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To Do: List Things To Do

wikimediacommons Mathews Sunny KunnelpurayidomSo yesterday this well-known professor of Christian Ethics guest-preached, and he confessed publicly (so I have no compunctions about reconfessing for him here) that he and his wife have 100 New Year’s resolutions between them.

Seriously. He has 60, organized into a neat outline with Roman numerals and everything. He made them into a POWER POINT for us. She has 40, no doubt equally well organized.

My first thought was that she is a better person than he is, because she only needs to fix 40 things. But then I wondered if he wasn’t a better person, because maybe they each have, say, 100 things to fix, and he is taking on 60% to her 40%.

My second thought was, LORD, Joshilyn, is EVERYTHING a competition? And my third thought was, YES. Fourth was, MAYBE THAT IS SOMETHING YOU SHOULD RESOLVE TO WORK ON. THE BEING LESS OF A COMPETITIVE BUTTHEAD, EH? Fifth: Shut up and listen to the sermon, squirrel-brain.

After, I thought about this couple. We are getting to know them pretty well, and neither of them seems to have enough character flaws to require resolutions in the DOUBLE digits, much less 100 flaws each. I really picked 100 flaws each for them as a convenience to myself— I suck at math.

Basically, these are WONDERFUL people, and the fact that they are examining their lives and trying to do/think/feel/be better on so many fronts makes me feel admiration. And inspires me. And, yes, makes me VERY VERY TIRED.

You know how much I freakin’ hate growing as a person.

I am the girl who has always said that the examined life makes me want to walk into the sea. Inside my navel—please God and thanks good hygiene—is nothing much worth looking at.

I had exactly ONE resolution, and it took me almost 700 frantic words, RIFE with near-random spasms of caps-lockery and cat butt jokes, to choke it out of myself. You can scroll down two entries and read it, or I will just boil it down to two words for you here. The whole of my resolution could be stated like this: “BLOG MORE.”

Okay, to be fair to me, you could also boil it down to BE HAPPIER. You could boil it down, as well, to LOVE MORE (which, in my opinion BE HAPPIER and LOVE MORE are two sides of the same coin, so that is a boil down that all happens in one pot. Which seems to mean, spiritually speaking, that I would have less dishes to wash? Fine.)

It could also—most truthfully I think—-be boiled down to, I WANT TO LIVE A LIFE WORTH WRITING ABOUT.

But maybe there is MORE to that than just saying it in 700 spastic words and then gamboling away feeling like I accomplished a thing by ANNOUNCING that I have a single, broad, and mostly good intention.

I could resolve to CAUSE WORLD PEACE with the same amount of aplomb (and the same number of cat butt jokes) and then wander off just as joyfully. Now, here is some math even I can do. If I ANNOUNCE that I am going to cause world peace, how much extra world peace can we expect to see by 2015?

Answer: None. None more world peace.

lolcat to do list If I really want a life worth writing about, I am horrified to report that I need AN ACTUAL PLAN. With stages and objectives. I doubt I can manage an outline because I am intimidated by Roman Numerals and can never remember how much C is, and also I don’t have an organizational skill.

Perhaps that is what I do first? I GET an organizational skill, or, more realistically, I live find a VERY SIMPLE system I can use.

I suspect I am capable of a checklist.
Yes. I am. I AM CAPABLE OF A CHECKLIST.
Resolved: I am going to make a checklist.

NO. I am going to make THREE checklists. A list of things to do DAILY. A list of things to do WEEKLY. And a list of things to do before this year is over.

Thing one on all those lists is MAKE THESE LISTS. That will happen this week. SO now I have a goal and a deadline. *preen* These things are slightly more concrete than a good intention.

Ya’ll. Ugh. This is terrible. It seems like I have decided YET AGAIN that I have to grow as a person.

Dammit.

13 comments to To Do: List Things To Do

  • I love it. I don’t normally do new year’s resolutions, but decided to be a rebel and have one this year. My resolution is to get control of the stuff in my life and to spend less money. As I was deciding on what my resolutions should be, I came up with things like: eat better, lose weight, move more (objects in motion tend to stay in motion), focus on buying only that which I need, eat out less, organize my house, clean all the rooms, stop grocery shopping with vague ideas and bring a list, no more impulse buying, etc. You know, important personal growth type stuff, but I’ve always hated resolutions because they seem to just set every person I know who makes them up for immediate failure in the exciting new year that’s supposed to be so much better and different than the previous year but never is. I didn’t want to do that to myself so I decided on the two that really seem the most impactful. Control of stuff in my house will hopefully help propel me out of the emotional tar pit that was the previous 15 months and will prove to help with the spending less and the staying in motion and the cleaning and the organizing. Spending less can be achieved by eating out less and home cooked meals are, generally speaking, better for me, and if I’m making a meal plan and a grocery list then I’m not shopping willy nilly.

    SO you see? My resolutions this year are like those capsules that you soak in warm water and they dissolve and expand into little foam dinosaurs. My resolutions are little foam dinosaurs. They start out little and hard, but as they marinate, they expand, as if by magic, to make something completely unexpected.

  • Brian

    I dislike resolutions – especially those branded as ‘new year’ resolutions. They feel like the first required setup towards failure. Oh good, I made resolutions! Oh crap… I’m not… resolving them. FAIL. FEEL BAD.

    They always seem to be so BIG and LONG TERM. They can’t be done in an hour or a day. So to make progress on them, it takes energy and stamina and dedication and all those other nouns I wished I owned.

