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