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Listless (or listful)

I’m completely convinced that if I just had the right list I’d be able to pull my life together into the shape I imagine I want and deserve. Every now and again, usually when I’m over-tired, over-committed, over-caffeinated or over-stretched in a general life sense, I try to make that list. It usually has things like “finish my French workbook” and “write a really good novel—a tour de force” and “get all the washing done”. Then I read over it and realise that I’m not doing all that today, and I get discouraged. You wouldn’t believe the number of pens and notepads I have right here in front of me, right now, just as part of the ambient clutter of my life, except you totally would believe it because you do it too. Admit it. If it’s not notepads and pens, it’s their digital equivalent. I see you.

Anyway, the greatest thing I ever did for my mental wellbeing was start writing ‘done’ lists. I try to avoid ‘to do’ lists now, but I will admit I will write a ‘reminders’ list. Things that, oh, you know, it would be great if I got around to doing, but they don’t have to be done, the world won’t end, etc. The best part about a ‘done’ list is that you look back at all the shiz you got up to over the day and you’re like “holy nuts, I’m busy!”, even when you don’t feel like you’ve achieved much. On bad days I include things like “cups of tea: 4” and “made bed”. Because sometimes my level of ability fluctuates and it’s nice to have a list that cheers you on accordingly. Watered the desk plants? Great job! Jot that motherfucker down! Wore pants? Kudos! That’s going straight to the list! Remembered to do your physio exercises? STAND BACK, LIST!

It’s taking all my willpower not to pepper this entry with lists. I wanted to write a list of things I never do lists of, and a list of things I compulsively do lists of, but in the end the whole thing got a bit to meta-listical and I had to go lie down. Plus, if I’m honest, there’s a lot of things that I don’t necessarily write lists of, but I record in a pretending-not-but-actually-is a list way—spreadsheets for everything but knitting; Ravelry for everything else. Sure, they’re more complex and involved, so at first glance you might not even realise they’re lists, but they are, my friend, and you’re in their tender grip.

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