list making

Remember the days you seized.

RAL 2019 (04-29) DOCUMENT

A good number of approaches to health and well-being focus on the use of a daily diary or journal. We’re urged to keep track of what we take in and what we put out. Or what we felt like when we did whatever it is that we did or didn’t do.

I was never a huge fan of the daily diary for myself.  I personally found that I would record the achievement of something I wanted for a few days and then lose interest once I failed to achieve the thing.

For me, daily diaries became failure diaries.

And yet, I kept keeping track of things because keeping track of one’s self is a fun exercise.  What other subject do you have so much information about?  There’s no end to the types of information you can gather and make much ado over.

So I keep track of myself and my life in non-burdensome and manageable formats like lists, in bursts on scraps of paper or sticky notes where I just want to think about what I’m doing or what I plan to do.  There’s not one book that holds all of my information. But there are a few notebooks and journals scattered about in my various bags, and now a bunch of electronic locations that hold information about where I’m going and how I’m getting there.

Perhaps not ironically for one trained as a lawyer, the greatest value in the information I keep has become its use as proof of what has happened.  Why do I need proof?  Well, one of the less fun habits resulting from my version of depression is catastrophization, which I’ve written about here before.

Catastrophizing is an irrational thought a lot of us have in believing that something is far worse than it actually is. Catastrophizing can generally can take two different forms: making a catastrophe out of a current situation, and imagining making a catastrophe out of a future situation.

On a day I’m feeling depressed, I have trouble remembering times I haven’t been depressed. On a day I’m feeling depressed, I can only remember being depressed and I can only foresee an entire lifetime of depression. So one day of feeling bad instantly becomes a lifetime of hell.

Luckily, I document my decent and good days now.  I take pictures and write notes to myself describing what my brain says on days I’m feeling well.  I borrowed the practice from a therapist who kept reading my own earlier statements to me when trying to prove to me I had felt well previously.  It occurred to me that I could do what she did for me, a practice that was proving invaluable. I could show myself the truth about a prior time even if I couldn’t readily remember it or feel it.

I also document on my bad days too now. I document so that I can be reminded that many bad days are not as bad as I recall or fear. Some bad days are actually days when bad things happen and I end up handling those things really well, especially for someone deficient in Vitamin D.

Try it. Keep track of information about yourself and your day that you think might be helpful later in the week. Develop a dialogue with yourself. Use today’s experience to shape a better tomorrow.

And if something works, remember to document it.

xoxo, d

If you had it, you can have it again.
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Today’s List

I love lists.

As a pre-internet moody, introverted, impassioned wannabe writer, I lived for making lists.

I didn’t make ‘To Do’ lists because I thought they were annoying. First you make a ‘To Do’ list, then you don’t do the things on your “To Do” list, then you obsess (if you’re obsessive) about how to manage a list that is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

But I still loved lists. I made lists of everything and anything. Favorite this and that. Priorities. Wishes. Dreams. Everything I wanted or thought about or dreamed of ended up on a list.

Eventually, I made lists with arrows pointing everywhere. Lists and arrows evolved into charts and diagrams and graphs.

And yes, I fell in love with Excel. If you’re an Excel junkie too, I love you.

These days I still make lists of anything and everything. For me, there’s something about documenting a thought that makes the thought more likely to become an action or an event or an actual life occurrence.

And I find lists all over the place. In books, in purses, in baskets filled with books and magazines. The lists are at once both inspiring and validating. The lists prove that I’m not flighty or just a dreamy dreamer of dreams. I find lists with words and wishes that have now come true more than occasionally.

I think the biggest misconception about lists is that they have to have a theme or purpose. I wish more people realized that you can just list things for the sake of listing things.

So here’s today’s list:

[1] Giant brand Pink Grapefruit Flavored Sparkling Water Beverage in the skinny, tall 8-ounce plastic bottle. With a straw.  It may be healthy. It may not be. I can’t tell. But it’s got no calories, no apparent sugar, and it’s SO DAMN PRETTY to look at. Really pleasing to the eye.

[2] My ballet barre. Because my ballet barre is amazing.

[3] Tom Rhodes’ podcast. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tom-rhodes-radio/id426881872?mt=2 Tom Rhodes is my favorite type of comedian interviewer. Funny and fun to listen to but he’s all about the interviewed subject, not about making his own jokes on their interview time. He’s curious and genuinely interested. His questions are good questions – short, to the point, not ridiculous or stupid or self-serving. And he’s got a great voice.

[4] Tuesday. I love Tuesdays. I’m good on Tuesdays, generally speaking.

[5] Thinly sliced onion. Because I’m still doing a good job of thinly slicing onion. No cut fingers! Yay.

[6] Weather coverage. So not interesting. At least not for me. Which doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t go out to those in the midst of weather. It does. I hope they’re okay. And I’m glad states are taking more precautions to prevent people from getting stuck in dangerous weather. I’d rather see states be safe than sorry. Tell everyone to stay home unless they’re performing emergency surgery. I’m all for preventative weather coverage for the sake of helping people avoid poor decision making regarding travel. But otherwise, I can’t watch weather coverage.

[7] Anger. I’m all for it. It’s healthy. Feel your anger. And don’t apologize for it. Just don’t hit anyone or yell at anyone. Hit a bag and yell at a pillow. Or the tv. Yell at the tv. Don’t hit it. Hitting the tv hurts.

[8] Dog grooming. I still can’t get anywhere close to my dog’s eyes with a scissor. She won’t let me. Looking for tricks but prepared to go to a groomer just for help in that area. I need a dog face groomer.

[9] Girls. I’m watching it. And reading reviews of it. And seeing too many references to Hannah’s character not knowing how she comes across. And not believing it. I firmly believe that annoying, offensive people – even if they’re smart, perceptive, talented and right some of the time – know they’re annoying and offensive. They just think that being annoying and offensive is justified. And it’s not.

[10] Chocolate chip sugar cookies. Mix chocolate chip cookie dough with sugar cookie cookie dough. Mix well. Make cookies. The mix of the two types of dough is amazing in terms of both texture and taste. Especially if you’re not a big chocolate person. Which I’m not.

That’s the list for now.

Makes lists. They’re good for you.

And stay warm and dry.

xoxo, d

15RALRGB (celebrity lists)