Elizabeth: Shredding the To Do List

Happy 2019!

Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.

I don’t know about you, but I’m still trying to get used to the fact that summer is over, never mind accept that it’s the start of a whole new year.  Despite my mental denial however, the clocks did tick past midnight Monday night and the big sparkly ball did drop in New York’s Times Square (in the rain, even), so that means the 1/1/2019 on my calendar is apparently correct.

On the plus side, to mangle a quote from an old favorite book of mine (Anne of Green Gables):

“it’s a brand new year with no mistakes in it yet.”

Normally on New Year’s Day, after enjoying the annual outdoor Hockey Classic on television, along with a mimosa or two, I kick off the Great Winter Cleanup, which occasionally includes dismantling the Christmas tree with the help of a chainsaw (don’t ask!).

I like the out-with-the-old feeling and the knowledge that, however briefly, everything is in its place and those things that have outlived their purpose are on their way out, never to be seen again.

But I wasn’t ready to dismantle the tree just yet.

And although I took some of the decorations down, I wasn’t quite ready to call this holiday season a wrap.

So after the hockey game (congratulations, Bruins!), I traded my mimosa for a café au lait and headed out to the backyard to pull weeds, mow the lawn, and enjoy the fresh air.  It was calm and peaceful and, frankly, more relaxing than cleaning house.

Eventually, the yard was tidy, the coffee was gone, and other tasks called.  One of which was transitioning from my old, swiftly disintegrating briefcase/computer bag to the new one Santa thoughtfully left beneath the tree.  As I moved things over from one to the other, I came across my 2018 To Do list.  I’d like to say that all the items on that list had been successfully checked off before the year ended, but that wouldn’t be even remotely true.

Some of the items not only hadn’t been completed, but they’d been on the previous year’s list as well.  Possibly even the list before that.

Frankly, my To Do list could be more appropriately called my Never Do list.  Or maybe the Should-Do-But-Don’t-Want-To-Do list.   Or possibly the Wishful-Thinking List.

So instead of transcribing the unfinished 2018 tasks to a new 2019 To Do list so I could not do them again this year, I took the old list and ran it through the paper shredder.

So satisfying!

When it comes to my Day Job, I have deadlines and deliverables and Action Plans to follow, but this year, when it comes to my personal life, I’m going in a different direction.

As I started already today, and frankly subconsciously started months ago, I’m focusing on doing the things that make me happy.  That may mean the kitchen doesn’t get remodeled until something breaks or falls off the walls (I’m looking at you kitchen cabinet!), but I can live with that.

It may also mean that writing will take a backseat when there’s another book just calling out to be read or a craft project whose time has finally come or something else that catches my interest.  I’m okay with that too.  That’s why, baring a post-Christmas miracle, I won’t have an entry in this year’s final Golden Heart contest, as some of our other 8 Ladies will.  I wanted to, but not enough to actually do so.

Looking at last year’s / this year’s publication plans Nancy and Jeanne have been reporting on, I’m impressed by all they’ve accomplished and everything they’ve got planned but frankly, I get tired just reading their To Do lists.   While we may have some of the same long-term goals, I’m taking the longer, slower, scenic route to get there.  I’ll undoubtedly get distracted along the way, and I may never actually reach the final destination I thought I was heading for, but I have every intention of enjoying the journey.

Without a To Do list.

For today, my only goals are to make a little more progress on the blanket I’m crocheting, read a few more chapters in the latest Louise Penny book I’m reading (I think I have a character-crush on Armande Gamache), and then curl up for a good night’s sleep beneath my freshly-washed flannel sheets.

I’m confident I’ll be successful.

Better yet, I’ll be happy which, coincidentally is my word for 2019.

Funny how that all worked out.

So, what does 2019 look like for you?

10 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Shredding the To Do List

  1. I love that your word for 2019 is “happy.” I’m going for that, too, especially reading more. I want to try more new authors, especially since I didn’t find many in 2018 that I was crazy about.

    Onward and upward!

    • Good luck with the new authors, Kay. I found three real keepers last year, but I had to kiss a lot of frogs to find them. 😀

  2. Sometimes high pressure works, and sometimes it backfires. I cruised through 2018 without a lot of expectations, so maybe I can start the Chinese New Year off with a bang and some goals. But I’m just not ready yet . . . a few health issues and stress about my daughter’s entrance exams have put things on hold a bit.

    I did one of those crazy “this word search will be your omen for the coming year” puzzles — the kind that has hidden words like “wine” and “magic” in them. I was bemused but fairly satisfied with my words: reach, leap, sex. LOL, it sounds like extreme Kama Sutra! But I take it to mean, make a plan, take the action, reward myself afterward (or during) — make it sexy!

    But not yet! Maybe in March I’ll start in earnest again. But for now, I’ll enjoy turning over this and that during the fallow period of winter.

    • Michaeline, I love the word-search-omen idea and how you interpreted your words. You shared some great stories with us in 2018, so it seems like cruising through 2018 with no expectations worked out pretty well for you. Looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings.

      • (-: Well, if we each do three decent things in a year, by the end of a decade, we should (in theory) have plenty for a self-published collection! And, since we’re on year five of the blog, that means I’m about halfway there. These things do add up!

  3. Loved your post! My word for this year is “selfish” but only in the sense of guarding my time and commitments so I can do what makes me happy. I’m a mostly empty nester and have always put aside my wants for my family’s well being. This year, I’ll do my workouts even if dinner is late; I’m doing what works for me first. My husband recently asked my “what do YOU want to do?” and I was alarmed that I had no input. I’ve always gone with someone else’s wants. So that’s why my word this year is selfish.
    Safe travels!

    • I have to say, that sounds like a great word for 2019! I was raised as the middle child of seven kids. As a matter of practicality, parents of large families teach their children that selfishness is the ultimate character flaw.I’m just now, as I look at turning 65, starting to realize they may have been wrong. Or maybe that I’m defining the word “selfish” too harshly.

      I’ve been reading When Breath Becomes Air. In it, Paul Kalanithi, the terminally ill physician who wrote it, talks about visiting a home for people with brain injuries as part of his medical training. The home was filled with a lot of people who had nearly drowned as children. Even more heartbreaking, most of them never got visitors.One of the workers at the home told him that when patients first arrived, their families would visit once or twice a day. Then once a week, then only at Christmas and Easter. And then they’d move as far away as they could.

      I have a brother just a couple of years younger than I. He was born with cerebral palsy and developmentally disabled–he has the IQ of an 18-month-old child. So, probably better off than a lot of the patients Dr. Kalanithi described. He lived with my dad until Dad passed away in 2001 and then went into a home (and loved it, by the way),

      My other siblings all moved down south over the years, and I’m the only one left in the area now. I visit every him Sunday and feel guilty if I have to miss a week. I used to think the fact that I don’t go more often than that was selfish/lazy, and that may be true, but after 18 years of regular visits, I’m going to stop thinking of myself as selfish and give myself a pat on the back instead.

    • I’m sorta/kinda an empty-nester — my daughter graduates from high school in 2019, and will probably move to a different city, so it’ll be a time commitment of maybe two or three weeks a year, instead of the more constant demands. She lives in a boarding house near her school right now, so the daily demands of meals on the table and laundry every two days are pretty much gone already.

      It’s a little bit sad and lonely . . . but it’s mostly exciting to think about the things I can work on now. Shhh! Don’t tell her that!

  4. Pingback: Jilly: 2019 In A Word – Eight Ladies Writing

  5. Pingback: Elizabeth: From To Do to Done – Eight Ladies Writing

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