02 July 2011

its not about finishing

I've talked about my superpower here many times.

I am a List Maker. I organize my life via neat little columns of writing (hand writing, not typing - I remember it better if I actually put pen to paper) and post it notes. Nothing thrills me more then a parade of colored squares with details arranged across my desk (I know, a little weird but what can I say? I'm a Virgo).

Part of my commitment to myself to slow down during the month of June had been to let my lists get sleepy. Instead of dictating deadlines, I simply kept them more as a tool to remember things I want to get done at some point.

And a realization hit me:

The lists will never ever be finished.

Seems pretty obvious, doesn't it? But the truth is that I get tied up in getting. things. done. (Do you?) I'm always moving around the idea that there will be an end to the list, that I can reach a point where there will be nothing left to do.

Life isn't built that way. I feel sort of silly for taking so long to understand this.

A certain degree of urgency has drained away, a tenseness has creeped out when I wasn't looking. I'm not feeling frantic about not having enough time, not getting things done, not crossing off the whole list with thick lines that signal finished.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not about to just wander without purpose. Some deadlines still need to be honored but imagine how much more enjoyable it will be (and how much less stressful) if I don't treat it like a race?

Feels more balanced.

I'm off work for the next nine days. My day job shuts down for a week every july. Its not really my favorite time to take a break (we all know how I feel about the heat and sun) but who am I to complain about so much free time? You don't have to tell me twice. ;-)

I've got a list. Its long. Its impossible to finish in the time that I have off. But instead of springing out of bed in a frantic rush to start ticking things off, I did this instead:

Candy apple red nail polish.

And I ordered some supplies from Dharma. And I'm heading out to pick up strawberry pies for a small gathering with friends tonight. And I'm listening to the westie snore softly beside me while I write this post.

The Lists and I are going to be good friends, I can tell.


Bianchii said...

I invite you on my new blog.
Will be a lot of pictures, music, films, cars etc.
It would be nice if you visit my blog sometimes :)


Michigoose said...

I think Bianchii just spammed you...

Do you suppose we'll have lists after death? I remember that when I told one of my interns at the museum that the list is never done...that you just move things on to the new list, he just about flipped. That's ok...it's all about one item at a time and it is so satisfying to cross stuff off.

Cami said...

Love your thoughts today on your blog. I m just like you. Always racing to get the job done... and pushing the people around me to getting those things done too! ( I am a mother for peets sake... ) Somedays I just don't understand how people can take so long to get around to doing something... So yes... I should just slow down and enjoy life. Does it matter that it doesn't all get done today? Love your feet today too!
Cami - PS trying hard to build my wordpress blog. Need a word press fairy to help... the process is driving me crazy... but thanks for your blog!

Deb Prewitt said...

I wonder how many of us actually think that our lists will be completed one day? Ha Ha

I used to have a few things that I just never seemed to get to, that would get moved from one list to the next over and over again. I finally realized that those things were obviously not a priority to me or I would have done them at some point. So I quit moving them on to the next list. It was incredibly freeing to do. I only miss them being on my list every once in awhile.

Kim Hambric said...

I've arrived slowly to this realization, too. I love a completed list, although mine are fairly short to begin with. I'm often amazed when I come across a dust-covered list in my studio. Perhaps two items out of six were ever completed. But when I know that those two items were important, I can toss the lists without (too much) guilt.

Was life easier before the invention of Post-It notes?

Hope you have a great "vacation." Be creative and explore.