Life List

Of all the things I am not very good at, staying upbeat is perhaps the most outstanding.

I operate in irresistible highs and unbearable lows. I’m a pendulum-person. Only that analogy doesn’t quite work, because I’m not so sure about an eventual equilibrium. I seem to be missing one of those.

I swing back and forth. Sad and subdued one day, sweet and sparkly the next. Awful, awful, awful, and then: better. Better, better, best. And that has always been the trouble, in my relationships. The oscillation. I can’t seem to stay at Best.

Boys like me when I’m bubbly. When my energy reserve is at an all-time high. When I’m wildly enthusiastic. When I’m so so easy, to absolutely delight.


Even as little as two years ago, that was approximately none of the time. I couldn’t hold onto the good days and I couldn’t sit with the bad ones. I couldn’t, or, more likely: I didn’t need to. I didn’t need to because I had someone who was willing to push me back the other way — back towards the person I liked being — whenever I needed a nudge.

He was solid — my someone. Solid and sure. So sure.


He was the kind of boy you’d want to write a story about.


Would it be weird if I told you that I did, once upon a time? I don’t feel like the girl who wrote that story anymore, and the whole thing is a lot belated, but it’s in the current issue of the crazy-cool food magazine Remedy Quarterly, and I’m super excited and only slightly self-conscious about it.


You should pick up a copy! (End of self-promotion.)

I’m my own cheerleader now. This summer hasn’t been my best showing, but overall it’s been good. So good, for me.

Can we pause? So I can tell you something that will surely make you think a little less of me?

I think I’ve been half-hoping that someone new will want to step in and give me a gentle push back in the right direction. I can see it in some of the things I’ve written recently — particularly in this post, which I had a feeling might be my last post. Ever.

That was a little scary. So I took a break this weekend. I took a break, and I used it to determine that there are a lot of happy weekend things, and I was going to do them ALL. In an effort to cheer myself up.

This crusade began with coffee. Coffee at a new place, which never fails to make me very excited.


Coffee got me all jazzed for yoga. I used to be very down on yoga. Yoga was Not Exercise. What’s yoga now? Awesomely hard. Awesome, because it bridges the gap between my body and my brain, and hard, because I am not a crane. Or a firefly. Or a scorpion. Not even on my best day.

It doesn’t matter, though. When I touch my head down to the mat, at the end, it feels like someone is kissing my forehead. And, even nicer: it feels like affection I deserve. (This must be the Kool-Aid, and I must be drinking it.)

After class, there was a farmer’s market. Neatly arranged vegetables are a never-ending source of joy for me — I do not know why. So is morning light, when it slants just right.


Do you know what else is nice? Listening to someone play something.


That something turned out to be a harp. I can’t decide if I want one to put in my living room, or if I want to one to learn how to use. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful, or heard anything so soothing.

I found soothing somewhere else, too. At Longfellow Books. I love it there — even alone. It’s enough to know that there are other people around who would say: “Too many books?” I believe the phrase you’re looking for is “not enough bookshelves”.


I knew bookstores were happy places, but I didn’t know about golf courses. Did you?


I don’t golf, but my family does. What they lack in natural talent and consistency, they make up for in something I don’t quite understand. I do, however, completely understand the need for a post-workout snack.


I understood something else on Saturday, too. I’m closer to being the person I want to be when I’m cooking. (And eating.) The next time I get sick to death of my own company, I’m going to pilgrimage to Pat’s and buy what he says to buy. Grill what he says to grill.


Some of my favorite memories have taken place out on the deck at home, listening to people holler about overcooked steak tips.

I’m also going to remember to bake. Baking should be on my weekend list, every weekend.


Maybe there’s something to be said about lists. Maybe I just can’t count on myself to remember the important things, without them.

Here are six more essential things:

1. I’m not going to bring energy to the page every time I write. Sometimes I’m going to write something that is not very good at all, and approximately one person is going to read it (Hi, Mom!). This is TO BE EXPECTED and is NOT THE END OF THE WORLD and is PART OF THE PROCESS.

2. Uncapping a bottle of vanilla extract makes me feel like a very happy human. This is odd. Odd is okay.

3. It sounds trite, but: I have this one life. And it’d be good to stop and think about how I want to spend it, sometimes. Do I want to spend it stuck in self-pity? Do I want to spend it apologizing? Do I want to spend it hating my body? Do I want to spend it eating salad?


4. There are three words that are critical to any relationship. They are: give and take.

5. Better days are coming. They are always coming. Whether I feel like I’m making moves or not.


6. There’s a direction that feels right, and all I need to do is keep remembering to stop and check and make sure I’m still heading that way. You know, generally speaking. I’m allowed — we’re allowed — to make little course corrections, all the time. (Sometimes smart, sometimes not.) And it’s okay to feel astoundingly turned around, on occasion. It’s perfectly okay. I actually think everyone might feel that way, sometimes.



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