    I do, however, love lists. Lists are good. Lists are short, little, precise, manageable, attainable. Best of all, they show progress magically. Do a thing – instant-reward. Look! I crossed this off my list. I am accomplishing things! I am a winner.

    Even if you don’t do everything on your list, it still looks and feels like progress. If it doesn’t, just put the things you did do on it and then promptly cross them off. Tada! Progress. Good news: there is no Central Authority for List Management (CALM) to enforce the list laws. Technically you did a thing and you can document it.

    I use Google’s Tasks to keep my lists. It works on the compy and on my phone. Very handy. Easy-peasy to manage. Even has ‘due date’ options to sort the important things up and the mundane down. And when it gets completed, it puts a very satisfying strike-through line on it.

    Resolve never to make resolutions again.

  • Chris

    I am curious as to what was on his list of 60. Any fun items to share? I have not formally done any new year resolutions but am thinking about work goals and vacations plans for the year which both strike me as worthwhile goals.

  • Jessica

    I’m more in the “if it needs to be fixed, fix it now” camp, so I usually don’t wait to resolve to change something. But there are times when someone else’s resolution will make something I truly need/want to change come to the forefront. I do think that 60 resolutions at one time is a bit of a tall order and some of those must be pretty specific

    Side note: C is 100, which I always remembered by “cent” or “per cent”, all of which are portions of 100 (cent is a portion of $1.00, or 100 cents, and percent is, of course, a portion of 100%). I don’t know if that helps anyone else, but it’s always helped me.

  • Ugg – personal growth. I think I’m allergic. I’ll watch … you go first! :)

  • Martha

    I am a list person because I am not a last minute person and I have a faulty memory. A list is just a plan. And when you cross off a task it feels great. Like you actually accomplished something. Very rewarding.

  • Think of it less as “personal growth”, which for me seems to only occur around my hips and ass, thankyouverymuch, but “act as if”. That way, if something doesn’t happen the way it’s supposed to, it wasn’t YOU who dropped the ball, it was the character who was pretending to grow as a person. And if you happen to develop a couple of habits that last into next year, well, we’re all influenced by the characters we play, right?

  • I skip resolutions and do themes. But, resolutions tend to come with the themes. They are just less obvious and therefore make me not a total failure. This year, my theme is oblation.

  • Brigitte

    Hey, I’ve got those three lists! Buried at the bottom of my pile somewhere . . .

    You’ve done well re. the yoga, so I think you’ll make some progress in your “growing as a person” thing. Particularly if you pretend it’s a competition! ;-D

  • rams

    Sweets? You’re thinking big, like the drama-major you are. Stop. “Blog more” is good. It does not mean “live a more interesting life.” How you SEE your life comes with the package, takes no growing, and is what we love. My favorite posts have to do with Bagel moisting the bunny, The Boy using The Word while y’all play WOW, etc. Thinking big chokes the engine, postpones the blogging and deprives the Best Beloveds. Just tell us what happened today. We weren’t there. It will make us happy once it’s filtered through you. Swear on my pink socks.

  • Susan, don’t you poo poo me!

    You think trying to go big or go home will postpone the blog? WHAT BLOG? I hardly blogged last year. I wrote less than 25% of what I write in a normal year. On ALLL fronts. Too sad. Too small. I have been very busy thinking as small as possible.

    DONE WITH IT. Done with small and scared and sad. Ready for chutzpah and large and GOING OUTSIDE.

    Get on board, Missy. This is happening.

  • dramamama

    i’m thinking 60 resolutions must have lots of real specific things, like #1. Floss after breakfast. #2. Floss after lunch. #3. Floss after dinner. #4. Take vitamins each morning. #5. Socks in hamper every nite. #6. Eat less liver. #7 – #60: Yada yada yada…..

  • Methinks 100 resolutions per couple seems a bit over the top unless, of course, these are people who write things on their to-do list after they’ve done them just so they can mark them off. Here is what I, myself, plan to do this year. I am going to write a list of things I did each day just to remind myself that I do a boatload of things each day as i am always wondering why i dont do MORE. I also plan to write a list of the nice things my husband does each day and maybe even things my kids do. For instance, this morning I did a load of dishes before we left for work, I was nice to all of my students, I kept my chiro appointment, I called my mother, I made dinner AND pudding, helped my daughter with her Julius Ceasar test review and read a chapter of a new book to my son. Hubs brought the kids home, started dinner, started a fire in the fire place and took care of the cat and the chickens. My kids are right now in the same bed whispering to each other even though they are supposed to be asleep. . .but I don’t mind because these days are numbered and because they are being kind to each other. These things are, of course, in addition to the normal stuff we humans do each day. So. When you say you are going to blog more and be a happier person and love more, those seem like pretty tall orders. . .orders that can be achieved by looking at what you HAVE in your beautiful life through eyes of gratitude and wonder rather than fear and trembling over what could be lost. . .then writing about it. If that is growing as a person, then mission accomplished and three resolutions/goals/checklists done. BTW I have been SO successful at my own goal that this is the first time (this very day) on your blog that I’ve done it. You inspired me by your meanderings. Your happy, loving writing has gone forth and accomplished Something. ALSO while at the chiro today, I was flipping through a copy of People magazine, and low and behold if SELS and you weren’t staring right at me with 4 1/2stars twinkling next to your head shot and something like “you will not be able to put it down” in the review. I was SO proud for you!