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.