I like to make lists. I’m not as serious about it as my father who keeps a scrap of paper in his shirt pocket next to a golf pencil, but I like making lists. I like making lists that contain tasks I’ve already completed and tasks yet to be accomplished. I’m unsure why this is so fun for me. Perhaps it’s a comfort knowing that I won’t forget something I once thought of? Or perhaps it’s just that my brain has, as a dear friend related, reached critical mass and when new things come in, old things get pushed out. “Honey, don’t forget to get milk on the way home” can quickly be replaced by a fleeting thought. Sorta reminds me of Dori in Finding Nemo. Squirrel!
I defend myself by saying that my forgetfulness has more to do with things on my mind than being the youngest person in history to have Alzheimer’s. Lists help me remember and give the appearance that I have my shit together. It works for me. Until recently.
One of my favorite places to keep lists is in my phone. The Notes app has been my savior replacing the need to remember anything from where I parked my car at the Zoo (I have zero recollection for numbers), to recipes that I want to have with me no matter where I am. I also keep a pretty impressive list of books I would like to read. And the book list is pretty long. When I come across a book that sounds interesting, I keep the author and title in a note on my phone for easy access should I find myself in the library.
But let’s be honest, with young kids at home and working full time, time to sit and read a book is non-existent. I barely take the time to read a magazine much less an entire book. When I do read a book, I get so irritated with being interrupted while reading (“Mom? He’s picking on me!” “MOOOOMMMMMM? Can I have a snaaaack?”) that it’s better for everyone if I wait to resume my love of reading books when my kids are grown. And out of the house. Don’t assume I’m wishing the youth of my children away, but I have goals, people! I love to read but once I get started I find it hard to stop. On a recent family vacation, I started and finished The Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. For those of you who have read that book, you’ll understand that it gets rather intense. Being interrupted while my mind was racing in Afghanistan was a bit unnerving. It would probably have been best to read that another time. But that doesn’t stop me from adding books to my list.
Suggestions for good books by my favorite magazine has increased my book list into the hundreds. Years of reading. I would add to the list and never scroll down to see what was below. I took great joy in documenting what was next, but great pain in knowing “next” would be more than a decade away.
Until last week.
I woke up in the early in the morning and as usual I checked my phone. It isn’t uncommon for me to check out one of my notes and tidy them up. My kids are famous for hijacking my phone and leaving me “notes”. Some I keep, others are deleted (how many notes does one person need that say “I NEED TO POOP”). My kids left me a note that wasn’t necessary anymore so I got rid of it.
And that’s when IT happened.
I deleted the wrong note.
I wasn’t awake
I wasn’t thinking
Poof. It was my book list. Gone. The whole list. I sprang out of bed to grab my iPad hoping the syncing hadn’t caught up yet but I was too late. It was gone. Years of building the list of books I was going to read – someday.
I shuffled into the shower I began to think about what this meant. And if there was any way to recover my list (there probably was – it was in the cloud after all). But I was feeling something strange. I felt relief.
Years of list making were gone in a snap.
Years of things I should be doing but wasn’t. Gone.
I decided I wasn’t going to try to recover my list and that I was going to be okay with losing it. That it was OK and perhaps this was a sign. Reading between the lines of my long gone list was the word “guilt”. Forgetting about it seems much easier. And I have to say that feels pretty good.
I haven’t created a new list. Doing so seems like I’d be cheating on the old list. Instead, I’ll just search for books when the time is right.