musings, life lessons & poetry from Theresa Jarosz Alberti

Poetry Challenge – Day 22

Welcome to Day 22 of my 30-Day Poetry Challenge!

Comment on today’s poem to win a copy of my poetry book, “(After) Confession… I’m giving away a copy every day. Scroll down below the poem for more details about this Poetry Challenge.

But first, congratulations, Carroll J, for winning a free copy of my poetry book! (I do a raffle from those who commented on yesterday’s post.) Carroll, please email me your address so I can send your prize:

Now onto today’s poem. Don’t forget to comment, and check back tomorrow to see if you’ve won!

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Okay, not *really* poem-like, but it’s what came to me today and I had fun with it. Quirky, and it helped me work something out. So enjoy! And let me know if you can relate, or if you’re on the other spectrum of list-making.

To-Do, or Not To-Do…

Okay Theresa, to-do lists, blessing or curse?  Discuss amongst yourself.

Me 1:   LOVE THEM!!
I’ve got my fat planner, my pen.
I write down everything, keep track,
plan, so many reminders, jot down ideas,
short and long-term need-tos.
I don’t know how I would have raised
a family, 3 kids, without my lists.

Me 2:   Whoa, wait a minute here…
I’ve been getting plowed over by you for years.
You know that little voice that whispers,
taps your shoulder, tries to get you to not
go crazy off the deep end of everything?
Reminds you how you’re trying to un-do
a lot of your programming? Yes, that’s me.
And let me tell you– lists, I’m not a fan.

Me 1:  (sputters)  What? How could I ever exist
without my lists?  They keep me ORGANIZED.

Me 2:  (shrugs)  Maybe organized Isn’t Everything.
Remember what I said about the deep end?  Honey,
I think you go there way too much. I’ve seen you.
You are a slave to those lists.

Me 1:   (shuffles feet, looking down, then softly)

Me 2:   It’s one thing to just write stuff down for the day.
But not an impossible number of tasks. A list so long
you could never do it all, even if
you were Martha Stewart on steroids.

Me 1:  But I just need to write it all down or I’ll forget!

Me 2:  Sure, that might be okay, but I’ve seen
how you never feel satisfied with yourself,
Berating yourself at the end of the day. I know
you’ve been trying not to, but it’s
a deeply ingrained habit. You
focus on what you didn’t do,
not what you did.
That ain’t good for either of us.

Me 1:   Ugh! I see it. You’re right.

Me 2:  –Wait, let me write that down. I didn’t think you’d ever admit it.

Me 1: (smirks) I know I should listen to you more.
I can see how my lists get in the way.
It feels good when I write things down.
But then they overwhelm me, SHOULD me, wave
a pointy finger at me. I’m back to 8 years old
and feeling bad. But what to do? I don’t want to
give them up? I feel the anxiety rise up
when I think about that.

Me 2:  I get it. Lists as coping mechanism. You still
think you need them. So let’s work with it, break out of this
prison you’ve made. Choose 3 things off your list for the
day. They don’t have to be huge. Call that Enough and then
let us take a break. Relax. Something fun. Enjoyment.
Anything else after that is a bonus. Not required.

Me 1:  That sounds…. okay.

Me 2:   It might be hard to stick to, but we gotta start somewhere.
And just leave the self-talk at the end of the day to me, okay?
You haven’t listened to me much, but Sweetheart, I know
how to calm you, cheer you on, give you credit for all you do.
I’m good at that, if you’ll just listen.

Me 1:  Oh, that’s right. The Nurturing One!

Me 2:  And you’re the Go-Getter. We need both of us to
get what we want out of life. Write the books, fight the
medical system, relationships, therapy, travel.
We’re a team.

Me 1:  I’ll give it a shot. Thanks, Me.

Me 2:  Love ya, Me. Talk soon.

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  • I’m writing and posting a new poem every day through the month of April (yikes!), for better or worse.
  • AND, as a gift, I’m giving away a copy of my poetry book EVERY DAY this month. FREE!
  • Sign up to WIN a copy of (After) Confession by just leaving a comment beneath the poem of the day.
  • I will pick a winner every day in April! So comment every day for a new chance to win.

OR, you can purchase your own copy of (After) Confession for the new low price of $9.00 USD, shipping and handling included! Click here to read sample poems and purchase a copy.

April is National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996.

This month’s posts are part of the  NaPoWriMo challenge — that’s National Poetry Writing Month. At, you’ll find links to other participating writers and their poetry. AND daily writing prompts for inspiration to write your own poems. Check them out.

I’m so looking forward to your comments–  it doesn’t have to be about the poem. Write anything, share the name of your favorite poet or poem, write about the weather, whatever! And thanks for reading.

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Photo credit: Me 1, and Alessandro de Bellis, courtesy of


  1. Sharon

    Ugh. I am definitely on the other end of the To-Do List Spectrum. Sometimes I try to write a to-do list and I rarely stick to them. I also rarely keep up with them for more than a day or two (same goes for agendas/planners).

    • Theresa Alberti

      It’s so funny how different people are in this regard! Considering my poem, I obviously have a hard time imagining *not* having lists, or how other people manage without writing everything down. It’s just probably not good to go to extremes either way, in my experience. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Barbara

    Oh so true, so true.

    • Theresa Alberti

      Hi Barbara– you must be a list-maker yourself, then?

  3. Shari

    I love that you took list making and turned it into dialog. I get it. I got through parenting and freelance jobs and home renovation by making lists. I still make lists, love to check things off, but when items keep showing up on the next list and the next, it’s time to have a talk with oneself.

    • Theresa Alberti

      Yes! I love that, “time to have a talk with oneself,” because it’s so true that it can get out-of-hand. Thanks, Shari!

  4. Ann

    I’m a list maker. So was Mom. Sometimes during a conversation we’d be reminded of something and remark, “I feel a list coming on.” And we’d laugh.
    Every so often I come across a list I made a week or a month ago. Things still undone….defrost freezer, paint bedroom, order new window shades. I’m not sure that lists help, but I keep writing them, just in case they do.

    • Theresa Alberti

      Oh, me too! I think that if I write them then I might feel a little push to do them. I love that story about you and your mom, Ann!

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