I’m a list-maker.
I know I’ve touched on this in the past, but it’s a bit of a compulsion with me. Each day, each week, each month, each season, each year … it all starts with a list. The satisfaction I get from crossing off a list item is nearly unparalleled. So unparalleled, in fact, that I usually start my daily list with something I’ve already done, so I begin my day on a positive note.
don’t act like y’all ain’t above that. it’s all about morale boosting.
Here’s where the problem starts. After a while, you’re just box-checking. It’s all an exercise in monotony. For not being much of a planner, I’ve divvied my life up into fragments, made up of one unfinished task at a time. Where you you draw the line between productivity and habit? Are you productive simply because you can cross off your entire list, or does there need to be something more? Does productivity still hold as much value when you’re completing unnecessary tasks out of habit?
As I’m getting older (and, though sometimes my behavior proves otherwise, wiser), I’m learning that quality trumps quantity in almost every way imaginable. Whether its your friends group, your shoe collection, or a list of things that are purportedly “important” to you, quality wins. Size doesn’t matter, and your time is your most important possession.
Man, and y’all thought you were coming here for a dose of PSLs and pumpkins.
All that said, I’m not really ready to forgo completely my list-making ways; there is, after all, a great deal of utility to having a list. For me, I simply need to pare down expectations of myself, and prioritize my life so that it’s better spent in contentment, rather than the quest to finish my list.
Which makes my October goals list significantly different (and more in-depth) than lists past.
Sober-tober. Yeah, you heard me. Sober October. Look, I love me an ice-cold beer and a glass of red at night as much as the next gal. Truthfully, I probably love it much more than the next gal, which is why I’m taking some time to simmer myself. I’ve come to rely too much on alcohol as the King of All Things: the relaxer after a long day, the reward after a great day, the buddy when you’re pissed, and inevitably, the bastard in the morning. After recently being a sober fixture in an otherwise drunk situation, I started to take inventory of myself and the role I’ve allowed alcohol to play in my adult life, and it isn’t a pretty picture that I’ve painted. This goal really falls in line with my desire to figure out what truly fills me. It would be an exercise in futility to loudly proclaim that I will find the secret to my own contentment while approaching it in a merlot haze. Am I prepared to make a declaration to the world that I’ll play Sober Sally into perpetuity? Nope. But am I ready to take thirty-one days of something different and reassess come November? Absolutely.
Repaint the mirrors in my living room. They’re a very … vibrant yellow, and I’m toning them down to a deeper gray.
Continue taking pictures. My friend, the incredibly talented Dale Benfield, came by my house last week for a glass of wine and a quick crash-course on photography. You can tell how well a person knows a subject by how easily he can teach it, and let me tell you, kittens, he knows his stuff (but if you’ve seen his work, you already knew that). He was able to break down nuts and bolts in a way that made sense to me, and now I’m really excited to take pictures. It was hard before, because what was in my head was never what turned up on film, but after Lesson 1, I’m figuring out how to adjust and get better. Baby steps. And also lasagna, because I need to learn Photoshop, too.
Acquire a fire pit. Even if it’s one of the $59.99 ones from Wal-Mart, I’d love to have a cozy place to sit in the evenings and read or write or just live. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about contentment and what it would take for me to truly feel at home in myself. Sometimes, I need to slow down and just be. I have a never ending to-do list, one that, as soon as one task gets crossed off, two more are added. I don’t say this because I’m omgsobusyandimportant — believe me, this “business” and overload is a burden of my own making — but because, until recently, I honestly thought that rushing was the way I was destined to live. Moving and shaking and rushing and checking off the list and not enjoying what was being done. I touched on this concept a week or so ago (and above), but only recently have smaller details started coming into focus. I think a fire pit is a good place to start, in terms of stopping, taking a breath, and relaxing.
And anyway, I just really want a fire pit.