Dear Lucy, I had a most terrible and thrilling thought this week. What if there were no more lists? What if I stopped making lists? I immediately want to make a list of all the lists I could stop making. I don’t.
The list of lists I’m making is the list to end all lists. This list-less life I’m making is so list-less, listless – list.
I’m panicking. I’m making tongue twisters about lists in lieu of making lists of lists. I’m not making this up. These words are flying out of my fingers.
The tongue twister is swiftly followed by a rhyme: The list took centre stage and stood before its crowd, the content
so beguiling, no need to speak aloud.
Then a riddle: The list went into the woods only to come out from where it started.
This panic is a sure sign that making lists isn’t healthy. Not forever, and not for everyone, but for me, right now.
I d e c i d e t o s l o w d o w n t h e w o r d s to calm down my terrified fingers. ‘It’s OK’ I reassure them, ‘It’s OK’.
I have an urge to put some rules around not making lists, which will of course be a list. Sneaky brain.
I’ll just have one rule, and that is this. Instead of making a list I’m drawn to making I’ll just do something instead. Like, something that would have been on the list. Wow.
Day one of my new list-less life finds me accidentally making lists every time I have a pen or a keyboard in front of me. The urge is clearly Pavlovian; I don’t even know I’m doing it. Pen = list. Paper = List. Keyboard = list. The first, an innocent food shopping list, written idly whilst I’m having breakfast. I throw it in the bin and a glowing smile full of glitter and sunbeams darts in behind it.
Next, a list of all the things I’ve learned about life (yes I know, I have way too much time on my hands). It sat there looking at me in all its bullet pointed glory, full of pride, not knowing that where once it was welcome, it’s about to be asked to leave. I keep this list to avoid any shame and gently turn the page.
Finally, the food list has another attempt at getting itself heard – the food items literally sneaking and snaking their way in between other words I’m writing. Unbelievable.
I might have a ‘eggs’ problem. A real one. Is there ‘oatcakes’ a Lists Anonymous group? “Sorry, I can’t make it tonight, I’m off to ‘bananas’ LA!”
Despite the rocky start, by the end of the day, I feel amazing. I’ve done everything that would have been on my list, had I had one. My ‘just do it’ approach really has worked. All those nagging things to do circling like sharks, keeping my attention on red alert, are now gone. Poof. Just like that.
If I’d actually made the list, I know for a fact I wouldn’t have done half of them. I choose not to analyse why – list-making opportunities are lurking literally everywhere.
I’m not going to sign off with an amusing quip about something I’ve forgotten to do because now that I don’t have a list, there is nothing to forget! I am literally a new woman. Once listless, I am now list-less.