Everyone Loves a List

There are lots of reasons to love a list.  Lists dominate the newsstands:  “10 Ways to Cook Chicken,”  “10 Best Movies of the Year,”  and “5 Ways to Get the Sleep You Deserve.”  Why are they so compelling?  Lists dominate my life in a way they never did in my younger, less organized and more spontaneous days.  I make lists to remember what to do the next day, what I want to talk to my husband about and what chores the kids need to do while I am at work.  It’s not sexy, but it works.  Oh wait, I forgot about the “Top 20 Ways to be Sexy.”

The allure of lists are many.  One reason is that they are finite.  Lists don’t say, “this list won’t cure all your problems.”  They say:  Do these 10 things and THEN things will calm down.  THEN you can take a breath.  THEN you can relax.  Only 10 things?  Well, any idiot can do 10 things, right?  Right?

For me, I always check a list to see how many things on that list that I am actually doing.  In “Top Ten Anti-agers,” I go through and say yes, I moisturize, yes, I stay out of the sun.  But hmm, no I do not do peels every 6 months.  Better go find another list!

Lists make us think that the answers are simple.  That if some ideas can be numbered, then they have been funneled down to their essence and thereby completely easy to master.  5 Ways to Make the World a Better Place?  Done!

Crossing things off a list is one of my biggest thrills.  I know, sad isn’t it?  But crossing something off a list, a sense of accomplishment is one of the few ways I can feel satisfied and safe in a world that also includes random shootings, natural disasters and the Kardashians.

I think I just made a list about lists.  Now I am going to make a list about how to make an awesome list.  You’re welcome.


8 thoughts on “Everyone Loves a List

  1. Oh my god, finally someone else who thinks crossing things off lists is exciting. It gives me validation but for some reason, I can’t feel finished until I cross the things off. I think lists are just a concise way to relay a certain message. I love Buzzfeed’s lists. Overall I wanted to say I like your blog and the name is just phenomenal. I will definitely be checking out Writing 101 and poetry. I’m a sucker for a good poem!


  2. I don’t think I can actually do anything if it’s not written on a list somewhere. I especially enjoy finding lists I made a long time ago of the big TO-DO’s, like painting the house, and realizing that I did some of them. And I’m sure the only reason it got done is because I wrote it on a list.


  3. Confession: I will add things to a list AFTER I did them, just so I can cross them off.

    I know, sick. SMH

    I also like finding old lists. I can immediately remember when the list was made. Well, usually. Unless I made another list to replace it.


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