Since writing my last blog, I’ve thought about making a list as a way to get out of my slump. I’ve thought it might be good therapy. I love lists. I love writing them, reading them, editing them, and making new lists. Sometimes when I make a list, I add a task I’ve already completed just so I can cross it off! How silly. How gratifying. Making to-do lists help me make order from my chaos. Once my list is complete, I can check off the items as I complete them. In no time at all, I will once again be in control.
In this age of over-stimulation and too much information, list making has become a zen experience. Google the topic and thousands of articles and how-to primers are at your fingertips. Notice that most of the information about making lists centers around gaining control of your “tasks.” It’s all about organization or simplification. Figure out how to do more in less time so that your life may once again be happy and fulfilled. I know the truth. A list isn’t going to give me control. I need to accept that my life cannot be compartmentalized.
As I continue thinking about my fondness for lists, I’ve come to realize that perhaps I should approach this list making differently. If I am successful, I can still enjoy making the lists, but they will no longer consist of pages of things I “must” do — unavoidable tasks. These lists are not about gaining control or making order from chaos. Instead, they may help to change my perspective, deepen my beliefs, bring quiet to my soul.
I have a three-day weekend ahead of me. I have some plans already made that cannot be changed. But I am promising myself to find some time to start thinking about my new lists, not my traditional “to-do” lists. I’m going to re-read my copy of “The Dream Manager.” I’m going to spend some time in prayer and meditation. Here are some topics for consideration:
My Gratitude List. These are pretty popular. I don’t have one. Perhaps it’s time I make one.
My Dream List. “The Dream Manager” suggests making a list of your dreams, up to 100. I used to have lots of dreams. Time to dust them off and write them down.
25 (or 50) New Things to Try Before I Turn 65. A friend is doing this as she approaches her 50th birthday. I’ve just passed 60, so my next milestone is 65 (I hope!)
People I Want to Reconnect With
Ten Ways to Make Peace with My Hair
Ten Ways to Make Peace with My Body
Favorite Psalms and Favorite Hymns
Hobbies and Activities to Pursue in Retirement
Biographies I Want to Read
That’s a pretty good start I think. Maybe I’ll make a scrapbook to hold my lists. Instead of typing them, as I usually do, perhaps I’ll go and buy some brightly colored markers. and do them by hand. My children are teachers — they can help me with the creative process. Just thinking about this gets me excited! I must make time to do this. It’s one way I might begin to think differently, feel differently and act differently.