In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Satisfaction of a List.”
List are my groove, the way I keep home and work, medical stuff and family all straight. Apps on the phone, another for the tablet, and one more for my computer all working in some coordinated manner trying to remind me of daily tasks. Take a pill, remember to get up and walk around every hour for a few minutes, did you remember to send that progress report to the office? Just a ceaseless popping electronic sound telling me, more like nagging me to complete something. Or at least decide that I can do it later, but that means moving it on the list to some other place. A digital Snooze Button?
A while back I had the opportunity to interview for a new job. It meant moving to another state, picking up everything and just taking off. Well there was a list in itself. Not only the pros and cons of the job, but all the other things that went with it. So I went to the park and put my pen on paper to help clear my mind and hopefully give me a different point of view. But than the reality of something smacked me in the back of the head, what if Whitney didn’t go? It was a strong possibility given that her mother was too involved in our lives. So I had to work on two lists, one where she went with me, another where she stayed behind.
I sat there thinking about all of the simple things that would need to go into the list should she be taking this adventure with me. A new vet for the dog and cat were at the top of the list, as were various doctors for both of us. Dentists, general practitioners, a Rheumatologist for her wrist, a Nephrologist for me; these were presented in lists of three. Culled down from information I had been provided. What about job opportunities for her? Maybe a chance to go back to Grad School? I wanted to know about schools in case we were ever able to talk about having another child. This list was easy, it was planning for a future I wanted, something to look forward to.
But on the dark side remained that list I didn’t want to create, the one where I was doing this all by myself. It contained those same doctors, my dog was still going to need a vet. There was plenty of crossover to just cut and paste between the pages. But then there were the portions that got cut, I wasn’t looking at schools. I didn’t have to worry about her opportunities. The list grew to be as long, mostly because I would have to deal with factors as a single entity and not someone who could rely on another for help.
It wasn’t the first time I had moved all by myself, the logistics of so many things handled by professionals who picked up my stuff and moved it to a new place. A group of people with their own lists, wrapping and boxing my stuff and then handing me the inventory. More lists to add to my growing pile of lists!
Eventually I sat down and gave my lists to Whitney. Both of them. One showing a bright future, a new path for us to embark upon, another signifying a very different future. She stared at the lists and really didn’t say much. I think just the simple fact that I was worried enough to create two lists left her without much to say.
Eventually I talked about the things I needed to do in order to interview, people I would need to talk to, things that would need to be cleared up on a professional level before I could make a clear decision. Another list, but this was kept in my head.
My boss was happy with the notion of me finally being in the same place as he was. He thought I was wasting my abilities by writing briefing documents and glad handing people into providing me with a glimpse into how some policy change would effect the company. Mainly he thought it was going to be a good chance to get away from some of the negative memories. He had his own list!
The list that ended up trumping it all was the one where I listed what was important to me. It wasn’t the job, not the present one or the potential future one. I didn’t care about the hassle of selling the house, which had a few issues and it’s own list.
In the end, I was so scared that Whitney would not go that I eventually wrote a polite letter asking that my name be removed from their list for consideration. We didn’t need them to bring us down for a weekend to get to know the area, we weren’t going to be moving. I didn’t want to make her chose. She would have to give up everything in order to make this work, so I did for her. Later when my mother asked what happened I just told her the job fell through. Another item to add to the list of things not to discuss with my family.
I’ve got lists surrounding me right now. My lovely, digital device shaking my wrist to remind me to do something, take something. The list taking the most priority today being the office one. They’ve been generous in allowing me time to deal with outside issues. But in the back of my mind, I still have that list of things I wold be doing with my daughter today. That one, at least today, brings a smile.