The To Don’t List by Our Lady of the Lists

At a List-aholics Anonymous meeting I would be crowned queen.  Week after week.  Hello, my name is Memorandum Millie and today I wrote sixty-three lists.  Nine of them went through the wash, twenty-three are scattered throughout the house, a couple of them are in random pockets, a few in my bag, the rest in the paper recycle and not one of them responsible for anything much having been accomplished.

Any dull moment at work seems like a great time to me for grabbing a scrap piece of paper and jotting down TO DO’s and brilliant thoughts and ideas and observations.  It appears I have a great many of these moments, because by the end of the day my lab coat pockets have bulked up considerably with notes.  On the one hand they make me feel productive and organized.  But deranged and disordered on the other when I try to decipher and make sense of them all later. Thus the paper recycle’s raison d’être in my listed life.

To save trees I have been trying to remember to use the cute little NOTES app on my phone.  There’s still a note there from the first of April which reads “Malbec Argentina“.  This is list code for:  buy some red wine, get a malbec, the ones from Argentina are good, I can’t for the life of me remember even one specific name but it doesn’t matter because those bored guys in the liquor store live for helping brain fuzzed people like me.  It’s their raison d’être.  Two little words can say so much. 

A prof in school once suggested the reason we write things down is so we won’t have to remember them.  Of course we all madly scribbled that statement down in our notes although his point was that we should stop writing for a minute and really listen instead.  There might have been a time in my life when that worked, but it doesn’t anymore.  It’s not that I can’t listen – I can certainly absorb a lot of information with empathy and interest.  It’s the retaining part that gives me grief.  (Yes, I know you talked to me about all this yesterday, but what the hell were you going on about again??)

Anything work related for me requires copious notes;  on files, on orders, in trays, tacked to the calendar and the walls.  I’d like to say the reason for this is because I’m there only two week-days and thus don’t always know what’s going on like the rest of them do, but the sad fact is I just don’t care to have all that information rolling around in my head.  I write it down so I don’t have to remember it.

This morning I’m making a To Don’t list just for the fun of taking my list fetish in a completely different direction.  It’s not meant to be preachy, it’s directed at myself.  If it helps someone else that’s just a plus.  This one I’m writing down here so it won’t get lost, and because I never want to forget any of it.

1.  Don’t go beyond passive and become a doormat.  Nobody needs to be that nice.

2.  Don’t get your knickers in a knot about shit that doesn’t matter.

3.  Don’t fear sadness and tears but don’t wallow in them either.

4.  Don’t hate.  Don’t spread hate.  Don’t condone it.

5.  Don’t think so hard.  Don’t worry so much.

6.  Don’t forget to say I love you. Don’t forget to mean it.

7.  Don’t do it if it feels wrong.

8.  Don’t make mindless assumptions.  Don’t stop listening.  Don’t stop learning.

9.  Don’t complain.  Really, I mean it.  Stop it now.  No one wants to listen to you whine.

10. Don’t ever put your life on hold.  It’s short.  It won’t last.  Don’t stop living it.