List-of-lists

Last week a friend shared a list “The Greatest Books of All Time” voted by 125 famous authors (http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/01/the-greatest-books-of-all-time-as-voted-by-125-famous-authors/252209/), but at the same time mentioned we were all probably fed up of lists.

I started to think about lists and asked myself whether I was fed up with them and the answer was no I wasn’t and if anything not only do I like making lists I like reading them too. I don’t write lists for every single thing, especially things where I know I would benefit from a list such as a good old sensible “shopping list” which would mean I wouldn’t run out of essential items but I do use a “to do list” at work to make sure I don’t forget anything that is asked of me. I also write lists for goals that I want to achieve, I have also been known to write a list of Pros and Cons of staying in a situation or not. I always find seeing a certain situation in black and white helps me put things into perspective and usually the list is top heavy on one side so helps me with any decision making.

There are of course the items that always permanently feature on my “to do list” and in no particular order which are Ironing, Filing and the dreaded Tax Return. As you can probably imagine these items are my least favourite and only get ticked off when the deadline is looming. For example, if I have run out of clothes to wear I have no choice but to do the ironing, or I cannot find the MOT certificate for my car then I know its time to do the filing.

As Christmas approaches which is a busy time for anyone, there are more lists being written than ever. I believe making lists puts some kind of order into our lives and allows us to focus our minds, especially at this busy time of year when there is so much to be done. There’s the Christmas card and present list, after all we wouldn’t want to forget someone, young children are carefully crafting their Christmas lists and sending letters to Father Christmas. List making can be fun.

Any internet search will reveal many lists, such as 101 ways to do this or that. 100 films to see; 100 books to read, 100 things to do before you die and I wonder why we like to see things listed.

Another thought about lists is it’s a way of capturing and recording facts and events for the future, so they live on. Rather interestingly, Umberto Eco (novelist and philosopher) who once curated an exhibition at the Louvre about lists told Der Spiegal “How, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries. … It’s a way of escaping thoughts about death. We like lists because we don’t want to die,” Eco says.

I can understand why we have a need to catalog some events and collections but for me the reason I make lists is because I am trying to create some order into my life and to make sure I don’t forget anything.

Are you a list keeper? Do they help keep your life in order or are you one of the lucky people that can keep everything in their heads? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Wishing all my lovely readers a week filled with love and happiness and Christmas Angels that are beginning to appear at the top of Christmas trees.

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