Life Topics

What I Know

They say write about what you know.  I don’t know what I know.  I guess I can do laundry, fly an excel sheet, take care of a dog, raise two children, chew gum and walk, give up smoking, take up vaping, kill a bottle of wine, knit a sweater, take out the trash (if I have to), almost balance a check book, recite lines from a movie, walk like a chicken, sing badly, play solitaire, half read a book, edit video, send an email and attempt to “dress for success” (not usually done well).  Are any of these things worth writing about?

Instead, I sit at the keyboard trying to dream up an interesting topic.  Find one thing that makes you want to keep reading.  Are you still with me?  Good.  I’ll take baby steps to figure out where I’m going with this.  Kick around a few ideas.  Do you want to see me walk like a chicken?  Probably not.  Can I interest you in a spreadsheet demo?  No.  Maybe some dog tricks?  I’m at a loss, as I fidget and scratch my back with a pencil, wondering what to put on this blank screen.

Here I sit in the glow of the computer.  The 11 o’clock news is on in the background, with the dramatic music to make everything seem urgent.  The dog lies at my feet, breathing heavy, ready for bed.  My laundry basket sits in a dim corner of the bathroom, overflowing with a hint of yesterday’s odors.  I take deep drags from the vape blowing out stress and anxiety, thinking about what needs to be done tomorrow.  I know, I’ll make a list, YES a list!

Not like a “bucket list”, but much simpler.  You know, take notice of how I do things, and try not to do them anymore.  Live in the moment as they say.  Do all the usual stuff, but do it differently, better.  I will think of it as a “don’t” list.

Here goes:

  1. Wake up and don’t dread the morning.
  2. Take a shower and don’t curse your body in the mirror.
  3. Have breakfast, and don’t forget the medication.
  4. Go to mass and don’t fall asleep during the sermon.
  5. Say “I love you” and don’t just walk away, hold his eyes.
  6. Walk the dog and don’t forget the poop bag.
  7. Do the laundry and don’t leave a load in the dryer to pick thru all week.
  8. Call your parents and don’t cry when you hang up because they are so old.
  9. Text your sons just because and don’t forget the little hearts after you say ILY.
  10. Watch a documentary and don’t judge the hoarder, the family or the victim.
  11. Talk to the neighbor and don’t just give a small wave.
  12. Eat the ice cream and don’t feel guilty.
  13. Knit that sweater you’ve been working on for 2 years, and don’t get discouraged.
  14. Work on the computer and don’t lose track of precious time you could have with Jamie.
  15. Say your prayers and don’t leave anyone out.

My eyes are drooping so I have to go to bed now.  This life of mine, like most, is made up of small pieces that have made me the person I have become.  Sure, I can walk like a chicken and work a spreadsheet, but how can I be a better friend, daughter, Mom?  More important questions.  Will people think of me as negative if I feel guilty about the ice cream or too busy to talk to a neighbor, or have a bad body image?  Maybe they won’t even notice.

I finally know that I have to work my “list” in a positive, thoughtful way to make my journey one of love, generosity and faith.

“Time for bed McDermott.  Do you want a treat?”

Life Topics

The List

I have a List.
It’s not an extensive to-do, just a large purple post-it with that sits next to my computer.  Sometimes it’s pretty full. I would feel like a superstar if I could get it all done.   I have a pencil next to it to scratch off things that have been conquered.  Important things have stars next to them, some items have question marks, and some are faded scratches that I can’t make out.  Unfortunately, today only 3 things have been scratched off.

There are things that linger for weeks, at least it seems.  They perpetually get copied from one List over to a new List for another day.  The one thing that’s always on there is “back up computer”.  I don’t know about you, but this always gets pushed to another day.  How hard is it to back up a computer?  In my nightmares, it never gets done, and my computer crashes.  I think I might do that today, not sure.

I’m trying to be productive, be that model employee who’s on top of things.  Well, I do make some progress, but it screams at me, “research authors”, “clean studio”, and “upload programs”.   These things I might not get to today. They’re important enough to get on the List, but there’s no star next to them.

As I work, new emails flash in front of my eyes.  “Oh, a sale at Wayfair, oh new yarns at WEBS, oh Amazon recommends something.”    Just a quick look at the emails.  I happily order a few new things for myself, which are not on the List, and go back to the financial report.  Emails are a killer life and List distraction.

I wonder, am I really a List person?  As I look around me, my List is covered with files and mail.  I’ll have to unbury it to get started again.  The mess is familiar, and almost comforting, but highly unproductive.  Should I abandon the List for the quiet chaos I’m so familiar with?  No, I’ve been there.  Using a List has brought some important change in my life.  I have become more focused, more organized and more productive.  I think I’ll move the mail and files now.

I need my List to be the person I want to be.