Some days ago I’ve been chatting with a friend from childhood and as usual, we both were complaining how busy the life is and even if we struggle to get all the work done, we still feel like there is so much more to do. Millions of small things are lining up in our schedule every day and I started to wonder: who is forcing me to get all of them done? Why can’t I take it easy? And then it strikes me: it was the list!
I have no idea how I’ve got the list. The first memory of having it was during the winter holiday of my second grade. All my neighbors were playing in the snow, sliding up and down, making castles and arranging strategic fights with snowballs, when I was inside making my math homework. My teacher told us before vacation: do as many problems as you can from chapter 3. So this is how I’ve got them on my list. I didn’t find it strange, until when the semester started I’ve noticed that I was the only one who has done all the problems and they were 3-4 times more than what my colleagues succeeded. I felt betrayed – when even the teacher was surprised: why didn’t she tell us a number? In the same time I felt satisfied: I could do it. This must have been the beginning.
When years went by, the tasks on list were replaced by others, but the urge and excitement of checking a task remained. Getting married: done. Having a child: done. Getting a degree: done. Getting a job: done, done and done. Even the order was important: if one task appeared on my list before another – it has to be checked in the entry order. For example: if finishing a project came before going to the gym – the second task had to wait, but needed to be checked before walking the dog.
For longer projects, I have to do the checking on small tasks. There would be difficult to put all my other activities on hold before renovating my entire house. So I start with the attic: done! Scuba diving was next: done! Getting a promotion: done! Start a new project: done! Back to house renovation, next was the bathroom; and so on… Now, don’t think that I do all this tasks alone. It is really good to do them in a team. To share your dreams and aspiration inside a small group. It doesn’t have to be big – even 2 is good number. 3 is even better. 10 is already a party. Checked.
When the list became to long, I decided not to add anything on it. So I’ve wait until all my tasks were checked and I realized that I enter a void. There was nothing left to do. I had an empty list! I should feel happy and satisfied, but in changed I was bored and nobody needed me anymore. So, I’ve changed the country: guess what happened. The list filled up itself and became instantaneous loooooooooong. Learn the language, find a job, find a school, find a house, plant a tree, change the tires… A lot of checkings though: done, done, done… I was still needed, I had things to do, new hobbies to try, new places to see…
I have a love-hate relationship with my list. I blame it for my busy schedule and sometimes for the lack of time to do the rest of things that didn’t make it to my list. So I try to forget it and hide it somewhere in a deep pitch of my memory. I can live without it for a while and then I start to miss it. If what I do is done by chance, or by mistake, it doesn’t feel the same like when it was there on my list and I had to struggle to make it. If is too easy, it must be worthless… And it must be just a random thing…. My list is giving me a direction. All the small actions will build up in a big one. It might even help me to become a better me.
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