I love making lists. There’s something extremely fulfilling about knowing exactly what I need to do for the day, or what I need to buy, books I need to get…Just completing the list feels like an accomplishment, makes me feel organized and in control.
But sometimes what looks so neat and orderly on paper is anything but, and the hours and days that go by with a list uncompleted is like a load of bricks on my mind. Sometimes it’s because the task is reliant on some external factor for completion or perhaps it’s more complicated or tedious than it first appeared to be. Or sometimes it’s simply because I spend hours and days trying to avoid it.
At times like these, it feels like lists take on a life of their own. I have so many – to-do lists, ‘work completed’ lists, birthday/Christmas lists, wish lists, shopping lists, things I like, things to look forward to….
I like lists because they help me feel like I’m in control, always prepared. But lists sometimes give me the false impression that I can control everything, that I can always be prepared. In theory I suppose it makes sense, but my mind seriously doesn’t work like that. In fact, I don’t work like that, because I love making lists but I am usually really bad about using them.
I have issues with following all my lists and schedules, the same way I have issues following recipes and instruction manuals. Something inside me freezes up and my mind goes blank. Don’t ask me why. I can read a recipe and think ‘hey, I can make that!’ yet freeze up when the ingredients are in front of me. It’s like some sort of disconnect, a computer hanging, a ‘does not compute’ sign popping up over my head.
Granted, I do occasionally get to cross out items on my to-do list but I’ve come to realize that some lists aren’t meant to be completed. I have journals from my college days that list out ‘things to look forward to’, people to see, gifts to make. Although they’re no longer relevant, I can’t bear to throw them away. Just like my journals, they’re a part of me and throwing them away would mean throwing away part of my history.
So I’ll continue making my lists. It’s gotten me this far, and I know my life will be filled with many more.