As long as I can remember, I have made to do lists to manage my life. Even as far back as elementary school, I can remember carefully printing out reminders of tasks to myself on a self imposed list. Making the list lessened my anxiety that I would forget to do something, but increased my anxiety when items on the list remained undone.
Over the years, my daily list grew into monthly and yearly lists of important to do items in my life. During the holidays, my growing list could serve as wallpaper in a cozy room:) My lists taunt me with reminders of all that I haven’t accomplished…and all that I have yet to do.
I have tried eliminating lists from my life, but since I am growing older and suffer a few senior memory lapses it only causes me to suffer more anxiety as I try to prioritize tasks in my head instead of on paper. So, the list remains.
I am now trying something different. Instead of berating myself for unfinished items on my to do list, I am trying to focus more on what I have accomplished and less on what is left to do. I am trying to be gentle with myself and give myself grace for my unfinished tasks and trust that what must be done will get done.
I am also trying to honor those periods of time when my body and mind say, “Enough!” and set my lists aside. I use those times to tune out my To Do Life for awhile and grab a book, binge watch a favorite show or just sit outside with a cup of tea. I have found that the lists will be waiting for me after I’ve had a break and, so far, my breaks have not stopped the earth from spinning!
Sometimes, we need to stop and remind ourselves that we’re human BEings, not human DOings. We all need time in our lives to DO less and BE more.
So, here’s to all my sister list makers out there. The doers of tasks, schedules and obligations. A to do list can be a great help in keeping our lives in order. But, remember to put down the lists once in awhile and join me in a to do free break. Every once in awhile, let’s take a break from the lists and breathe in the BEing part of life.
I’ll add it to my list:)