I am a list-er. I didn’t realise how much I loved lists until I came home from the hospital with my new baby early this year. Two minutes after we got in the house I was bawling my eyes out in the middle of the kitchen. My husband hugged me and assured me that it was normal to be like that. We heard the nurses say it a lot – this whole post-natal depression thing. But no it was not PND. I was trying to articulate that I wasn’t depressed in between sobs, but I couldn’t.
I said something like this: “I feel like…like I’m free-floating on air like a balloon that’s been let go, you know?”. Hubby looked confused so I then continued with: “I feel like I lost my anchor. I don’t know where to hang onto!”, well that didn’t really help him understand either.
Thankfully, a few days later I was able to explain it to him. It was the lists. I haven’t made a list since giving birth and I can’t start my day without them. I thought I wouldn’t need lists and just go with the flow during my maternity leave. I thought my lists were mostly for my work and study life. Obviously I didn’t know myself well enough because once I wrote my first maternity leave list I felt grounded again.
This was my list:
I still smile when I remember how good I felt once I sat down and made a list of things I wanted to do.
Making the list is only half of the fun, though. Ticking it off. Now that’s a feeling I will never be able to explain to anyone – ever. Why did I think that I could do without lists when I have amassed more than 10 Moleskine diaries full of lists over 10 years?
I don’t even know why I keep these diaries. Maybe someday I would like my children to discover something in them? I did have some recipes written there somewhere. But mostly these diaries are just lists of things for me to do every day – chores mostly and what I ate that day.
Another thing that each diary have is a list of goals at the back for me to re-visit every last day of the year. My 2014 goals have red ticks next to them. Red, very distinct, heavy-written ticks. If you stare closely you will see in each stroke the satisfaction, relief and pride of accomplishing those goals…
2014 was the year that I made lists, learnt a lot and worked hard, while 2015 was the year I made lists, and enjoyed some accomplishments. This year was the year I made the following lists:
- List for making my first daughter feel important as a big sister
- List of things for our family to do together
- List of things to organise for the Naming Day (Surprise Wedding)
- List of books to read about parenting
- List of places to visit for our honeymoon
I also had a list of “projects” to do while on maternity leave (see image above). Out of the 8 I only really completed or semi-completed 3. I was feeling a little disappointed in myself the other day because, you know, lists. They are supposed to be ticked off. But a friend who I haven’t seen for years pulled me up from the wallowing by saying this during our catch up lunch: “I can see that you’ve been winning – having a baby, getting married, doing well in your Masters…”
She reminded me that sometimes the items I write on my lists are bigger than the lists themselves. That I really should be grateful that I even ticked that first item in my Goals 2014 list! That in itself, and the fact that I gave birth to a healthy baby and she is a happy, thriving, cheeky 10-month old now should topple all lists put together.
Yes, I love lists, but this year I learnt that if I ever feel like I’m free-floating and that I’ve lost my anchor again, I should write lists. BUT also I should just look up from writing the lists and appreciate my children and my husband and the goals we have been achieving together as a family.
Ok, but of course I have to write my 2016 goals right? So here it is…
May 2016 be a year full of red ticks and happy, housed families.