Friday, 14 December 2012
Diary of a chronic list-writer
With Christmas firmly on the horizon, I find my mind stretching towards the New Year, and more excitingly, to New Year's resolutions. I'm an avid list writer, and the New Year offers the chance for a new slate and a fresh opportunity to write the perfect 'to do' list.
I love the process of writing lists: pulling out a crisp sheet of paper and choosing my favourite pen, numbering each line with careful accuracy and writing each item concisely and neatly. Most of all, I love the satisfaction of drawing a thick line through something I've achieved, and seeing those achievements add up to a feeling of happy, busyness.
So when I mentioned my impending New Year's resolution list-writing excitement to a friend, I was alarmed by his response. "Why do you do it to yourself?" he exclaimed. I stared at him blankly. "2012 lists, 2013 lists, 29 before 30 lists, 4 things lists: you just set youself up for failure." It's true I've been berating myself recently for my 'lack' of productivity. I've mentioned before that mindless television watching leaves me feeling empty and frustrated, and I constantly will myself to 'fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds' worth of distance run' as Kipling would say. So I found myself stuck between a rock and a hard place -wanting to nurture and explore my love of list-writing, tempered with the realisation that there's only so much I can achieve in a year.
I had big plans for 2012, but my living arrangements have left me unable to sew for the past 5 months, and tackling a 4-hr daily commute that leaves little time for frivolity. I found myself feeling alarmed at how quickly the year had passed me by, and how little I felt I'd achieved (according to my 2012 list, just 8 out of 23 things, or 35%), yet I feel like I've been busy all the time.
So, instead of immediately launching into an extensive list of everything I'd like to achieve in 2013, maybe I need to get the balance right. I don't think I'll ever rid myself fully of the list-writing bug, but maybe something more realistic is possible. I definitely need to take that into account before launching into those resolutions...