21st Century Woman

The List

2016 List

I ended 2015 feeling…off.

A few months ago, someone had asked me a simple question about my hobbies. I thought for a moment and struggled for an answer. I didn’t have hobbies anymore. I had work. I had television. I had sleep. It felt like my whole world had been condensed to this inane cycle of daily events.

I walked away feeling flummoxed. Okay, I have work, I have a job I like a lot, but what did I have outside of that? Sometimes I did yoga. Okay…but not with regularity. Ah, I read! A lot actually! But then I didn’t really spend much time meditating on what I what I learned or what it meant.

No, I realized I no longer had something that made my soul grow.

I considered a long list of things that I sort of did, maybe randomly, on an afternoon, or once out of a whole year. I sought out coffee shops, I occasionally cooked, I enjoyed exploring new restaurants, I had been traveling to new places, I often went to movies alone. But each of these things felt like they were on the fringes of my daily life—they were not endeavors that I dedicated myself to with any regularity.

I found myself envying friends with such clear dedication. Those who woke up every morning to write in a journal. Or run races. Or embrace new knitting projects. I didn’t have a single regular activity in my life, and it left me feeling a little empty.

Last week, without a motivation or a reason, I opened a Google doc and began typing. At first, it was a list of books that I hoped to pick up from the library that week. Then, I added a recipe I wanted to try the following day. And then the name of a wine I had enjoyed.

Slowly, the list has begun to fill out: a new restaurant we visited, a coffee that spoke to me, a television show I marathoned and had thoughts about.

Something about the list feels good. There are no bullets—I’m not trying to push through anything—but the list notes the substance of my days. It reminds me to revisit things that brought me joy, to leave behind the things that caused me worry.

And really, that’s the very best I can hope for in 2016.

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