Hello, my name is Tara and I’m a listaholic.
I am a maker of lists. I don’t just mean the usual lists of grocery shopping or things that I need to get done at work on any given day. I am a maker of lists on an industrial scale. I have lists for work, lists for when I come home, a list on my phone for Christmas and the beginning of a list for an activity next year. I have lists coming out of my ears.
Even today, on a mid week day off after a working weekend, a day that I have been anticipating for rest and relaxation, there is a list. And a list that keeps being added to.
Last night I began to ask myself some questions about that. What is that all about? On your list of things to do, why do you even write down a reminder to do your #100happydays picture for Instagram?! Why does it matter that much? Who would notice, who would care, if something slipped off the list or didn’t get done?
I would know.
And the eldest child, big sister part of me would be quite unhappy. Responsibility and dependability are what we bring to the party. If that goes, what will people think? That I’m unreliable or, god forbid, lazy? That won’t do.
But I’m tired and weary and my body and soul just want a rest. Down time. No lists!
In the back of my mind I know that even if I set the list aside there would still be the spectre of Really Should. You have a whole day off, you really should do the hovering. Look at the mess in the kitchen, you really should tidy it up. All those things on the list you just set down – you know you really should do them!
I give in to Really Should all the time and, you know what? She’s a bully. And if you give into bullies then they just keep bullying. But if you confront them, they often have no power at all.
“Oh yeah, Really Should – who says so? That’s right – no one.”
No one says I really should except for me.
So here’s what I’m going to do today – I’m going to gag Really Should and embrace Really Must. I really must sit for a while and do nothing but stare out the window, allow silence to fill my world and let my soul be entirely at rest. I really must go outside for a walk, take time to smell the roses and listen to the birdsong. I really must resist the temptation to add those things to my list!
I don’t anticipate throwing the list out entirely as I’m not sure that going cold turkey would be helpful and might induce panic. But I am determined not to let the list beat me over the head. I want to find the ability to truly rest, while still embracing the fact that I am someone who likes some order and to get stuff done. Can I do that?
Am I alone in this lunacy? Does anyone relate to a Life of Lists with a side order of Really Shoulds?
If you’re out there perhaps we can form a support group. I’ll add that to my list.