lists / by Hope A

Keep Writing number 97 April 2017

Keep Writing number 97 April 2017

I like lists. I multiple to-do lists, short term and long term, shopping and big plans and day trips and people to write to.  I write lists to help organize my thoughts and sometimes to help me organize my memories. When the multiple plans and to-do lists become more stressful than helpful, I toss them all and simplify.

This is not new. In 8th grade I kept a tiny notebook for a week with everything I ate, not just calories and fat or things you might connect to body image issues emerging at puberty. I don't think I was trying to get skinny* but I wanted to know how I ate. I kept track of vitamins and minerals.

My friend Bear** also keeps lists. I remember a gold star chart they had in their apartment in New Orleans, giving themselves stars for cooking and spending time with friends. I like these simplified lists of what we need to do to take care of ourselves. What things in a day are important and what can be overlooked. I constantly need this reminder so this month's postcard is a list of what I think I need to do everyday to be healthy and happy and grow.  And today's tip--I alternate water and iced mint tea as it gets warmer, because I can rarely drink enough water but the cooling mint is sometimes better than coffee in the afternoon. Really. Try it. 

here come the footnotes:

*an interesting thing I just realized in the past 5 years--I thought I was skinny all those years. I am not sure any more. I am not sure when I thought I wasn't any more but I used to buy strightlegged pants though I have curvy hips strong thighs. Body image is a weird warped thing. I was lucky not to struggle with it, in the way that I felt ok about my body but what I thought I saw and what is there were generally not the same thing.

**I talk about Bear a lot. Partly because they are a great human being. But they also happen to be a great yoga instructor and life coach. They once helped me write a post-it sized plan (literally on a post-it note) about how I was going to make the most of college and graduate. If you want once a  week sweet notes from Bear, talking about taking care of yourself and social justice and being a part of a community---I strongly suggest you subscribe to their weekly love notes.  And if you are looking for some good advice and guidance on how to make your own gold star chart and more, talk with Bear about coaching. Seriously. They are the best.