clothes and eating out (but I like new clothes and eating out)
  • an ongoing list of kitchen staples I have run out of
  • a general to-do list of things that don’t fit on any of my other lists
  • a list in the “Reminders” app on my phone that contains the most important and/or time-sensitive things from all the lists so that I will be reminded of them whenever I compulsively fiddle with my phone

I am both a person who enjoys being organized and productive, and a person who can be very lazy if I let myself. Having determined, after 27 years of this, that I am not likely to wake up tomorrow as a person whoisn’t going to be very lazy if I let myself, I try to keep myself on my toes while there’s stuff to be done and enjoy the time I get to be lazy afterward. Hence: lists.

I’m going to spend a lot of time over the next few weeks complaining about how much stuff I have to do, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t enjoy it.

On the delicate art of not waiting for my life to magically sort itself out.

…And then I didn’t post here for about six months!

Part of my lack of blogging here can probably be attributed to sheer laziness, but part of it is that when I realized a few months ago that I hadn’t posted anything here in a long time, I felt like my first new post should be something really long and interesting and special, and kept writing and discarding potential posts in my head and, well, continued to not post anything for a few more months. Because if I wait around for the perfect blog post I am never going to post again, basically.

Which ties in with other stuff that’s on my mind, because lately I’ve been trying to stop waiting for the conditions to be right to do things and just DO them, or do what I can to make the conditions better, or SOMETHING. I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time in the past waiting to do things. I keep looking forward to a time when I will have lots of energy and free time and do all the things I want to do and get my act together and make my life as awesome as I would like it to be, and surprise, surprise, that time never comes.

In the past, I’ve applied this kind of thinking to small everyday things like doing housework or getting rid of clutter or, say, blogging, and bigger things like going back to school, or dating, or learning new skills, or building up my savings account. I’m finally starting to make some progress with school, but now I need to avoid writing everything else off with “I’ll think about that when I’m done with school”. Dating, for example–it’s not a huge priority, but I have not been on a date in a long time and. y’know, I would kind of like to. But every time I think about checking my OKCupid inbox or going to stuff where I might people or anything else that might result in a date, I decide that on some level I’m not ready for that and put it off until an unspecified future time. What exactly needs to happen in my life before I will be “ready” to maybe go have coffee or drinks with someone? What is the difference between the self I am now and the hypothetical self who could date? Probably nothing but my attitude.

And I get pretty frustrated with myself about it, because it usually turns out that I’m the biggest thing standing in my way. Like with school–for years I talked about how I’d like to go back to school, and perfect conditions for doing so did not magically manifest themselves. And I finally realized that they weren’t going to, and I just had to do the best I could with the conditions I had. And I’m happy to say that school’s not the only area I’ve made progress in. In the past couple of weeks, my apartment has become less cluttered than it has been in years, and I’m making pretty good progress on not letting it sink back into clutter. That didn’t happen because one day I magically woke up with more free time and energy, it happened because I made myself start using the time and energy I have more productively.

One of the biggest lessons of adulthood for me has been learning that no, really, things are not going to happen unless I make them happen. Just like my clothes aren’t going to get washed unless I wash them and there’s not going to be food in the kitchen unless I go to the store, my long-term goals and ambitions are never going to happen if I just sit around thinking about how I’d like them to happen. I spent a lot of my high school years thinking my life would somehow sort itself out once I got to college, and a lot of college thinking my life would somehow sort itself out when I graduated, and then a lot of my early twenties waiting for something that wasn’t even concrete, like I was waiting for a visit from the Responsible Adulthood fairy. I don’t want to waste the rest of my twenties waiting for things to somehow sort themselves out. If I want my life to ever be the life I really want, I need to start sorting.

And, hopefully, not going six months at a time without posting anything here again.