control · humor · letting go · list making · musings · to do lists

Give Me Lists or Give Me Chaos.

 I find it amazing how humans can get along because of the differences in our general makeup.

For instance, a friend of mine lists 2 is an addicted list maker, and I am bumping the other extreme known fondly as ‘flying by the seat of my pants’.

At one time in my life I did make lists of things to do and things that I might want to do, and things that I should do but may not, and then a list of all my lists. I received such joy in scratching out those things I had accomplished. The down side was when I looked at the things I hadn’t accomplished and couldn’t believe I still had pages of items to do!

My habit was broken (somewhat painfully I might add) when I took off for a year to travel and ‘be’. My husband asked me to spend the year ‘letting things happen rather than making things happen’. I assured him that would not be a problem and I could ‘drift’ comfortably.

I was wrong. There was nothing comfortable or easy about letting things just happen. It was a challenge to float through life, not making plans about where we would be each night, where we would eat each day, what we would do…oh my, I lost control!

I had never thought about how much planning I did and how safe and secure I felt thinking I had some control. The transition took a long time, and I can’t say it was always fun, but the rewards were marvelous. I began to listen to myself, ‘feeling’ my way through situations rather than just plowing forward with a preset goal in mind.

Some would say this is not a good way to live. Who are we if we don’t have goals, a road map for our lives, clearly defined objectives? I learned the value of taking time to put an ear to my inner longings and follow the paths that are far more satisfying and exciting than if I had planned every step of the way.

I concede that there are times when I miss the thrill I received when in my list-making dayslists I would do something that wasn’t on the list. I would immediately put it on the list just so I could scratch it off! Such a sense of accomplishment!

But overall, I like the tension that is created when I let go of the outcome and live in the moment. That’s much easier when you turn your cell phone off, unplug the computer, and find a log to crawl under so as not to be disturbed by every day living!

Of course, I wouldn’t get half as much done, but that begs the question: Did it really need to get done in the first place?

Are you a list maker? What would your life be like if you didn’t make lists?

11 thoughts on “Give Me Lists or Give Me Chaos.

  1. I’m an addicted list maker, and I absolutely add something I’ve already done for the pleasure of crossing it off! But I’d love to take a travel/just be year. I’m going to add that to my bucket list… 😉

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  2. I am guilty of making list that never get done. I put post it notes on one of my kitchen cupboards of things I want to get done. I really think I put them there to hide the ugly door, everyday I see them i think to myself, when should I start those? Then I move on to something else, that is how I started this blog..lol
    You made me smile today..thank you!

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  3. You are welcome. As the holidays draw nearer lists become a higher priority . I like the idea of hiding an ugly door with post-it notes. I may try that on my bathroom mirror to lessen the shock of seeing the remnants of a pillow battle every morning.

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  4. Our tension comes from a marriage of a compulsive list-maker and planner to a free-wheeling, seat of the pants, turn-left- if-something-looks-interesting-down-that-road kind of girl. He makes the plan and then I turn left. We somehow manage to get along anyway.

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  5. I used to like a list, and that feeling of crossing things off, but not obsessively. Now I think perhaps I should just put what I have already done on the list. Not cross anything off which only triggers yet another list.
    One list of positives could be very motivating, I feel!

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  6. I love lists so much that my blog is basically just lists. However I also like to just drift and let things happen sometimes, and when it all gets too scary I go back to my lists for some security.

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