On list making and letting go

8 Aug

I like making lists.  Catching the thoughts whizzing around my head and pinning them down on paper.  Once trapped in ink, their days are numbered.  I cannot bear to see a task written down without crossing it off.

Writing lists creates the illusion that I have control.  Control over the chaos that is life with three small children, and an aversion to housework. The lists impose a modicum of order on an otherwise unordered situation.

Of course I have a trip list, a very long one.  With less than three months to go, the tasks are starting to crash into one another.  I can’t do one thing, without doing something else first.  If I don’t cross things off every day, I panic that I’ll never get it all done.  The lists within lists are filling my waking hours and becoming unwelcome visitors in my dreams.

Every day at home I am surrounded by the evidence of tasks undone.  Uncleared cupboards, broken lights, pictures that need taking off walls.  Our house is in the process of being decorated, creating a chaos of it’s own.  I have been wondering whether the self imposed tasks are more than the holiday’s worth.

This week we are not at home, we are at the seaside.  We are staying in a lovely, clean, ordered house.  We have light and space and views.  We have dug in the sand, poked anenomes, paddled, collected shells, eaten ice cream, looked at the horizon.  Until I did these things, I had not realised I had been wearing my lists like a heavy cloak.  They’ve been literally weighing me down, making my shoulders ache.

This weekend I’ve had a glimpse of why it’s worth it.  After just one weekend, I feel lighter, calmer, happier.  A bit of house clearance is a small price to pay for nine months away.  There’s nothing quite like looking at the horizon.

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14 Responses to “On list making and letting go”

  1. English Mum 08/08/2010 at 8:19 pm #

    ‘wearing my lists like a heavy cloak’ – how true. Although now I have an image of you looking all beardy and Dumbledore-ish.

    Glad you’ve freed yourself up though! xx

  2. jfb57 08/08/2010 at 8:28 pm #

    So glad you’re having a ‘lighter’ time! your lists will still be there after wards!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/08/2010 at 10:14 am #

      We are home now, and sadly, yes, they are still here. Hey ho.

  3. Pants With Names 09/08/2010 at 8:37 am #

    Ugh, the lists the lists. There’s a special place for the lists in purgatory. So pleased you have managed to get away for a bit to remember the other fun stuff. PS – quite often when things on the list don’t get done it doesn’t matter! x

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/08/2010 at 10:11 am #

      I know you are right about that. Sometimes something stays on so long without getting done that I let it gently slip off the bottom. Nothing too bad has happened yet…

  4. Mediocre Mum 09/08/2010 at 5:48 pm #

    I tend to put things on the list that I’ve already done so that I can cross them off! 😉

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/08/2010 at 10:10 am #

      I do that too!

  5. christinemosler 09/08/2010 at 5:51 pm #

    I’ve got that Dumbledore image firmly in my head now! The lists and the piles (paperwork and washing) drag me down…let’s jettison the lot, life would improve tenfold! As long as we’ve got clean knickers, a book to read and one to write in we’ll be fine!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/08/2010 at 10:11 am #

      I think I make a good Dumbledore! I would love to jettison the lot, but I think it would be worse. The jobs won’t do themselves sadly.

  6. Naomi Richards 09/08/2010 at 6:14 pm #

    I love lists. They are the only way I can empty my mind and get a good nights sleep. I only put a few things on my list every night for the next day so its not overwhelming. If I achieve the few things it makes me feel accomplished.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/08/2010 at 10:09 am #

      I do that too, but I also have a huge master list at the moment, of everything that needs doing before we go away. It’s the big one that’s getting me down.

  7. Nickie (Typecast) 12/08/2010 at 11:12 am #

    I love lists – they give me a sense of purpose and keep me in line with reality 😉

  8. Motherfunster 15/08/2010 at 9:06 am #

    You need the lists but they do start to take over your life don’t they? My post on chaos theory has a similar theme

  9. MummyT 27/08/2010 at 3:54 am #

    God, it sounds like a hell of a lot of organisation to be done… I think, try not to let it stress you. Can I be really naughty at this point? And ask whether you’ve ever thought about doing more than nine months?

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