My obsession with lists.

I found three to-do lists in the pocket my coat today.

Three.

They were all for different days, but had the most banal and repetitive things written:

Do laundry. Clean kitchen. Organize clothes. Remember to return library books. Call family. Look up that one thing on the Internet. 

Then, in an old journal, I have found goal lists:

Feel happy. Travel outside the United States. Love more. Save money. Be less cynical. Write more letters. Eat healthier. 

Next to each of these “goals” I put a box. How the hell did I think I would be able to assuredly check any one of those boxes? Like it was a task that was done, finito, el fin! Sometimes I think I’m a little crazy. How do I check the box “feel happy”, or even more mysterious, “love more”? It’s not like I could just finish those tasks like putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher!

I make lists for everything, and they’re littered evidence of everything I love and hate about myself: My desire to be organized, efficient, stable and useful. My want to simplify and reduce problems down to consumable bites I can handle. My sincere problems remembering even the most mundane of things, my inherent lack of sureness in myself that I can complete these tasks without reminders. My fear of large, scary tasks and challenges, my fear of myself and my actions.

I make grocery lists, and walk around Safeway with a pen in hand, marking off each item successfully found. I make lists of  material objects that I pine for but do not really need (Epson negative scanner! Olympus Trip 35 camera! Cashmere tights!) and lists of things I dislike about myself (I make too many lists. Too cynical. Sheltered. Crooked middle fingers. Can’t handle spicy food. Not cultured enough. Loud voice.) 

I can’t help that I categorize, simplify, determine, and deduce using scraps of paper, a few organizational lines, and a pen. I guess it’s a part of what I do.

Oh, and here’s a picture of Grumpy Cat. I have an exam in two hours and I am itching to get it done and over with.

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3 thoughts on “My obsession with lists.

  1. I am a lister too. I also categorize myself as a chronic-goal-setter. I always set so many high, high goals that I will inevitably disappoint myself with because I never start small. I hope to change that soon, but will that hope just be another goal on the list? I’m glad I’m not the only one, though. I guess it better, too, to be ambitious and motivated than complacent and uninspired, right?

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