My friend’s voice on the phone is quiet. “I wonder if you might be too hard on yourself?” she says. I’ve just admitted my recent sloth and debauchery, my recurring impossible transition from the end of the academic year to the summer. Her voice is all whispery and kind, as though I am a horse who might spook, the words an answer to prayer, I think later. (I have asked for gentle lessons.) I know I am too hard on myself. I gauge my efforts harshly, often fall short. But something in her voice makes me think my friend is talking instead about what I ask of myself, what gets put on the list to work toward to begin with. How do we decide where to aim? How do we know if we’re asking too much of ourselves? I plan to take it slow, this putting back on of my list of expectations. I want to let myself slip into it like a well worn sweater, or soft shoes, nicely broken in. But I am thinking I may not want to don the list again in its entirety. Maybe I will cut off the sleeves, wear new orange socks. Maybe I’ll just go to Stein Mart and poke around a bit.