The lists gather in little books. The little books gather in stacks on my shelves and hide in drawers, and sometimes, in suitcases. Better to keep them in sight. Little books get musty in the dark. Little thoughts grow smaller.
The covers all say the same thing: Book of Lists.
Keeping these lists and these little books reminds me that I’ve had the same dreams for twenty years. They remind me that I am the same, too. Some things will always be important to me.
Some things that land in lists sound very selfish when I re-read them, but they’ve earned a place in the WHAT I WANT, SELFISH EDITION category. That’s one that doesn’t change much over the years, and always includes a camper and something to pull it. Now that the Old House is gone, a garden is back on the list, too. When I feel alone, I believe that companionship is a selfish desire. Pretty hair usually makes the cut, no pun intended.
In these little books, a dose of GRATITUDE always finds a home. My daughter always heads that list, and my family and friends come next. When I have love, I’m grateful for that. A comfortable bed, a job, good health for me and mine, a running lawnmower, and the things left to me by now-gone loved ones must always be written with a heart full of gratitude, on that full set of pages.
One book keeps the WORK thoughts segregated entirely from the DREAMS. Work lists deserve no space here, and my dreams make me blush. My dreams come hard to paper, even. I am careful of them and their power if they come true or if they don’t.
One book holds safe the dreams, and one lines up DECISIONS with questionable pros and cons. My pro may be your con, and vice versa, but it’s my list. The decision book can’t sit on the top of the stack. The ifs that stuff its covers make me restless. The cons reek of heartlessness.
Many TO DO lists read decades later fill me with pride and relief at having done. I did lay a brick walkway around a circular medicinal herb garden, with four rays pointing north, south, east, and west. That became a tattoo, also checked off a list. The tattoo took fifteen years, but the bricklaying only took a week and and a homemade wheelbarrow and some scrap from Les Nugent’s demolished house.
Most of these little books can expect to be lost to time, never read by anyone, sometimes not even read by me again, once filled.
If my future self forgets beautiful today as I have sometimes forgotten yesterday, I have a list for that.