I know the importance of lists. I come from a long line of literate listy types. Currently I have lists in my diary of clients to follow up on, appointments, how many people we have coming for Christmas lunch, how many more squad training sessions until we start again in January, how many more days of school.
On the fridge held fast with magnets from the Orthodontist and Real Estate agent there is a twelve-bullet pointed list written in an 11-year-old hand of the 12 things she wants for Christmas complete with illustrations of elves and a calendar with Dec 25 written on it. Like I would forget. There is also an additional note about why she needs a phone to get all of her friends’ numbers. My 13-year-old has a small square with three items, top of the list simply states money.
I have highlighted things in my diary – get brakes checked THURSDAY @ 10am + rear break light. I’ve circled things like the address for my next yoga teacher training class which is different from last month and Monday day is FREE dress day at school. I also have the obligatory yellow sticky notes in my study, “Don’t forget to give this to Ally next time” on a huge heat/cold pack I ordered in. “Drop these forms in to NDIS to get signed”. I have reminders everywhere this time of year, I also have a chalk board for weekly comings and goings – who is home, what days husband is away, and the schedules.
I also have a rolling mental list to take library books back, pick up some milk, bring camera to Mums’ and Babies group for cute end of year photos, check in with P for coffee on Sunday, wrap presents, set up for Kids’ yoga on Sunday morning.
This time of year there is a lot on. Everyone decides to catch up with each other before the end of the year. Then things happen last minute, my printer runs out of ink, dash to Officeworks, grab a few Kris Kringle gifts and a quick bakery visit, cutting up jam roll roughly pretending I baked it myself for the Year 6 farewell. The shopping for nieces and nephews. I’m fitting in the gym around clients, walking the dog, feeding kids, groceries. I’m trying to justify why I poured a scoop of laundry powder into the dog bowl this morning. Even after my 6.30am meditation to clear my mind and set my focus for the day ahead.
My daughter woke up sick and I used the last bit of compassion I had rousing on her to get back to bed. I then made sure my 13-year-old ate breakfast which consisted of a broken off piece of pretend home-made jam roll. It’s so hot and no one is hungry, and we are all tired and I think that’s when things kind of turned to shit. I was distracted by my sick child, tired teen and then walked into the laundry thinking “I know I came in here for something…” so I scooped the laundry powder into the dog’s bowl. It was only after I saw the white powder in the blue bowl that my brain woke up and I said out loud “That doesn’t quite look right,” I threw the powder into the machine and closed it.
I realised I had become robotic, going about the motions, feeding kids, dog, washing every morning, driving back and forth to school drop off, visiting clients, taking girls to training, grabbing groceries, swimming laps of the pool and really not being mindful about anything, just going through the motions and trying to get everything done before the end. The end of what? The end of the school year, the end of the month, the end of the working year, ticking everything off the list. Even though I often laugh to myself in December and tell people that time isn’t linear and nothing ends in December, we all come back in January and life continues, it kind of does all come crashing to a mad halt in December before everyone falls into holidays.
My client arrived this morning for a chat. I handed her a piece of paper after our session. I found the notepad yesterday a long slender notepad with lines and tick boxes. A whole notepad of potential lists. I told her to put herself at the top and do something nice for herself. I suggested she stop racing around trying to put everyone else first. She nodded and left, patting the dog.
I sat down and sighed. I tore off a page of the notepad and wrote another list. This time it had one word. Me.
Don’t forget in the rush and bustle of the next four weeks and the screeching race to finish school or work for the year, to do something for you. I’m going to make myself a cup of tea now and later I will take the dog for an apologetic walk with lots of extra time to sniff every post.