Thursday, 3 June 2010

Lists - and a TILT list too...

I’m a list maker. I make lists regularly and religiously. Shopping lists, to do lists, just about any kind of list. It helps me remember what I need to do for the short term and long term. Often times just writing it down is all I need to do, but I love the feeling of crossing things off my list and the satisfaction of having accomplished something.

So recently as I’ve been reading different blogs and seeing people’s “101 things in 1001 days” lists I figured that sounded like the perfect thing for me. I started the other day, jotting down a few things I wanted to do, and the more I thought about it the more things I started to add.

Then two things happened.

Number 1 – I realized that my list seemed pretty familiar to me. I took a look at the long-term to do list I have and realized why – the two were almost exactly the same. The only thing different was that my long-term goals list does not have a deadline.


Number 2 – I had a conversation with one of my bosses at work. She’s an amazing woman and has been incredibly supportive of me since I started at the museum. She values my skills highly and is very honest and frank with me, something I appreciate deeply. In our conversation she asked me point blank what I want to do and then started poking holes in my response – holes that I already knew were there but was ignoring for various reasons. She didn’t leave it at that, however, as she had an alternate idea, a different path to lead to where I had said I want to go. Her suggestion was one I had long dismissed, but the more we talked about it and the more I thought about it the more sense it made. It is much more likely to lead me to where I want to be, is just as interesting and challenging and rewarding – if not more. It really should have occurred to me sooner, but it didn’t and her suggesting it – and more importantly my realization/reaction to it completely and utterly threw me for a loop. I felt like I had been walking down a path in an underground tunnel, with my eyes ahead on what appeared to be the goal when suddenly a light came on out of nowhere and there was another tunnel that I hadn’t realized was there, but was less damp and narrow and dark…

I’m still only just wrapping my head around the new idea and what that would mean for the next few years of my life, but it made me realize that planning two plus years ahead isn’t necessarily something that makes sense for me right now. Since I already have a long-term to do list I don’t see why giving myself the pressure of a limited (if long) time frame to complete it in. Instead I’m going to regularly reevaluate my long term goals, making sure that I am chipping away at them while also adding or subtracting things as seems fit.

After all I am very very happy with where I am right now, but I couldn’t have imagined it 4 years ago as I was putting together the paperwork for my scholarship application, or 5 years ago as my year in India was ending!

Oh, and as for another list – here’s a few things I’m loving this Thursday:

- U – okay okay okay, so that’s a given I suppose, but he’s been amazing recently. He listened to my (likely rather incoherent) recounting of my conversation with my boss, and was immediately supportive of the idea, just as he had been of the idea it had replaced. He was quick to point out the benefits he saw and allay the fears that I had. He is incredibly supportive of me and my dreams, pushing me even more than I do myself.

- uneventful commuting – I am SO going to jinx myself with this, but after accidents/weather delays/etc screwed up my commute multiple days every week for a few weeks, and I wrote a post complaining about it, I’ve had a good couple of weeks of problem-free commutes. Sure, I still have to get pretty friendly with the other commuters, but I have have had room to breath and no elbows digging into me – all very good things!

- summer food – last week a co-worker and I went for hiyashi chuka (chilled Chinese noodles – chilled yellow ramen noodles topped with julienned omelet, cucumber, mushroom, pork, and a few other toppings with either a soy sauce or sesame based dressing poured over top. While I’m not really a big ramen fan, I’ve surprised myself with my love of hiyashi chuka (I think its all the “stuff” on top) and it is a great summer meal! I’ve also made myself a few salads for dinner recently and love playing around with ingredients – cheese and Caesar dressing or dried cranberries and cashews with balsamic vinaigrette or calamari with a spicy dressing or tofu and sesame dressing or caramelized purple onions and pine nuts or... By mixing up the dressings and toppings I can stick with the same leaves (leaf lettuce or romaine or spinach or…) and basic veggies for a couple nights and finish them up without feeling that I’ve eaten the same thing three nights in a row!


  1. Noodles are sooooo good in summer! We've already started having more - really easy no brainer for lunch times. I've been buying "zaru ramen" from Yamaya, the import booze and food shop. It's just dried noodles that you boil and then rinse in cold water and you can get different dipping sauce flavours to go with. We had them today too, so good!

  2. I can totally understand where you are coming from with your goals etc. I myself am also a big list maker- shopping lists, to do lists (long term and short term- I do monthly to-do lists as well because I do get pleasure from crossing things off even if it is boring stuff like swap the summer/winter clothes in the wardrobes...), I also write lists of things I want to do with Noah like read certain books, take him certain places, try different games and or foods...

    It is interesting that you say you are in a completely different place to where you thought you would be 5 years ago. Not so much 5 years ago but if I go back 6 years ago I was in the middle of my year on exchange in Japan, hadn`t met Shun yet and had every intention of going home to finish my degree (which I did do), working in Australia in some kind of fab career, possibly moving back to Japan for a couple years before ultimately going back to Australia to settle down and maybe marry and have kids at about age 30. Flash forward six years- I am married, with a bub and living in Japan. Strange how things work out. Not that I would have it any other way but still, interesting to think back.

    Also did not know you spent a year in India- that must have been amazing.

    I don`t eat ramen either but I would probably like the noodles you are talking about. Sounds yummy!

    Good luck with your long term goals- will be interesting to see where your life takes you.

  3. As someone once said, 'Life happens while you're making other plans.' It's good to have goals or a sense of purpose in life, but whatever one's long-term goals, life has to be enjoyed every day, in the moment. It's wonderful that you have such a wise, caring and supportive friend close to you. (And great that U is supportive - that's a must for a good partner!) Meanwhile, wish it were warm enough here to enjoy chilled noodles, but it's 16C and raining...
    love and hugs,

  4. Umebossy - I love having chilled noodles in the summer, my personal favourite is harusame - especially the spicy harusame salad at the grocery store where I used to live (sometimes I'd get lucky and there'd be some left and 50% off on my way home from a late class)!

    Lulu - I LOVE lists too. Helps me focus, makes me think about the things that are important, and yes, feels really good to cross something off!
    My year in India was incredible, and got me started on re-thinking my future, leading partly to where I am now, not that I realized it at the time! I left India and a few months later was in Japan - originally following my ex! So yes, things change, plans change, dreams change. I have an idea of where I want to be in 5 years, and that hasn't changed, but plans for the interim sure have... we'll see... I need to mull it all over and do a bit more research before I make any decisions.

    Cath - you know the person who gave me the advice - very kindly a little bit older and rather short woman. She's been an amazing influence and support and help.
    I'd be quite happy without the rain, but would love to swap you the 24 and muggy rain for the 16 and cold rain... Sigh... really not a fan of summers in Tokyo!