Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Future Gift

My to-do list has become a virus. It has split itself at the cellular level and sprouted new versions that have taken root in notebooks, in my Blackberry memo pad, in my computer sticky-note application, and in that part of my brain that wants to think about other things, namely iTunes playlists.

So far, iTunes seems to be winning. After spending two hours this morning trying to deal with financial fallout caused by me mistakenly thinking four jobs would be enough to pay my bills, this viral to-do list has short-circuited everything I need to be productive.

Actually, I think the real virus I have has done that. (The one that gave me a 101 degree fever on Christmas. The one I get EVERY YEAR on Christmas. My immune system has impeccable timing.) The to-do list just makes everything seem harder and more depressing. Which is annoying because I usually greatly enjoy a well-made list, as evidenced here on this blog, in my enumerated conversations and even on my water bottle. But here's a glance at what I have facing me today:

1. Find a viable credit card.
2. Pay cell phone bill, car payment, car insurance (all late)
3. Call RCN about phantom bill that I DON'T OWE
4. Call City of Chicago about parking tickets that I DON'T OWE
5. Call hospital about charity care letter that I haven't received yet
6. Fax charity care letter to four separate places to take care of bills that I DON'T OWE

Here's what I got done today:

1. Found two credit cards that I hid from myself.
2. Activated one and destroyed the other.
3. Tried to pay one bill with new card.
4. Failed to pay one bill with new card.

That's it. And this took all day. And now I have no brain power left to do much of my actual work. So I'm writing here. Because I'm annoyed and when I'm annoyed I have to put words on a page in order to feel better. Much like making lists, actually. But my annoyance really comes down to one major issue:

I hate New Year's.

There. I said it. Deal with it.

New Year's is an arbitrary holiday meant for us to take stock of things we should have already been looking at in a contrived period of time that means nothing other than a way to sell calendars. It involves an intense amount of pressure to have plans and do something important in a week when we've eaten too much to dress up well, the weather is too bad to look nice anyway and there are no cabs to be found.

I'm on to you, New Year's. I'm so on to you that I made my goals last month. Ha.

These are not resolutions. I do not resolve to do anything because that sounds like settling. Also, January is not a good time for me to pretend to be new. Nothing starts new for me in January. November is clearly when things change for me. Plus two of my jobs have required me to do a lot of intense goal setting. (Like, five- and ten-year plans. Scary, y'all.)

In setting all these goals, I have been able to practice making important decisions. For me and only me. These decisions have come down to four main focal points. Which brings me to my water bottle.

I bought myself a new water bottle. Not because I necessarily feel the need to drink more water, but I needed a brand-appropriate water bottle for two of my new jobs and have been wasting too much plastic. It took me exactly twenty minutes to decide which water bottle to buy. But in the spirit of all my goal-setting, this one was too perfect:

Note the Starbucks cup - clearly none of my goals include drinking less coffee.
Then I realized I had to actually write my goals on the bottle. Which is what took the twenty minutes of deliberation. Did I really want everyone to see these? What if they look stupid or trite or daunting? What if I change my mind?

And then in minute 19: Fuck it. They are MY goals. And I can't achieve them if I can't even admit that I have them. So here they are:

Look at all this potential blog fodder! (Possible goal to consider: learn how to space words correctly. )
What was I scared of?

That you'd laugh at my future?

Or that I wouldn't get there?

Maybe. And maybe you will laugh. And maybe I won't get there. But it's my water bottle. My list of decisions. And you can't have it.


  1. YES!!! I think your goals are brilliant. (And I'm with you on the New Year's-hate. It's by far my least favorite holiday.) Also, I know a great place to get a tattoo. In Boston. Just sayin'.

  2. Not laughing at all, Kate. I think this is brave and wonderful. (My goals for 2011 were a bit more timid - get a haircut, and find the $10 Kohl's cash certificate I got while Christmas shopping and promptly misplaced - and actually got done on 12/31. So you go, girl!)

    And,, along the way, have yourself a wonderful New Year!


  3. Thanks Kelly and Ben! I feel good about these goals too. I feel less good about the fact that Sharpie marker apparently does not stand up well to hot yoga, but everything is more or less legible still. And Kelly, I think I have to get my tattoo in a symbol of my time here. But for my second one, I am all ears for places in Boston! :)