Countdowns are a really stupid idea.

When I was living in Ireland doing a semester study-abroad program in 2005, I had this little sheet of paper stuck into my journal with 104 boxes. Each was numbered and indicated how many days I had left in Ireland. (It’s not that I didn’t enjoy Ireland, I just had the typical “boyfriend back in the states” anxiety, and it made me madly restless.)


countdowns are stupid. When I got on the bus to go to my internship each morning with tragically sad eyes that matched the mood of the gray skies to perfection, one little check-mark just didn’t seem like enough. Yet it still managed to obsess my mind. “87 days left,” just offered no comfort what-so-ever. Most often, it burned little holes into otherwise beautiful moments and breath-taking scenery, offering a discouraging little reminder: “You mustn’t forget that you’re dissatisfied.”
It took 3 seconds to mark a little x with my pen, but it took the whole day’s attention.

I’ve decided that checklists are only satisfying on the last 7 days. That’s when you can feel like it’s somewhat reasonable to begin preparing for this move towards satisfaction you’ve planned in your head. This is when you can do more than mark an x. You can pack your things, call your folks to organize your airport pick-up, and say goodbye to those you’ve become acquainted to. But…This makes the checklist seem pointless and tragic all of the other 97 days.

Those were my observations back in 2005 when I spent 104 days counting down to Dec. 3rd: the day I would fly home to win back the boy who, (until day 25/104 or so,) had been my much-longed-for boyfriend.

check-lists are stupid.

Even so…I found myself making a little check-list the other day. This one is counting off the weeks left before Drew and I fly: before we take off to the wide open world of the unscheduled frontier.

According to this powerless little grid I’ve scribbled into the front page of my journal, we have 6 weeks left to plan lunches ahead of time, go to bed by 9 pm and arise by 6:15 in the morning.

6 more weeks of washing socks.
6 more weeks of maneuvering around a clutter of things.
6 more weeks of sharing a twin-bed.
6 more weeks of google-ing beautiful places.

I hate countdowns.
Because that little number will pop into my head whenever it pleases and do nothing but slow down the happy distractions I’ve found.
It will distract my distractions: bring my attention back to this “meantime.”

I like losing myself in a day of work: forgetting that we’re not quite doing what we decided will be best for us.  My job is wonderful, so it is definitely a happy place.

that little number will convince me that problems will lessen as the numbers decrease. It will try to tell me that it holds the blame for all trouble and frustration.

I hate countdowns.

6 more weeks.


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