Making A List
One of the hardest traits for me to give up is list making. I truly like lists and I use them for a variety of tasks: organizing an office relocation, developing ideas and topics for future blog posts, and preparing for my upcoming vacations. Someone once wrote of me that I am, “…terrifically responsible and well organized…” and the lists are my secret. The people in my business life expect a level of performance, of quality, of perfection, of follow-through that columns of tasks enhance. Whether or not my boss, my coworkers and my counterparts know that these simple catalogs exist proves inconsequential. The results solely matter. As for my blog posts, it may be years before every topic materializes online, and my cerebral skills cannot survive more than a couple weeks unaided. Besides, just reviewing the inventory of ideas revives my passions for writing and travel. My pre-travel rosters of clothing, sundries, electronics, and miscellaneous suitcase contents, once a staple, have vanished into a conscious yet challenging effort to loosen, release, and relinquish my organizational dependencies.
The result of my surrendering sometimes impacts me little, such as the cable that connects my iPod to the stereo in the rental car. I find stores that sell this simple wired device and I know I have purchased one in Missouri and another in Nebraska when needed. I now have several, which allows me to always have one stashed in my suitcase. More challenging is stepping out of a refreshing shower before bedtime to discover the nagging feeling that I may have forgotten something held validity. I question my relinquishing when the hotel heater lacks promise and my suitcase lacks pajamas.
Acknowledging My Shortcomings
On a business trip slammed into the middle of a hectic spring semester, I continue my efforts at packing from memory. From textbooks to business requirements, I tick off the myriad of items I need for the three days across the continent. From toothbrush to documents to child care, I confidently take flight to the west coast knowing I successfully manage my personal, professional and academic obligations. As I settle into my hotel room, I discover the single missing item: my eyeglasses. My contact lenses pull double-duty for nearly sixteen hours a day and keep me humble.
I do feel a sense of pride in my ability to let go of my lists. Imagine a smoker giving up cigarettes or a barista giving up caffeine. An accomplishment that others do not witness, but one with which I struggle, my willingness to find small ways to become less compulsive, less structured, and more accepting of my possible forgetfulness. Even typing the “f” word irks me, frustrates me, and opens me to internal condemnation. Nevertheless, it humanizes me in a way I have never before chosen to be careless, and graces me with fallibility of which I benefit from embracing. I now travel listless.