The list of things I don’t do

I’ve been reading through Bittersweet.

I'm ready for this. When reading the prologue leaves you in tears, it's time.

A friend lent this book to me right after it was released, having read it herself and knowing we both shared an equal love for the author and it’s message. But that wasn’t long after we moved into the first apartment (roughly, I think) and I couldn’t pick up the book. It would stare at me and I’d glare at it and we were like two positives repelling each other at every attempt to fall in love. I gave it back with the explanation that I wasn’t ready to digest the book.

I had entered my own season of Bittersweet and the last thing I wanted was someone’s hope or happy ending. Ok, lets be honest – I had entered the season of Bitter – running from all things that could end in sweet.

A few weeks ago we took the whole family to the book store and I’ve been wanting to read something *else* lately. I love fiction but I needed substance, only I couldn’t figure out how much or what kind when I remembered I hadn’t read this book yet. I found it and started reading the prologue, tears streaming down my face … I knew it was time to read the book. To own it and mark up the pages, make notes in the margins and underline every sentence that sent shivers down my spine.

Shauna writes about the list of things she doesn’t do and I can’t stop thinking about it since reading that chapter a few days ago, so I’ve decided to give myself permission to occupy the same kind of list.

My List of Things I Don’t Do:

I don’t feel guilty about making pancakes at midnight while drinking red wine. There’s a movie with Diane Keaton (Somethings Gotta Give) where one of her scenes is making pancakes at midnight, drinking red wine. Call me crazy, I’m used to it, but there are days where I make pancakes at midnight while drinking red wine and I’m blissfully happy while doing so all because of that movie.

I don’t plan vacations. I love taking vacations and will be the first to jump on the bandwagon when one is mentioned or thrown out as possible. I love getting away, but I don’t love figuring out where we’ll eat every night or what we’ll be able to do. I don’t scour local visitors bureau for information … I just show up and order an umbrella drink or have my camera ready. I say yes on vacation.

I don’t make dinner past 5 o’clock. If it’s 5:03 and I have no plans for dinner, we’ll order out! If I purposefully wait until 5:15 to decide on dinner, we’ll order out! It’s a great plan.

I don’t run a daycare. I love other peoples kids and pets just as much as the next person, but when I’m away from my own kids – I don’t do yours. This has been hard because I want to be the person who always says yes, who volunteers in Sunday School and who can relish in being surrounded by twenty-three 5 year olds, but I am not. I wanted to be the favorite aunt who had sleepovers with my nieces every month. Who played dress up and had a bin of candy for baking cookies. I have an aunt like this, who I love dearly (and Jessica is named after). And bless her heart for being that person for me because I don’t think I’ll ever be that person for my own nieces.

I don’t apologize for my ideas. I laugh loud and often snort while doing so, sometimes I cackle. I make plans and throw parties and want everyone to have an amazing time. I dream really big and I’m almost always in my head. I’m scared of myself, most of the time, afraid to say things out loud because even though they sound good when I’m thinking them, what if someone doesn’t like it? Fuck it.

I’m not the person who sends amazing packages in the mail. But I want to be. I shop for people all the time, I have little piles all over the house and in boxes meant for this person, that baby, just because. I’m really bad at getting and sending the mail. Really bad. Once upon a time I was on top of it. Once upon a time I was on top of many things (scrapbooking, sending correspondence to out of state family, christmas cards, thank you cards etc) and then I gave birth to a second child. Period.

I don’t clip coupons. OHEMGEE. I said it out loud. I don’t clip coupons and I don’t feel bad about it! It’s such a time suck for me, if I can make a list and menu plan for the month – we’re ahead $250 bucks. Times 26 trips to the grocery store (give or take) in a year … that’s $6,500 in savings. BOOYA. Frugal that. I feel so much better getting that off my chest.

What’s on your list?

11 thoughts on “The list of things I don’t do

  1. I have to put some thought into what is on my list, but I couldn’t resist saying that I LOVED that book. I wonder if I read it again now during a time that is a little less bitter that I would get different things from it.

  2. man I love that book for just this reason; it is so empowering. And I totally got the pancakes and wine reference before you referenced the movie. I thought maybe I was the only one under forty who really loved that movie.

  3. I have had this book for a few months and every time I’ve thought of starting to read it I’ve shied away from it for the same reasons you did … now, going through probably the most “bitter” time in my life (quotes added because I don’t so much feel bitter as I feel just slapped-the-face-while-simultaneously-having-the-rug-pulled-out-from-under-me), I uncovered that book this past Tuesday only to put it away again … so now that you’ve read it, do I read it now or will I feel the way I’m worried I’ll feel?

  4. I read this book last June on vacation. Could not put it down! I laughed and cried and related soooo much to it. Shauna was my youth group leader and camp counselor during my youthful days at Willow Creek. Have you read Cold Tangerines?! That one is so good too! Can’t wait for her new one Bread & Wine. And the list of things I don’t do. I. LOVE. THAT. I don’t keep things that don’t have a purpose of function. I am the complete opposite of a pack rat. I don’t clean my base boards. Every time I look at them, I think I should. I don’t change the sheets on my bed every week or my towel. That may be gross to some, but its the truth 🙂

  5. Ha!! I just thought that this morning: I don’t wash my towels like I should, and I don’t even care. The sheets in our house?? Have to stand up to greet me before I throw them in the pile. Oooops.

  6. Jen – I only know that I didn’t read it until I knew I wanted to. And I’m still not done with it – I’m taking it very slow. Every few days I read another chapter and really just soak it in. I’m crying a lot these days … so it feels like I’m cleaning my soul a little bit.

  7. Ha! Loved this post. I do not clip coupons either (which probably isn’t all that surprising). I don’t put away clothes until I’ve tripped over the overflowing laundry basket at least a dozen times. Most days I don’t change the baby out of his pajamas unless it’s absolutely necessary (and even then, I don’t). Hmm….starting to realize I have a lot more on my “I Don’t” list than I do on my “I Do” list…

  8. Also? I’m with you on the laundry – I marvel at the times I actually fold everything right from the dryer because, HELLO!, it is so much easier and there are no wrinkles. It’s like magic every. single. time. But alas, that doesn’t make it happen on it’s own (and I refuse to marry my appliances, so I walk away often).

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