Born 8-Muluc: Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Joan Rivers, Salomon Mayer von Rothschild, Che Guevara (?), Thelonious Monk, Clive Owen, Eugene Levy, Frank Ribéry, Carles Puyol, Wilt Chamberlain
Back in the ancient era, when I was just beginning to learn how to manage writing projects, I understood for the first time what checklists are good for.
Any given project has its own rhythm and steps of development, maturity, obsolescence and demise. At the beginning of any given day, it is valuable to focus on the tasks at hand. What requires my attention today?
Today, 8-Muluc, I started adopting a new take on this old, useful habit. Instead of looking at my tasks through a technical prism, I shifted to a more gut-feeling approach.
It used to look like:
- Guy + the accountant
- Sarig, Julia/Cheryl
- Mayan day-signs and numbers: the Tzolkin
- A fresh/entertaining conspiracy theory
- Music theory and the dark side of the fret board
- Write job description
- Capture screens, graphic editing
- Arrange project folder
- Kickoff meeting with Joe
- Electric bass lesson with Yair
- Brainstorming session on the beta version of Alpha Centuri (Mitch & Kurt)
Sometime between the late 90’s and the sudden appearance of hipsters I realized anything I do, withing my immediate sphere of influence, can be reduced to
It’s like I learned over time how to cancel variables on both sides of a very long math equation. Through gut-feeling and logic, it got shorter and shorter, until I got to X = Y.
And this “Y” is one of the things Muluc (Water, Offering) stands for, according to Ken Johnson’s books. Payment.
The ‘Giving’ scenario is a kind of theater in which I find myself acting and spectating at the same time. The kind where I come up on stage every morning and just go all out, giving my every ounce and inch. While at the same time, I’m watching parallel dramas unfold around me in other people’s lives.
Most people, myself included, are old enough to either raise and educate the young or comfort and support the old. We are the building blocks of families and communities in our finest hours. And in turn, I’m made up of the things I give.
But even when I’m only looking out for No. 1, as a devout egotist, I’m still giving my all to someone I love (ME), and writing the script to the selfie movie I’ll be watching in my memories before I depart.
So today, my checklist looked like:
To love Sam
To love George, Tony, and Clair
To love Amnon and X-Plain
To love Eli’s pub and Jazz
To love [mom]
To love [my in-laws]
To love [dad]
To love [my sister]
To love [grandma]
To love and remember (the late) Elias, Guy, and Jacob
To love [my friend]
To love Chicago and the mid-west
To love preparing and eating food
The first thing I realized after reading it was that I didn’t mention any of my household members. It seems that this is mostly because I regard them as an invisible/default given, requiring less management and checklists and more actual action, involvement and experience.
The second thing was that the list had no particular order, so importance was not given or taken away from any item on the list. This ‘flat’ approach is useful regardless of what checklist I’m compiling. Before moving on to priorities and numbers, it is a good idea to first just make a flat, bulleted list, just to make sure I have everything there.
A great improvement over business checklists is the fact that time is irrelevant in this new type. I don’t have to update the checklist as often, and many items can be crossed off, and then uncrossed when they become relevant again. It’s a greener, renewable checklist
The way I’m using this new, feminine kind of list is also different. I scan over it and ask my gut what’s next. Then I decide for myself how I’m going to love this someone or something right now.
And this ‘how’ could really be anything at all.
Just like this now