Since this pandemic began, I have kept a to-do list on my refrigerator door, reminding me of a basic framework I want to have for these endless, formless days. I have replaced the list several times as I have come to know myself better.
The first list represented an old version of me that, in the best analogy I can think of, was like the clothes at the back of the closet that are never going to fit right again. To continue the analogy a little further, there are newer versions of the list that I recognize as “early pandemic me.” These are like clothes that still look good but I don’t feel like wearing. Then there is the ever-changing “today me,” which in clothing terms ranges from shapeless comfort to “pretend life is normal” wear.
I make no apologies for ignoring any phantom presence suggesting what I ought to do at this point, any more than I think I need to justify why today bare feet, old shorts, nice sleeveless blouse—and of course (the only invariable) cute earrings—feel like the right sartorial plan.
But back to the lists. Geez, I am easily sidetracked these days. I have a two-day-old list on my fridge that seems to make sense, as long as I don’t have to get all crazy about slavishly following it. Here it is:
Build on Something
I can share anything— from inviting Dan for dinner to an interesting article in the news. Building on something is so wide open it is fun to think about. I can build on an idea I have had for a piece of writing, or just make a little progress on a jigsaw puzzle. I can nurture a friendship by calling or writing a friend, or by taking food to the park for the birds. And how could I possibly make it through a day without learning anything? Ugh! What kind of a life is that?
What I like about this list is that I naturally want to do these things.There’s just enough of a hint about laying the groundwork for a more interesting and open tomorrow, without the pressure to work on it as if life is a job. I can come out of this with renewed friendships, new ideas for projects, and a sense of well being. All of this can happen if I do the little somethings that matter to me.
And, just as a little aside, my condo is spotless. I even washed the windows this week! Since I am here all the time, I notice dust so much more, and why not do something about it? Exercising means getting down on the floor for some stretches and crunches, and whoa! I was shocked at how many dust bunnies lived under the couch. No more—nurturing does have its limits, and when I start talking to dust bunnies as if they were pets, the top item on my next list will be doing something to restore my sanity.