The WordPress Daily Prompt for September 13 asks, “Quickly list five things you’d like to change in your life. Now, write a post about a day in your life once all five have been crossed off your to-do list.”
There are websites for one to use to make to-do lists, apps for shopping lists (I own a not-very-smart phone, so I am outsider to the world of apps), websites on which you can compile top 10 lists with friends. After one creates an account and logs in, not one of these websites offers “get a notepad or a scrap of paper and a pen and start writing your list” as list item number one, so I guess they are serious.
I am not one to scoff at online office tools or their use. I no longer compose in longhand and type straight into WYSIWYG tools like, well, the WordPress composer here and other tools like 750 Words. I recently used an online website to create a legal document and get the required parties to e-sign it. Not one drop of ink was spilled. (I am so green my carbon footprint is a dot.) I have had an email account of one sort or another since 1986, starting with one I never used at college.
Further, there are online courses one can take to help one learn to create better or more “do-able” lists, lists that give one a sense of accomplishment because, with them, one crosses items off throughout the day, one spends more time crossing items off the list than actually doing the things on the list. Most of these courses offer as Rule Number One: Do not fill one’s shopping lists with one’s life ambitions. “1. Be more interesting. 2. Asparagus. 3. Read more. 4. Read ‘Ulysses.’ 5. Dishwasher detergent.” Keep it simple.
Lists of life plans or life changes are daunting, and too often in my life these have become scraps of paper left behind when I moved, unmodified except for the bleaching that long exposure to sunlight exerts on paper. Many of the things I would like to change in my life are things that I complain about but no one else seems to think of as issues. Should I have written this prompted post earlier today? Probably, as now I am rushing (which contributes to some bluntness) because I am going out to dinner and it is already late in the afternoon. But it is Saturday and there is college football to catch up on, I am reminded by the devil on my shoulder, the time-wasting devil me! And I have not checked my Twitter account in hours and I transact social business on there.
Our culture teaches us that we do not have enough, have not done enough. Whatever it is. This is not the same as “more-more-more,” but “is that all there is.” I promise that I will be revisiting this topic in a later, longer, post. (Is that all there is?)
For instance, my second thought upon waking is, “I am still tired. I don’t think I slept enough.” (The first is “Where am I?”) We are told that we are supposed to sleep eight solid hours a night, which is a number I last hit when I was an infant and someone was watching over me. This provides the side of me that is inclined to think that I am doing things wrong, everything wrong, with two notions: One, that I did not get to sleep early enough and need to do better at this, as if going to sleep is a task, and two, that I am lazy if I need more sleep.
(Please note that I last held a job in 2010. I am disabled. There are not a lot of demands on my time, and I make my own schedule as a result.)
So yes, there are five things I can list that I think would provide me with an improved, a qualitatively better, life if I worked on them and achieved them. The improvement would be that I would no longer be complaining to myself over a handful of things that I complain to myself over, not that these things were accomplished. A day spent not telling myself that I am lazy and at the same time feeling tired because I did not get “enough” sleep would be a sweet day. But I have quite sweet days most days anyway.