I’m pretty sure at least some of you recognise my friend: the To Do List. Naturally before Christmas I compile one, and it’s a thing of beauty. It has time segments and cross referencing and dependencies and contingencies. Names are allocated to jobs. Tasks may be crossed out vigorously when completed or hesitantly drawn through if not quite up to standard. Often they are annotated as a cascade of sub-tasks becomes necessary.
The Christmas List (and to be fair it’s really also a New Year and Beyond List) seems to realise a life of its very own. It sulks when I don’t give it my full attention. It nestles in my lap purring as I type frantically at the keyboard ordering from the supermarket or the gift retailers who are going to make Christmas achievable for me this year. To be honest I think it’s a cat in disguise. I can sometimes feel its claws as it pads round in a circle on my thighs, finding just the most inconvenient spot to rest, like on top of the keyboard. I don’t have a cat any more since I developed an allergy so it fills a niche.
Today was a good day though. Today I completed all the time-critical essentials. As I typed the final question for the Village Quiz on Friday I felt the weight lift from my shoulders. The list hissed a little as I crossed off the last item in the MUST DO category. (Did I mention categories? I have those too.)
I gave it a severe look.
“Now then, little list,” I admonished (for it was indeed much smaller than previously). “You and I have made a great team over the past month or so. Don’t spoil it now. I’d like to remember this as a successful venture. Who knows what we’ll get up to next year?”
The list sulked a bit and pouted.
“You still have to phone your friend about that visit, and finish the knitting for the imminent arrival of Baby A. Don’t think you can ignore me.”
“Look, list,” I said. “I know I have to do those things. But they are not as time critical as all that. I can leave them until tomorrow. The baby isn’t due for a couple of weeks, and I have almost finished. Plus the visit isn’t until April!”
“Tomorrow,” the list sneered. “Oh yes, good idea. Leave them until tomorrow. Don’t come crying to me when you are up against the clock.”
My lists tend to the sarcastic; I simply cannot imagine where they get it from.
So that’s what I am going to do: leave things until tomorrow. This afternoon I have sat around watching bad TV and playing games on my phone. Now I have enjoyed a restorative cup of tea and slice of Christmas cake (thanks to the list it was a beauty this year – plenty of topping up throughout November and December made it moist and slightly more alcoholic than is good for me.). The natural progression is to have a little natter with you before I do in fact concede and pick up the list again. After all, we are friends. We have just had a minor disagreement about priorities today.
Tomorrow, as the list observed, I have much to do. But as Scarlett O’Hara would say, “Tomorrow is another day.” We can begin each day afresh.