Friday, 13 September 2013

ticking boxes

I am in a frenzied yet ever-so-efficient ticking boxes place. I have deftly micro-managed my impending move across the river within an inch of its conceptual life. And nothing, apart from contracting dengue fever, will get in the way of me executing my segue into northside life with military precision. I have adopted a slightly crazed and frenetic look just so that people understand that I’m really taking on some big first-world problems here. And yes, it really does matter that the power and the Internet are on when I move in. Absolutely.

It doesn't matter at all.  But I am who I am. A box-ticker. A to do-lister. A desperado for being in control. And there are a lot of us out there. As well as a lot of ticking boxes to do list wannabes if you go by the amount of helpful websites and apps that respectively advise on the best approach or do it for you, complete with time estimates, due dates and text reminders.

But are all these long lists of things to get done and the anxiety which seems to accompany the achievement of this task some sort of twentieth and twenty first century creation. Why are the majority of us so busy that we need to make lists which include such things as (and I saw this on a website which gave examples of ‘real to-do lists’, so it must be true):

happy hour
attend church
walk to farmers market
pick up kids at their mother’s for road trip to Idaho
dinner with husband to celebrate my birthday

The above are from a couple of different to do list case studies. Are we really so busy nowadays that we need to go down the track of ‘note to self…in the event that I forget that I have children and that they are coming with me and I’m halfway to Idaho before I realise I was supposed to pick them up…I’ll put it on the list.’ Or ‘perish the thought I miss out on cheap drinks between 5 and 6 o’clock on Friday because I’m so busy trying to remember that I am attending church on Sunday morning’…and yes, those two were from the same person’s list.

Am I being harsh? Yes. And I’m sorry about that. Hypocritical? Undoubtedly. But I am fairly certain that I have never listed ‘get to the end of the week and really enjoy a drink’ on any list. Or ‘breathe’. Although perhaps some days I should make a note of that.

I just wonder if perhaps this need to list and tick is akin to the status updating and hash tags of the previous entry; a need to affirm our existence and our first world progress through life. We don’t have to fight for our survival or our right to proper medical care. We don’t have to wonder where the next meal is coming from. But in some ways we are just as unable to control our environment and the course our lives take as any fragile human being. And perhaps the lists help.

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