Saturday, September 17, 2005

IT'S ON THE LIST

In a previous post, I mentioned my obsessive need to make lists. Then my friend Gabrielle posted that in the TV show, Babylon Five, there is a recurring them with three questions that need to be answered (A LIST). In a discussion about these themes, someone commented that not only was it important to answer the questions, but the order in which one answered the questions was just as telling (An ORGANIZED LIST). This kind of thinking is right up my alley! I don’t accomplish as much as I should or would like to because I’m in search of the perfect list. Not only do I make a list, I check it twice, thrice, four times, five, etc. Even Santa stops at twice. It’s not enough for me to make the list ( 1. Stop at K-Mart, 2. Stop at WalMart) but I also need to evaluate and reorder the list (Kmart and Wal-Mart are on the same road. Do I stop at K or W first? K is first, but I could stop at W first and then go to K on my way home. But if I stop at W first, then when I stop at K I’ll have to cross over the road and be delayed by traffic. Therefore, the most efficient order will be K first, then W). The most efficient grocery list is one organized by category and in the order in which they appear in the store (1. Produce, 2. Deli, etc) except the frozen foods, which logically should be chosen last so they remain frozen. This obsession of mine is quirky, neurotic, and even somewhat humorous when it remains in the shopping realm. But it doesn’t. I make lists for hopes, goals, needs, wants. I need to: I. Live healthier lifestyle A. eat better B. lose weight C. exercise D. control stress II. Take better care of my house A. Clean 1. Living Room 2. Bedroom 3. Kitchen 4. Dining Room B. Repairs 1. Fix Sunroom window 2. Fix back fence 3. Repair screen III. Spiritual Life A. Pray B. Devotions C. Worship There are hundreds more items and sub-items (Budgeting, Improving family relationships, school…) that are on this list, but you get the picture. I’m a sucker for any magazine headline or book that proclaims – 10 Steps to a More Organized Home, Decorate your Bedroom in a Weekend, 30 Days to a Healthy You. LISTS! They give me LISTS! I don’t even have to think about making up my own! But then the magazines stack up, my house gets cluttered, and eventually they get tossed out – when decluttering appears on my chore list, that is. There was a time in my life when I would have tried to tackle all these at once (“Tomorrow, I will be perfect. It’s possible. I need only follow my list”), but with age comes experience and with experience, wisdom. I now realize that I can’t do them all at once and perfection is not achievable. So I pick one or two items from the list at a time. Or at least I try to. I’m stumped by which one or two items to pick. And like the Babylon Five questions, in which order should I attempt these? If I exercise, that will help control the stress and lose weight, but in order to exercise well, I need to eat better. If I choose prayer first, then that will help with devotions and worship, but if I focus on devotions and Bible reading first, then I’ll know God better and then pray and worship more effectively. But when I’m at a loss as to what/how to pray, the Holy Spirit knows and is able to pick up for me, so maybe devotions and/or worship should be first… Those of you reading this may be smiling. I too see the absurdity of this. But this is also a real problem for me that I’m trying to overcome. But I don’t know if it’s a spiritual, emotional or physical problem (yet another LIST). Or maybe it’s a combination. I feel like my life is one of those multiple-choice questions where the answer can be a, b, c, a and b, a and c, b and c, all of the above, or none of the above. I’m constantly assessing and evaluating items, making permutations and computations with the end result being – I accomplish nothing and wind up disastified with my life and myself. Is it any wonder that I don’t sleep well? And of course, sleeping well is on the Healthy Lifestyle and Dealing with Stress Lists.
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