I like and despise To-Do lists. I like them, because I feel all accomplished and put together like a real adult should when I check lots of things off of them. I despise them, because I often forget most of the things on them or find new things to add, which makes me feel less accomplished, less put together, and less “adult.”
And then I wondered what my “anxious self’s” To-Do list would look like, because I wonder if part of the reason my own To-Do list seems so long and overwhelming is due to her inserting extra things in there for me to do. If the anxiety in me actually wrote out my To-Do list, I think it would look a little bit like this:
- Wake up.
- Think about whether or not you’re dreading anything.
- If you find nothing to dread, start dreading something ASAP.
- If you remember what you’re supposed to dread, begin dreading immediately. It will be the thought that constantly pops in and out of your head today.
- Get out of bed.
- Prepare breakfast.
- If you’re having cereal, fret about all the sugar and carbs you’re consuming, which will one day inevitably manifest into diabetes.
- If you’re having something more nutritious and full of protein, like eggs, mope about the fact that you’re being healthier when you could be having sugar.
- Go on the internet while you eat. Why just fill up on calories when you could also fill up on comparisons with people on Facebook and news clips you missed last night?
- Facebook comparisons: Immediately freak out over how put together the lives of all your friends from college are. How could it possibly be that you graduated with these people, and they are already so much better than you?
- News clips: Begin bearing the weight of the world on your shoulders. Reflect on how you haven’t used your power and privilege to make things better for others. Think about how you haven’t written to your government representatives to remind them to look out for their people. This is obviously all on you, so why aren’t you doing anything?
- Close the computer and put your dishes away.
- Get dressed.
- Triple check your backpack and lunch bag to make sure you’re not forgetting anything. Forgetting things makes you look like an idiot in front of everyone, and they don’t like you when that happens.
- Get in the car and drive to school.
- Ponder how harshly people would judge your music choices as you switch through the radio channels.
- Arrive at seminary and pray you’ll either have no questions to ask, or at least pray that someone will listen to them.
- Attend chapel.
- Be inspired if no one uses any “churchy” language that triggers you.
- Be pissed off and distant if someone does, because they meant it as an attack on you and your faith journey.
- Eat lunch.
- If there’s easy going conversation about common interests, relax and enjoy! I’ll cut you a break for that!
- If the conversation veers into politics and theology, begin sweating and looking for possible escape routes. By no means should you share your opinion if it completely clashes with the group or the dominating voice.
- Begin classes.
- Wallow in your own sense of stupidity when you translate Hebrew as a class and you realize one or two words you swore you translated right are incorrect. Even though this has no effect on your grade whatsoever, freak out about how badly you’re going to fail this class as a result.
- Mentally smack your head against the desk repeatedly when you discuss issues facing the church with others, because when they share their opinions, you are obviously being singled out and attacked for having a more postmodern point of view, and your questions, doubts, and struggles obviously mean nothing. Remember that no one is here for you and no one understands you.
- Drive home pondering these thoughts and more. Your energy is OK, but it’s starting to fade, so be disappointed in yourself for not always being “high.”
- Have a quick snuggle with the kitties. You’ve neglected them all day, you mean mama.
- Take a quick nap, no more than 20 minutes.
- Actually, you know what? Make it 45 minutes or even an hour. Then freak out about how much time you wasted.
- Have dinner.
- If you want to freak out extra, have another bowl of cereal and once again freak out over how unhealthy you’re being.
- If you want to be good, actually cook something but spend an inordinate amount of time wondering what you should make.
- Start your homework.
- Get jittery from the pent up energy and take breaks to jam to your Spotify playlist every time you read a sentence in a book or translate a word for Hebrew.
- Or have a complete energy crash and take the same amount of breaks but watching Daily Show clips instead, because you need more political stimulation (You only thought we were watching it for the giggles).
- Chat with your beau Bryce.
- Talk about his day when you really want to go on and on about every little freak out you had instead.
- When you inevitably take over the conversation, start beating yourself up for not being a better listener. This will help you become a better listener and better girlfriend overall.
- If you think about them before 9:00, do your kettle bell swings, or make excuses for why you don’t need to do them despite freaking out about health on a regular basis.
- If you think about them after 9:00, think about how disappointed your PT boyfriend will be in you but continue to do nothing about it.
- Take a shower and ponder all the things you’ve already pondered today.
- Get dressed in comfy clothes and read for a bit before finally going to sleep.
- Finally, if you’re calm, try to make yourself stay that way. If anything, you’ll still find something to dread in the morning.
- If you’re not calm, just remember that you can try all you want to get the thoughts out of your head, but they will still be there in the morning.
See you tomorrow!