You know those electronic “sticky notes” that are a feature on laptops, but that are typically only used by adults as a place to write down important passwords and phone numbers?
Well, I have a bit of an obsession with those. When I swipe to my MacBook dashboard, I am greeted by twenty sticky notes. They’re all so filled with text that my computer has forced them down into size five font that is truly too small to even be legible. Yet I keep them, refusing to delete any of the content for fear that something there is so important that it contains the keys to life, (the passwords to my online banking) or perhaps a Pulitzer-Prize-winning tweet just waiting to be tweeted.
In all honesty though, they’re mostly filled with To-Do lists. Or To-Buy lists. Or Movies-To-Watch lists. Or Books-To-Read lists. There’s even a Songs-I-Used-To-Love-But-Grew-Out-Of-But-Should-Maybe-Consider-Redownloading list.
All twenty sticky notes are filled with lists. Lists I never, ever read. Lists that give me anxiety to see when my MacBook spazzes out and suddenly brings up my dashboard.
Lists and quotes, actually. Quotes that are so outdated they no longer even resonate with my life.
Recently, however, I decided to let myself off the hook. I deleted the lists.
At first it was difficult, because in my mind, I kept thinking, What if one day someone asks me for a list of things more expensive in Canada vs America and I’ve deleted the list? Or What if someone asks me for a list of my favorite movies from 2008 and I can’t remember? The experience is actually similar to cleaning out your closet. You know you have no use for a picnic dress, yet you struggle to throw it in the donate pile for fear that as soon as you let it go, someone will invite you on a picnic.
I had become a hoarder of lists, I realized. And it wasn’t making me organized the way lists are supposed to, it was just making me feel overwhelmed. So I hit the delete button some more. And I decided that even if I didn’t have “Buy a maple syrup scented candle” written on a never-read list on my computer, I’d probably still remember to buy the candle if I ever found one.
The experience of deleting the lists is oddly reminiscent of the way I’ve been feeling about graduation. The notes were filled with memories, and I was forced to sort through the things worth keeping and the things that were in need of the backspace button.
Though Nicki Minaj may have released some inspiring and quotable songs back in 2011, do these one-liners still deserve a place on my desktop? For the last four years, I’ve had “download the Morning Glory soundtrack” written on a list, but still I have yet to download it. Instead of feeling inspired to be productive, when I look at these lists I just feel guilt, because LOOK AT ALL THE THINGS I STILL HAVEN’T DONE.
But if I haven’t done something in four years, am I really about to cross it off the list now?
The answer to that question is no. And so I pressed delete some more.
Because I’ve worked hard the last four years of college. (We all have.) And I don’t think we should be made to feel guilty when we’re reminded of the here and there lists that we never actually got to. Instead, I’d like to be reminded of the things I have done, and more importantly, the things I long to do.
I decided to turn my dashboard of stickies into a vision board. A vision board that doesn’t have to be hung up on the wall of a room I’ll be leaving in two months. A vision board that can go along with me on life’s journeys,
No longer am I greeted by a list of things I should’ve done twenty-five months ago, but instead I see big bold reminders of all I want to do. All I still have time to do.
I no longer see the point in holding onto a pile of lists that I never read, in the same way I no longer see a point in holding on to “what could’ve beens” when all we really have is what has been and what will be.
We’re getting ready to pack our lives up into boxes and move onto the next step. And throughout this transition, we won’t be able to hold onto everything from college, but we’ll take the belongings, memories and people that matter. We’re weeding out the bad stuff, the things that don’t matter and we’re holding onto things we cannot spend time apart from. No longer do we see a point in keeping something on reserve “just in case.”
We have a better sense of who we are now.
We have a better sense of what we want.
And I know, with full certainty, that I have no need for a picnic dress and I am never going to find time to watch every movie from the 80s that I so unfortunately missed by being born in the 90s. These “just in case” items and lists have got to go.
When we press delete, we make room for new things—brighter, better things.
We cannot hold onto it all. So we hold onto what matters.
And as I went on my deleting binge, I found myself too hesitant to let one quote go:
“Youth is still where you left it, and that’s where it should stay. Anything that was worth taking on life’s journey, you’ll already have taken with you.”
And with that I felt a little bit more okay about moving on. Because though we’re leaving Assumption, we’re taking with us the things that matter.
The safe way our hearts felt in this world of security.
The love and emotions and full-hearted friendships that are strong enough to combat any amount of distance.
And we’re taking our dreams. Our dreams that are pushing at our hearts and minds with more strength than any to-do list ever could.