the thing about lists.

10 Things Every 20-something Should Learn

5 Habits of Life-long Readers

13 Ways to Love Yourself

4 Things Women Wish Men Knew

39 Things Single People Should Know

8 Ways You Need to Cook Your Eggs OR YOU WILL DIE

100 LISTS THAT TELL YOU WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE BECAUSE YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY DOING IT WRONG.

So, um, yes. That last headline screams at me when I see lists filling up my Facebook news feed.

It makes me sad, because I really am a sucker for the lists. (BuzzFeed has eaten a few dozen hours I wish I could reclaim. Damnit internet!) I love the list format, because I love quick, to the point, punchy. I love scanning the bullet points to see if I really ought to read the entire text.

And then there were just TOO MANY LISTS and I died had to stop reading them.

All the lists have made me listless. (I’ve already played on these words before and it’s pretty lame that I’m doing it again, but it’s my blog and I don’t have to apologize for being redundant. So there.)

And I’m wondering if the sinking feeling in my gut is possibly from my listlessness which is probably related to my list-overdose… Because really, the lists are mostly telling me what is wrong with me and how I ought to fix it. They are reminding me that I haven’t said the right things to my significant other or that my lack of a significant other is because I cook my eggs wrong or that I can’t possibly be a reader because I haven’t read these 900 most iconic books of all time and for heaven’s sake I must do a couple more of those things on that list before the age of 30 or I am sure to die alone. Say what?!

I’m feeling an ache in the pit of my stomach. It gurgles up to remind me that I’m not good enough, that I haven’t accomplished enough, that there aren’t enough hours in the day to make up for all the time I’ve wasted.

This ache is a LIAR. Have you met him? He’s nasty and you should tell him to leave you alone.

And then there’s this second ache. This one calls out to me. It asks me if I want to take a walk and write poems. It asks me why I’m so afraid to be brilliant. It asks me if those lists are worth my time and wouldn’t I much rather take a nap and feel rested for once? It’s an ache that pushes me to work harder, but a different-kind-of-harder. Harder, as is bolder. It beacons me to laugh a little longer and listen with patience. And when I get really really really quiet this ache reminds me that there is still time. It tells me I can be better, but doesn’t demand that I account for all the things I’ve let slip—it just asks me to start being better today—like now. Love MORE, it says. Be KIND. This ache whispers and I sense its Holy Spirit quietness is a strategic ploy to get me to SLOW THE TRAIN DOWN.

And when I am almost stopped completely and the silence is like being head-first in the zipped end of a sleeping bag, that is when it whispers:

Sarah, make a list.

 

6 THINGS I LEARNED ALREADY, BUT PROBABLY NEED REMINDERS:

1. There is no such thing as too much LOVE.

2. Love does not keep account of wrongs.

3. When in doubt, start singing “I Can See Clearly Now”

4. When you start to criticize, STOP. Just stop it, Sarah.

5. Emily only lives two hours away. You are most certainly not alone.

6. It’s okay to scream. It still helps.