Someone laughed at me the other day because I make lists. I am a list maker. I may even be a list hoarder. I like to see my responsibilities mapped out- with bullets and stars. I am not sure if this grew out of my need to remember things in my crazy, three-kid-work full- time world, or if it is my deeper need to feel a sense of accomplishment when I can scratch items off the list(s). When life gets hectic, it’s nice to know that, although the laundry didn’t make the cut, I did pick up my oldest child from practice, and I did email the mom of the kid who seemed depressed. These are things I can hang my hat on as the moon rises.
I have lists all over the place.
I have lists on sticky notes that I attach to my work laptop.These are the urgent, must-finish-today things. These are the “CYA” things. These are jotted in nearly illegible scratches. The residue left from the trashed sticky note makes me happy; I accomplished. I dodged a bullet. Or two.
I have lists in my “notebook-o-lists” which I keep visible on my desk. Here I scrawl tasks both large and small, albeit not tasks with the same imminence as the sticky-note cousins. I draw lines through finished items. If a page has too many scribbles, I move to the next page and put the unfinished items at the top. Its a fresh start. I feel bad for the items who keep getting bumped along. They eventually get my attention out of this sense of pity.
I have lists written under each day in my calendar of the activities that need pick ups, drop offs, snacks, and/or fancy clothes.
I have lists of my favorite books: books I want to read, books that folks recommend to me, and books I hated. I keep these lists on my favorite book-nerd app, my soul-calming app: Goodreads. This app also allows me to view the lists of all my reader friends. Yes, I like to look at the lists of others- a sure sign that I have a problem.
I have “lists of lists” housed in the “NOTES” app on my phone. These lists are all over the place. I keep lists of blog ideas, lists of gift ideas, lists of cool quotes I find, lists of who paid dues for things I collect, lists of cool snippets I think of that I may want to use somewhere, lists of ideas for my novel, lists of songs I hear that I want on my ipod, and lists of my dreams.
I have lists that I don’t have time to write down. These are the lists that rattle around my brain at times when I can’t write them down. These lists are often fleeting, thus frustrating. I need these orphan lists to find their forever homes.
I buy books of lists. I’m drawn to them. The English Teacher’s Book of Listsstares at me from the right, and 10,000 Ideas for Term Papers, Projects, and Speeches watches me from the left. I have David Letterman’s books of “Top 10s”, and they crack me up.
Even as I disclose my lists, I feel annoyed at myself- I should have pre-written a list of my lists, to order them and make sure that they flow properly. Alas, I cannot allow it. What I can do is try to understand my list lunacy. I can realize that my lists are therapeutic in my life. They make me feel good. I work best when I have lists. Lists bring order to a life of confusion. Lists take away the fear of forgetting.
My name is Heidi and I am a list hoarder.