Where have all the to-do lists gone?
I've never been a rabid to-do-lister, or really, a rabid organizer of any kind. But I did used to enjoy weekly consideration of all that I might, should or could accomplish in the days ahead. It was satisfying to salt the list with some easy, no brainer tasks - like, get milk (I mean, seriously, coffee without milk?), pick up dog food or do the laundry (at least the one pair of jeans that still fit).
That way, I knew I could scratch a decent number of items off the list and feel reasonably productive. The tough nuts, the loftier to-dos, tended to drift from week to week, even year to year - like ironing, mending, finishing (or starting) that novel or essay - but they were less glaring, their importance, and my continued procrastination, minimized by all the things I had managed to do.
When the pandemic happened, and "sheltering in place," was still new, I realized there was a ton to be done inside my very own home. Like integrating two separate trays of silverware, from when I moved into the house with my new husband, 22 years ago. Yep, two separate trays of knives, forks and spoons, in two different kitchen drawers, on opposite sides of the kitchen, for over 2 decades.
That's got to be a metaphor for something.
With multiple marriages, five kids come and gone, and two parents recently deceased, there was enough accumulated memorabilia, and just plain junk, to keep me busy for a few weeks. With the added bonus of spending all day in the comfort of my own home, in soft pants and t-shirts, cup of coffee close to hand. A month of spring cleaning before life returned to normal, seemed a reasonable proposition. But as the weeks tolled, I realized I didn't really care about having a meticulous home, or a well-organized home, or even, apparently, a very clean one.
Heading into month two of sequestration, time, and the way I intersect with it, sagged like warm taffy. I was unhinged, set adrift. Unable to predict what the day, any day, would bring. I might be compelled to use up all the smidgens of various varieties of flour in the cupboard, read a novel (or three) straight through, organize a lifetime's accumulation of buttons, or complete a 1000-word jigsaw puzzle at one sitting.
And that was only April.
Add school closures and overseeing Zoom school for grandkids 6 and 8 into the mix, the ill-advised adoption of two tightly-wound Chiweenie sisters, a broken ankle, and the realization that it's now somehow December, and while this year may soon be over (at least according to the calendar), it seems unlikely January 1, 2021, will be anything other than just another day.
To-do lists have become as anachronistic as dinner parties, hugging relative strangers, going to the movies and sharing a greasy tub of buttered popcorn. I haven't bothered to jot one down since March. The occasional shopping list is as close as I've come, and that's only because, with a broken ankle, my husband's been doing the food shopping.
The occasional "done" list has become a comforting replacement. But not on any kind of schedule. That would just be tempting emotional sabotage. But sometimes, it's mildly affirming to take a backwards look. When I haven't expected to accomplish anything, it's a pleasant surprise, a moment's lift, to see that I actually did do a thing, or two, or three. Not what I'd planned, or intended, or perhaps ever even imagined, but done nonetheless.
Like this one, for the last clump and a half of days:
New Year's resolutions? Just another to-do list, with a fancy name, and way too much pressure.
List of lists of lists of lists of lists of lists . . .
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This is a list of lists of lists, a list of list articles that contain other list articles on the English Wikipedia. In other words, each of the articles linked here is an index to multiple lists on a topic. Some of the linked articles may contain lists of lists as well.
Dorothy, author of GRAY IS THE NEW BLACK, blogs about the challenges and opportunities of being a woman and a writer of a certain age in a youth-centric universe.