Neurotic list makers and type A note takers rejoice! A new year is upon us- which means another reason to make another list....as if we really needed one.
I actually made this list today in addition to three others: my to-do list for today, my to-do list for tomorrow, and the remaining outline of the Maeva's Coffee Business Plan.
Am I in love with the feel of a good ink pen- gliding across a vast white surface foretelling magical things to come? The contrast! The creation! Maybe its the print versus the loopy- a subtle difference in font that expresses my subconscious enthusiasm for each listed task. Laundry: loopy. Learning to make a good pot of chili: print. Filing sales tax online: loopy. Drawing a mock up for the new signage out front: print. Maybe I love the way my handwriting looks on the paper itself; an extension of my resolve and determination to be tidier, to make things, to go, do, and be. Maybe I love the way each letter looks with a single neat black line through its structural shape. Finished. Complete. Time to start again.
My mother teases me when I make to-do lists that already have things I've done on them. I do this so I can start doing a to-do list by crossing something off. Isn't it the best cure for the trepidiation of beginning? Reflecting on what has been done? She doesn't think "Waking Up" should be on a to-do list. "It's a given."
A list gives me some hope in the finite. In a Milton world where every visitor is more than happy to remark that "You don't expect to ever get this place done, do you?", I need some finite boundaries to my wild ambition. I need to look on a paper and say, "See here! Everything thing I want to do fits within the bounds of this small sheet. Carefully calculated, yet somehow miraculous in its implication of possibility. If I finish this list for today/this project/this year- I will be satisfied that I have completed what I have set out to do." (Inside, I remark, "Which is far more than said questioner will do in such a time frame" and instantly chastise myself for having thought to compare a stranger's doubt to such a glorious list.)
I can write anything on that list. In that way- the paper is as infinite as my own energies and deep love for everything every moment could possibly hold. I yearn for the day that my New Year's List says:
Publish a Novel
Illustrate a Children's Book
Travel to South America
Weld a Giant Elephant Sculpture
Learn to Garden without Killing Everything
But not this year. Not this list. This New Year's List is modest and private....because the excitement of implied public goals have overwhelmed the ambitions I have for my singular person. This year I'll make a habit out of consistently folding my clothes and putting them away when they are clean, instead of wearing them out of the basket. Maybe that'll make me feel more grown up- the wondering child still at twenty seven. Oh, and I'll help to start Alton's only coffee shop. That's pretty grown up. Let's put that on a list.
A list is an expression of my inner confidence of my brief time here in the whirling universe. When my small, small mind starts to whisper at 2:38am in the dark morning "You don't matter. It doesn't count. What good is it anyway?" I hearken to my completed lists. Uncrumble them from the trash bin, dig them out of drawers and out from cluttered piles of unopened mail on my desk. Look at all of the dark black lines through those words. Look at the things done! Write another one new- I say to myself in moments of doubt- and give yourself the physical ticket of permission to do more. It's an invitation. My consent. Admit One to Trying Again.
Even a list of tedious chores does not dull my love of bullet-pointed expression. Those lists I view with stark, monastic appreciation and respect for the good things I've been given. A bed to make, a litter box to clean.
If you would ask my favorite holiday- I would never ever say "New Year's" aloud. Not in this place where it's so unpopular to admit you have ambitions to "eat better" or "exercise" without cushioning it with the following clause "but you know how those things go- I probably wont last til February! No one does! Harharhar".
What if I do? What if this is the year of Meredith Fixes the Things She Wants to Fix About Herself and Has No Shame of Having Fixed Them?
That being said, I've got a sourdough starter working in my kitchen right now. Couldn't wait until the New Year proper to start checking things off.