i know that’s a nerdy thing to say, but it’s true. i love lists of things to do, usually scribbled on various pads of paper or–mostly at work–on post-it notes strewn around my desktop. post-its are my favorite because rather than have to read through scribbles and scratches on a single list, you can just rip them up and toss them. i love lists of books to read. i love my amazon wishlist (where i keep tabs on the books i want to read). i love lists of meals to make (because i need all the help i can get in the kitchen; my latest project was to transfer every recipe i had–but none that i’ve actually ever cooked from–to uniform and organized index cards, which made me very proud). i love lists of things to do–because invariably i’ll think that i’m bored or something and that’s when a list of fallback ideas would come in perfectly, though the reality is that i never fall back on those things but instead on something mundane like watching TV or calling a friend. rarely do i whip out the list and decide to go drive around a new part of town or visit the conservatory or anything.

it’s also something that my best friend often will admit to, too, about how she makes lists of things to share or things to buy or things to do or things to tell someone. one time we sat in a park and just made a list of all the bands we could think of for different letters of the alphabet. (i think i ended up getting a little sunburnt even!) and that probably explains why one of our favorite games and pastimes to do together is to play the playground favorite M.A.S.H., where you list out your future possibilities: husband (where Jake Gyllenhaal is a staple and Sufjan Stevens is an often as is Jess from Heroes); job; travel location. we also like to shake things up and invent new options (because the age-old “wedding colors” and “number of kids” just is boring and totally irrelevant). instead, we list out things like “transportation” (how about a battleship or a bunch of balloons or a jetpack or a unicorn?) or a unique talent (you might be able to predict the weather or whistle any tune or collect leaves). and then, we mark them off one by one to reveal the futures that lie before us (Jake?! In a mansion?!)

and i think in that way, lists are my way of dreaming and fantasizing, of all the things i hope to accomplish–or at least the idea thereof. they’re like wishing on pennies, scribbled on pieces of paper instead of in the bottom of a fountain. they give me time to pinpoint the future and what i hope for it to accomplish. every so often i scratch something off of it, but in the meantime, it serves as a horizon line, where reality meets the pie-in-the-sky. where the future is put into nice, tidy, attainable bullet points rather than some looming “someday.” bite-sized and fistfuls.

i’m not sure the point of sharing all this, except that it’s true and sometimes that’s enough. or at least sometimes it ought to be.

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