Saturday, May 9, 2009

No Satisfying List

As a college student, I was always able to make a list and check it off as I went.  I might start the semester know I would have sixteen papers to write, 32 books to read, and 14 major class projects (my numbers may skew slightly high, but not by much).  As I got through each one, I could cross it off on my master list.

In the grown up world, there is no master list.

The list changes every day.  It grows and does not end.  I can cross off days on a calendar.  I can know that once I FINALLY get student essays graded I only have one more major project left to grade.  But I still have worksheets to create, a final to write, and students to corral for the final 19 days of class.  Beyond that, I have already started to block out things for next year (because I am nothing if not a glutton for punishment).  And I’m trying to learn to use this online program that will make my class more web-based and give my student’s more responsibility.  Ultimately, it will be a timesaver, but it requires a lot of up-front time.  I guess what I’m saying is that now that I am an adult, my list looks different.  I might get through my tasks for the day, but there is no real end in sight. 

My list has extended to other areas too.  I have a list of projects for the house.  Truly a list for every room.  A list of rooms to clean (and just as soon as they are crossed off, it’s time to put them on the list for next week).  A list of things to do in the yard/garden.  A flower bed that is constantly in need of weeding.  A vegetable garden that could quickly become overwhelmed with weeds if this rain doesn’t knock it off.  A list of people I need to write to, people to call, appointments to make, things to do.  Each day that I knock off a few, something else appears.  I know that will only continue as we get older, have more commitments, and start having children and their appointments and commitments.

So, basically, I still live by my lists.  I still get the feeling of satisfaction from crossing things off the list.  It just doesn’t seem like the list will ever end.  And for that, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today.  I looked at my sister’s Facebook status (she likes lists the way I like lists….we’re more alike than we ever thought we’d be) and she is down to mere hours at Purdue for the year, and then she’s celebrating with a trip to Chicago, her future home for a few years.  And her list will shorten.  She’ll be home for the summer.  She’ll still be busy (because she’s my sister and my mother’s daughter….she doesn’t know how to not be busy) but she may let her list go for a bit.  I usually did.  It was nice.

But I wouldn’t go back.  I may have my moment of nostalgia this morning where I wish I could still be a college student.  But I love being a wife and a teacher.  I love that I have a small callous on the top of my left palm that is from working and writing with my wedding rings on my hand.  I noticed it this week for the first time, while at school.  We were talking about the rough hands of a character in our story, and I was showing my students my hands as a comparison….as hands that were not rough, had not seen a lot of physical labor, and I noticed my small callous.  I have been married long enough that my wedding band has rubbed a callous on my hand.  Oh, I just love that. 

I love that when my husband comes home from work, the first thing he does is grab hold of me and give me a hug and a kiss.  I love that he loves my lists.  They tickle him to no end.  He’s more of a do it and move on kind of guy, and it doesn’t really phase him if he forgets something, so he doesn’t see the need for lists.  Or file folders full of pictures of house ideas.  Or computer folders dedicated to the ideas I have for each room of the house.  Or plant magazines with post-it notes explaining where I would place each plant.  Or the obsessive search for the perfect white bedding (I’m leaning towards a white quilt at Target) in my semi-redo of the bedroom that he doesn’t really know about.  Or lists of books I want to check out from the library with their id number next to them, so I know where to go to get my book.  Or a paint deck with post-it notes explaining where I want to use each color.  Or any number of things that I do that make little to no sense to anyone else.  But he adores me.  And that makes my neverending lists completely worth it.

Now, I’m off to start my list for today so I can make sure I’m ready to go to Indy in a few hours. 

1 comment:

Zach from Purdue said...

And this post is exactly why I decided to stay in school for a few more years...

A MA or even doctorate sound far more appealing than callouses and daily lists. I will cherish the callouses and whatnot soon enough but before this past school year I still wanted the short and unimportant lists (written on back pages of notebook pages) of books, papers and creative writing notebook.

This did get me thinking... maybe it isn't so bad that I enjoy lists and the "eh let's just move on" attitude. Thanks.