This has been a major revelation for me. That list of things to do in our heads? We will die with it. Hopefully, we won’t die for a very long time and when we do, the list will look very different to the one that exists now but we will still die with an unfinished list in our heads. Scary shit, isn’t it?
It’s not uncommon for us busy creatures to have many things on the go at any one time, and still have a backlog of jobs to complete. Housework, paperwork, unreturned emails. The car needs servicing. Teeth are due to be cleaned and checked. I must get around to reading the Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath. I should peel that expired parking permit sticker off the car. Must buy so-and-so’s birthday present. And a card. Should change the bed sheets. Haven’t got this month’s Frankie magazine yet. Must head into Medicare soon and get that rebate. If you’re anything like me and you write actual to do lists, that’s all well and good. Until you catch yourself adding, ‘Must write to do list’ to your mental to do list.
A while ago, I had planned a near perfect weekend. Friday night and Saturday were going to be my social/chores days. I saw people and I got stuff done. Lots of stuff. I went to bed on Saturday happy. The next morning, I woke to my specially prepared ‘quiet day’. Reading, writing, catching up on TV shows on iView. I had been looking forward to my Sunday all week. I woke up late on Sunday and staying in bed, read the final beautiful pages of my book. I then picked up another and launched straight in. And that was the precise moment the guilt kicked in. This is too indulgent. There is so much other stuff I should be doing. And at the top of the list? Consolidating my Super.
That’s right. At the age of 27, the thing that sits at the top of my to do list is to consolidate my Super. In my defence, I have been meaning to do this for a while, about ten months in fact. And they keep reminding you that you’re paying unnecessary fees. I have three accounts. That’s three lots of fees! So it has been bugging me. But, what a ridiculous thing to be spoiling my perfect Sunday!
Someone very wise told me about the never-ending list secret. I call it a secret because I honestly believe many people aren’t aware of this. We think we have to get through it in order to be able to enjoy ourselves, to sleep easy, or to move on to the next thing. But life’s to do list doesn’t work that way. You get through what you think is the entire list and then someone turns the effing page and you discover the list goes onto page 2, and 3, and you get the picture.
We tell ourselves, I’ll just do one more thing. It’ll only take fifteen minutes. But a lot of fifteen minutes add up to a long time. And as we all know, one thing will lead to another... if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, it leads to another five.
So, I’m teaching myself to be ok with an unfinished list. It’s not always easy, but I’m trying. In fact, it goes completely against my nature. And even as I write this, it’s killing me that I STILL haven’t gotten around to doing something about the three Super accounts. What are the implications of dying with that still on the list?