Friday, December 11, 2009

Countdown to Christmas - Lists

"You will achieve grand dream, a day at a time,
so set goals for each day -
not long and difficult projects, but chores that will take you,
step by step, toward your rainbow.
Write them down, if you must, but limit your list
so that you won't have to drag
today's undone matters into tomorrow.
Remember that you cannot build your pyramid in twenty-four hours.
Be patient.
Never allow your day to become so cluttered that you
neglect your most important goal
to do the best you can,
enjoy this day, and
rest satisfied with what you have accomplished."
Og Mandino

Photo: In case you ever wonder about what Santa does on his day(s) off. He sits around in his spa robe and checks his list which is now computerized and much easier to cull.

Today I have lists on my mind. Probably because I should have made one (or more) weeks ago to keep me on track. I have several half-finished projects, most of which lead up to a luncheon I'm having on Wednesday. Usually my writing group meets at Paneras but in a moment of festive frivolity, and perhaps a bit of foolishness, I offered up my home for a holiday lunch.

The thing is, I'm really focused on it. I can't think of what to buy people for Christmas, or when to get cards written, or how to fit baking and vacuuming into the next few days. Did I mention I'm having company on Saturday? I keep telling myself it will all get done, because in my experience it will. But like standing out the check out counter searching for my check card, with a hundred dollars worth of groceries in bags before me and a line of grumpy customers behind me I have to panic a little for good measure. And I must also tell my inner Martha Stewart to lighten up. I am NOT going to make pastel colored royal icing for my cookies then individually place silver dragees (those little silver balls that crack your teeth) along the edge. Not in a box, or with a fox; not in a house and not with a mouse.

Oh God, now I'm channeling Dr. Seuss

So instead of finishing up at least one of my projects, I made the mistake of sitting down at the computer. Because I was thinking of how much easier my life might be if I made more lists.

One of the Christmas traditions that I have grown to look forward to more than dreamy possibility that Santa might bring me a winning Powerball ticket and wipe away all my worries, is Weneki's annual Favorites list. A few years ago she began including her "Things that Moved Me" and "Top 10 Movies" in her Christmas cards. Gradually the lists have grown to include favorite live shows, songs, food and drink, all in 8pt font.

A lot of the movies, bands and songs I've never heard of. Actually make than most of them. It's fun, however, to see that she not only enjoyed them but can remember them! Her things that moved me list never fails to move me. My daughter doesn't live a magical life without pain or sadness, but she never fails to make a list at the end of the year where she blesses the goodness in her life.

Last fall I watched my woman/child achieve a spectacular physical goal for which she'd trained for 9 months. It was like watching a person I'd never seen before. How can that be? How can a mother not know her own child? The reality is that even though I've known her since she took her first breath, my daughter has grown into a beautiful and remarkable woman. This is no surprise, yet it takes my breath away when I realize I've missed so much of transformation.

Is this a stage of parenting that I didn't know about? And how does it compare with a father/daughter relationship that seems to have never left the oedipal stage? Just when I feel like a grown woman who can manage life's ups and downs, my dad says something that makes me feel 3 years old. It's kind of weird, don't you think?

On another note, I think the quote at the top of this post is going to be my mantra for the New Year. I'm not a goal maker - no surprise there! But I like the idea of moving towards my own personal rainbow!

But here's another one I liked almost as much by novelist/journalist/screenwriter/children's author and comic writer, Neil Gaiman:

I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school.
They don't teach you how to love somebody.
They don't teach you how to be famous.
They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor.
They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer.
They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind.
they don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying.
They don't teach you anything worth knowing.

Perhaps the last line is a tad exaggerated, but I think the point is well made. How can one find their own rainbow, and not know some of life's important lessons? Maybe that's where a good list comes in.

Wishing for you time enough for holiday projects, lunch with creative friends, remembering things that moved you this year, and visions of a rainbow with your name on it,

Merry ME


Fire Byrd said...

oh I love lists. and with my feeling fragile to put it mildly(!) the writing and doing of a list is small and so satisfying. almost as if I'm living a life right now not built on fear but on done chores!

Anonymous said...

That is one great, happy picture of Santa! lg