Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Take Yourself on a Date List

My life seems to be guided by lists: to-do lists, to-be-read lists, goal lists, kid lists, calendar lists, blog-idea lists, grocery lists, lists of lists!

The to-do list today was a variation of the following:

Laundry (mostly, putting it away)
Unload/load dishwasher
Call dermatologist to reschedule appointment
Water vegetables so they don’t die (thank goodness it rained!)
Fax real estate documents to the bank
And this:

My kids unceremoniously dumped all of their school supplies on the dining room table yesterday when they returned home from school after cleaning out their desks. I am my own worst enemy because I think what proceeded this deposit of rubbish was my statement “please don’t dump it on the floor!” I didn’t realize the dining room table was the next best alternative. In addition to my above “to-do list,” I planned on tossing, sorting, recycling, through their school things so I could reclaim my dining room. But when my morning started I realized this was my last day sans children for three consecutive hours for the remainder of the summer. I’m really looking forward to my kids being home, but I wasn’t going to squander my last three hours of freedom on their superfluous junk.

Instead, I made a date with myself. My date coincides with my creativity boot camp. “An Artist’s Date” (as it is called in my training manual) is a block of time, an excursion all by yourself at least once a week, to “nurture” your inner artist (sounds silly, doesn't it?). It can be anything you want to do…from bowling to sitting at Starbucks with the newspaper. I decided to treat myself to my favorite activity…browsing the shelves of my favorite used books store. My used book store is a fundraising branch of our local library system. They have used books, gifts and a gourmet lunch counter. I prepared in advance by studying my Goodreads list to see if there were any titles that I was in desperate need of adding to my “to be read” stack. I came up with at least 20 selections.

I could spend hours staring at book shelves. I become transfixed by all the spines. I came away from my hour retreat with three $3 paperbacks – Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky, Crow Lake, by Mary Lawson, and A Woman of Independent Means, by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey. My original plan included lunch too, but the business crowd descended on the boutique restaurant, and I wasn’t willing to stand in line.

My to-do list reads much like it did this morning. Hopefully, I can knock a few things off the list tonight after the kids go to bed (or recycle a few hundred pieces of old homework!). Or I can postpone the to-do list one more day and extend my date with myself as I break open one of my newly purchased books! Which one do I start?? Hmmmm...

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