Off my mind

When I get mired in a sinkhole of avoidance, as one does, I often turn to keeping a little bullet list of sorts to get me back into action. Everything I want to do on each day goes on a handwritten checklist, and as I achieve something, I tick it off and cross it out with parallel lines. The more trivial the task, the better, because it means I will get something done. Every time I get something done, I feel braver, stronger, and more ready to tackle the next thing. Not to mention that making lists is an achievement in itself.

In the mornings, I journal, and I almost never skip, but it goes on the list. Most days I meditate for a minute or three, and on the list it goes, complete with a little check-box, so that I make a neat little “x” in the box and put three lines through “journal.” Dishes. Laundry. Clean out inboxes. Check. Check. Check.

At the end of the day, I regard my page with all its checks and line-outs, and if I didn’t get something done, I just put a wiggly line and an arrow through it and put it on next day’s list if I still want to do it, so that everything on the list is marked.

Thus, everything is achieved. Everything is processed.

Yesterday, for instance, I picked up a package, returned another package, wrote a synopsis, did laundry, watered plants, went to fencing, did the grocery shopping, and picked up a few items I needed.

I only know that because I just looked at yesterday’s list. I had forgotten all of it. It was out of my mind entirely. I don’t have to keep any of it in my memory, so yesterday presented itself to me this morning as a vague, industrious humming blank.

I have outsourced my life to my little page, and there it stays, all crossed off.

Being organized, it turns out, is sometimes a process of detaching myself from reality. I’m all in favor of that, mind you, but maybe I should put “Pay attention” on my little list. Or “Be present.”

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