Thursday, 19 November 2015
In Praise of Lists
I am the type of person who scours the Internet to see what it is that I am doing wrong. Having spent some time perusing Twitter (to find some nice photos of Jeremy Vine and Karen Clifton in Strictly. I have left Strictly now they have gone. Too many semi danced trained, low level showbiz types for me - sorry.) I have come across a few things talking about the tyranny of lists and getting rid of this oppressive scourge. Well not me matey. I have a list. I have an ongoing list. My list is going nowhere. I will admit that the whole planner thing has gone a bit too far. I have never really felt the need to buy stickers with little glasses of water on them to tell me to drink six pints a day or whatever. I also freely admit that I find it a teeny bit sad that people spend fifteen quid on a stamp that says "To Do" rather than just scrawl it. (Actually, I don't even need to that. If it's written down - it needs to be done. That is all)
Firstly, I notice that a lot of these people who rattle on about leaving yourself free to run through God's Open Fields of Thoughtfulness or whatever are not burdened by my working patterns. I am full time - nine to five. I can't break off for a couple of hours to sit on a hill. It won't go down well with the Powers That Be. I cannot count on their understanding. This does not just apply to people who work. Lots of people are so committed to lots of things, they just can't "go with the flow".
Also I am old and I forget things and if things that I need to do are not staring balefully out at me when I open my diary, there is every chance that they won't get done. I am the King, Queen and Princess Royal of mentally sidelining things that I don't fancy. Writing it down will make it unavoidable; a Thing That Must Be Done. Consequently, when the task is complete, I have found that there are few things more satisfying than running a highlighter pen through one of these conscience prodders.
I find, it makes time for me. It really does. I use a list to both write down what I need to do but also to limit my expectations. I may need to do eight hundred and forty things but if I write down the three most urgent for the next five evenings, I will usually do those things and then skip off and do what I want to do. This means things get done and I feel good. Otherwise there is every chance that you will find me curled up in a ball under the bed crying because I am overwhelmed by how much needs to be done and I have spent the whole evening watching re-runs of Only Connect - even though I have already seen every episode- just to take my mind off them.
As I age, I am more aware of how quickly time passes. The prospect of having a life that, one day, allows me to lie on my belly in the sun and daily contemplate God's goodness is very attractive but today, I have so many things I have to do, that I need to remember them.
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