Here a List, There a List…

Speaking of lists, how do we feel about lists in general?

I love lists, and now that I’ve discovered that I can make lists on my phone and sync them to my computer (and even to my iTunes account when I remember how), my God—it’s total bliss.

A lot of self help books recommend making lists.  So do other really credible sources, like internet websites and personal blogs and… er… well… moving on.

I’ve been told to make lists about what I want, about what I don’t want, about what I loved about my ex, about what I hated about my ex, of things I’ll do differently next time around, of things I won’t do differently next time around, and even how I would like to love.

And be loved.

Admittedly, I never really thought about those last two before.  Those of you who’ve been with us for a while know that my previous concerns have centered around height, general intelligence and a willingness to go to the art museum and drink wine.  (I swear, I really am going to find a new hobby one of these days.)

But how I want to love?

And how I want to be loved?

I’d never considered those things.

I have now—and the answers are written in a little yellow notebook that serves as my actual journal (yes, believe it or not, I don’t post everything I think on the internet).

But I’m still curious about the notion of lists in general.

Are they helpful?

Or hurtful?

Do they legitimize our oft-ridiculous expectations or do they help up process?

Do they set us up for disappointment or do they help us remain true to ourselves?

I honestly don’t know anymore…

5 Responses to “Here a List, There a List…”

  1. Landlord

    “To do” lists get things done, although they do impose a certain amount of nagging thoughts/guilt, etc. But I find them helpful, but these are not “emotional” lists. “Emotional” lists help me to get my thoughts down clearly, even if I don’t ever look at them again, it is part of the process of whatever I’m going through at the moment.

    • Zak

      Agreed on the “emotional” lists. I often sort things into lists, which help me organize thoughts, determine what’s needed, what steps I’ve already taken, or take an account of what I’ve given, spent or been through.

      As for an emotional list I found helpful: when I got divorced, I found – somewhere, can’t remember now – a site with some of the best advice ever. It said create a list of “things that attracted me to (name goes here),” “things I never liked,” and “deal breakers.” Although I haven’t needed to look at it in the last year or so – it was years before I could truly not think about it – when I do look at the list, I’m able to remind myself of why things didn’t work out, and what I want differently, rather than remembering the good things and pining for a relationship not meant to last. In case you want, I’ve already sent you a copy 🙂

      • Kat Richter

        That sounds awesome, frankly. I was just gonna ask you for the link but just found it in my inbox– you’re the best! Thanks 🙂

  2. omtatjuan

    Ask and you shall find… That person who will help you feel whole… Lists sometimes are too confining..

  3. Laurie

    I love lists, and so do many poets and authors. Consider some of the amazing list poems that have been written, including Walt Whitman’s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry (all the things you can see from the ferry) and The Argument of His Book by Robert Herrick (everything he hopes to sing and write about). There is an adorable book called Falling Down the Page, edited by Georgia Heard: a collection of list poems for kids (you can browse it on amazon). This past week a student of mine celebrated her 13th birthday by writing two list poems: 13 Things I Would Do If I Were Apollo, and 13 Stories From When I Was Young. As for how to love and be loved… perhaps the most important list ever!


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