Have you noticed that life is all about lists? What to get at the supermarket, the ‘to do’ list at work, the list of jobs that needs to be done, the list of birthdays not to forget....the list (pun intended) goes on. How crazy is it that I need to have a list (all be it a mental one) which reminds me that I must write to Sophie, drop Maddy a line, do my photo album etc. I mean, these are not jobs to be ticked off like paying the car tax!
Recently though I’ve started to notice that while I take great comfort in a list, I seem to be spending my time finding other things to do which are not on the list. Now, the house list (the one we’ll use for this sad tale) is a list of the jobs we need to do in our home - Casa Dos Avos, it’s not long – well not that long, but since writing it, the list has been pinned to the notice board and I regret to tell you it is being ignored. Now, this is the paradox, I like a list, I need a list, but I cannot seem to get off my arse and start ticking things off the list. I use excuses, currently the tennis is on, so that’s my excuse. But I can be found reading the historical novel I’ve read about 5 times as opposed to just getting on an re-sealing the shower that’s leaking!
I wouldn’t call myself a lazy person, at work I get through a huge mountain of work, all carefully listed in order of priority and urgency (was I the only one who listed to that trainer at the time management course?). At home, I really WANT to do these jobs, it is just that; watching Midsummer Murders, the tennis, reading Jilly Cooper, sitting on my arse etc seems to take priority. So much so that the poor list of jobs to do is being slowly hidden by other things being pinned on the notice board.
See my point (the list is behind the blue thing).
Now my beloved, Peter, is not a list person. He was the unhelpful sod who when I asked him for items for the list, hilariously said ‘write a list’. Oh ha bloody ha. Peter, I think, takes a totally different view of lists, they are not to be worried about, live life instead of doing the jobs. He fills his time not watching Midsummer Murders (that John Nettles is a lovely man by the way), but weeding in the garden, planting things....I think he believes that if he is sweating it is time not wasted but put to good use! Well I am sure that many middle aged women will no doubt work up a sweat watching Mr Nettles on Midsummer Murders – does that count as time well spent?! Clarification point – I don’t work up a sweat watching Mr Nettles, but he is a lovely man.
It was only when my good friend Charlie came to visit recently that I realised that I had turned into this list ignoring, and yes, lazy person. I picked her up from Lisbon and chatting in the car on the way home, in that manic way that friends do when they haven’t seen each other in a while, we updated each other on our lives. She’s working like a demon for a well-known cancer charity, she lives in London and commutes to work (before you ask, no I don’t miss that), she has friends she sees, weddings and events to attend and is a busy person. I mean, she didn’t have a weekend free for weeks ahead. So, when she asks me what I do with my time, well I felt a bit of a fraud, a failure, a lazy arse. She didn’t mean to make me feel like that, in fact, I didn’t realise I felt like that until I explained what I did on a day to day basis. I suppose I felt embarrassed that sometimes all I do is walk the dog, clean the house, have lunch, read my book, watch some TV, talk to our neighbours. Instead I found myself telling her about all the things I have not got round to doing and making apologies for this.
Now, I must clarify, I’m enjoying life out here, it is wonderful, but it’s quiet and I’m still finding my feet with that. But faced with a friend living my previous and enjoyable life (I lived in London, worked for a large cancer charity, commuted to work blah blah blah) made me think ‘what exactly do I do?’
Back to the point, is there a point?, well yes I suppose. I suppose the point is, I am a list person, I have a list, BUT I’M NOT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT.....what’s wrong with me? Maybe we reach a time when it’s comforting to have the list but it is no longer essential to do the list, is this maturity or is this (as I suspect) really about being a lazy arse. There are things I really want to do; be a better friend and stay in touch with people more, write letters, do more with the blog, do my photo album, but I don’t get around to doing it....are we all the same, do other people feel like this too?
My neighbours have a list, our friends from the USA have a white board which always starts with ‘smile, be happy, get boat in water’, which I love. By the way, the boat is not in the water – yet! If it was, I’d be off my arse and in the boat like a shot. Our other neighbours have a book of jobs...now this is just too scary, they have things which are years down the line.
And, eureka, we have what the specialists call ‘break through’, I realise that, I have a problem with patience. I have to have it all done now, not in a year, two years, three years (you get the point), so the list seems too daunting, too much to deal with, too much money to spend etc, instead of just seeing the list as this reminder of things to do at some point. So I feel like a failure because it’s not done, ticked off and finished. So, I will; smile, be happy, keep a list, add to it, but not worry if it’s not done.
So, last week I made a decision, I will get on a do things. So thus far;
I’ve written to Sophie
I’ve emailed Maddy (via facebook)
I’ve actually reviewed my Portuguese verbs (horrid experience, don’t try it at home), and,
I’ve updated the blog because I love Craig’s daily blog, http://craigschallengingyear.blogspot.com/ and am a bit jealous that he writes so well and it always makes me laugh.
OK I’m off to re-seal the shower, hang on, it’s 3.30pm Midsummer Murders starts at 4pm, I’ll do it after that!