Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy this guest post from my sister, Jeanne.
Another day when if I have to know the day or time, I look at my phone. Forget dates, no idea if it’s the 7th, the 15th, or whether we are into the 20s by now. Some days I forget the month.
Each day slides quietly into the next. Where my old life was divided into appointments, meetings and occasional daylong shopping excursions, this quarantined life is dictated by my lists. It consists of itemized reminders of the tasks and projects I hope to accomplish each day. Some entries require immediate attention: no milk, go to the store, put the trash out, stick a chicken in the oven for dinner. Some may take a few days – garden planting, sewing projects, painting the garage door. Some are simply aspirational like learn Italian or lose 10 pounds, read Moby Dick. The aspirational may never happen but on the rare chance we experience a pandemic, they could be worth tackling.
Well as it just so happens, quarantine 2020 is the answer to all those delayed projects and tasks you have pushed aside as too time-consuming or requiring too much focus. But I must finally admit that many of those lofty enterprises that I had placed on my long-term goal list really are just simply things I admire in other people but am too lazy to actually accomplish myself. I would love to be multilingual, to fit into much slimmer styles, as well as read all the great novels of the last 100 years. But none of that is likely to happen. Sadly COVID 19 has made me more pragmatic, henceforth, the list must change. Only goals that can be accomplished within one to three days will be included on my daily list. No more frustration with uncrossed out entries. To remedy the still daydreamer in me, I have also started a second list in a small purple notebook. It contains only aspirational entries, things the young self who resides inside my old tired body still secretly yearns to accomplish. It’s tucked away so not to embarrass my youthful survivors, yet close enough to remind my heart of chances.
I write lists because my memory and my memories grow less reliable. I want to remember, so my lists are as helpful as a kind assistant. Some desk drawers are filled with old lists, most tasks accomplished, I hope. I leave them to remind me of things I have done. Silly, but when you are old you can do silly things. My tabletops are often stacked with paperwork for chapters of books I am writing, memos, reports, letters and cards to finish as well as the ubiquitous lists that are so much a part of my life. The luxury of living alone is no one complains, “not even the chair”.
Thank you Neil Diamond.