I always kept it with me, hidden, and I took it out only when I was alone. But one day, my best friend Tina discovered my secret.
“Let me see that! Is this your To-Do List?!” she said gleefully.
“Give it back!” I said, but she held it out of reach.
My To-Do List was two pages of single-spaced typing, and I had folded and unfolded it so many times that the edges were frayed. I had crossed off sentences and scribbled all over it.
“Sign up and train for 5K race,” Tina read aloud. “Cool! What race?” She had recently completed the Chicago marathon.
“I don’t know,” I said. “See, this is really more like a wish list.”
“But you’ve got these sticky notes saying ‘Buy groceries for dinner’ and ‘Take dog to vet.’”
“Well, some of it is stuff I actually do.”
“Condense to one freezer.” Tina added sugar to her coffee. “You have two freezers?”
I sighed. “Three.”
“Learn more about personal finances,” she read. “Are you doing that?”
I shrugged. “I intend to. Someday.”
Tina pointed to the list. “This would make me crazy and stressed. You’ll never get all this done. Look at all these books you listed: Poetry book by Mary Oliver, Joy School by Elizabeth Berg. How long have those been on your list?”
“Well, when I go to the library, I end up checking out magazines and books from displays. I don’t follow my list.”
“I like this one: Enter Oprah’s contest.” She sipped her coffee. “You enter contests?”
The last contest I entered had a deadline of midnight and I pressed “submit” at 11:58 p.m. I had two minutes to spare, but I doubted she would appreciate that.
“Here’s a good one: ‘Update To-Do List!’ Ha, ha!”
I was beginning to hate her.
“I’m absent-minded,” I said. “I have to write everything down or I might forget something. One time I forgot to write down ‘Pick up Jimmy.’”
“You didn’t . . . .?”
I remember the incident well. I was checking email when the phone rang.
“Mom?” It was Jimmy. “Aren’t you going to pick me up?”
Tina shook her head. “You have to get organized, Sue.”
“This works for me,” I said huffily. Maybe I needed some new friends.
That evening, I pulled out my list. Should I ‘Clean out the hall closet’ or ‘Buy a floral centerpiece for the dining room table’?
Nah. I decided to use my talents.
I took a nap.
Note: Susan Ekins is a writer and the founder of Women Making Strides, a blog that encourages women to be leaders in their own lives. Sue is the librarian at her church and a leader in Worldwide Marriage Encounter. Find her blog at www.WomenMakingStrides.com and her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WomenMakingStrides1