I've always loved list making, as if writing things down will get them done (it doesn't). Now I have an iPod touch, so I can write things down without wasting paper (they still don't always get done, but now they beep at me when neglected). I love scraps of paper, though, and old letters, and the torn-off return-address corners of incoming envelopes. This is how my address book functions.
I started college 13 years ago this month, and it wasn't until last week that I dealt with the hideous snarl that was the filing system of my early adulthood. I shredded, recycled, and burned a great heap of crap—hoarded letters, old invoices, receipts documenting my slide from veganism (an ice cream sundae, purchased with cash in 1998), but as I did I took a little stroll down memory lane.
The friends who were cherished then—whose letters were hard to part with, or which I even retained—are still with me now. I'll see one at her house for lunch this Sunday. Another lives in Sweden, and is married with a child himself. We're growing up, but not apart. The things that made them special then have lasted.
I found a few gems—a cute-yet-indecipherable picture, drawn by my now high school-aged cousin at age four, captioned "Marnie Riding a Horna-Worna with M still in her tummy." A lot of photos of now-dead dogs. A lot of lists.
I found lists of things to do—things to become—things to pursue. "Write more." "Volunteer." "Save up for riding lessons." "Plant a garden." "Become a midwife." "Apply to vet school." "Kayak more." "Learn to knit."
I am not a vet, but I knit well. I write more. I have a garden. I'm still saving up for riding lessons.
I haven't done everything on my old lists, but at least they aren't beeping at me.