Voice Over - Physician Heal Thyself
This week I am making lists. I am probably spending more time making lists than I am in accomplishing anything on said lists. Do you do this? Are you one of those List People? You know you’re a list person if you ever find yourself adding something to a list that you have already done just for the pleasure of crossing it off. Real List People experience lists in a compulsive, obsessive way. It’s not real if its not on the list. If the list isn’t complete, you can’t actually start work. If the list runs to multiple pages, you have to read all of them before proceeding. And when stress strikes, the lists get longer, more detailed, more granular.
List People suck. We really do. We’ve got to be super frustrating to everyone who works with us. Do a thing for you? Sure. Just let me put it on my list first. Meeting today? Absolutely. Here’s my list of what we should talk about. Grocery shop on the way home? I can’t. I haven’t made the shopping list yet. Oh you didn’t do this thing for me? You thought I would forget your commitment? I put it on the You Said You Would DO This Thing You Moron List so … you know. Did you do it? So I can cross it off?
I know I’ve tipped over when I start making lists of my lists. I have a list for Europe that is a list of all the lists of things that I need to do before we leave. There is the van list and the house list, the paperwork list and the financials list. Oh you think this second order list listing is bad? The Europe List has a Handover At Work List which is a list of lists each representing a person, project or responsibility. I may be losing my mind. Or not. Maybe I’m not so much losing it as pulling it in thin gooey white strands out of my temple à la Dumbledore and the Pensieve. I drop them item by item into a big swirly blue bowl, stir them with a magic wand, and >poof< my panic ebbs.
Because that’s what all this list making is about. It’s a more or less OCD response to change, a method to pull into my circle of control the chaos of my life, line it all up in nice neat rows, and CTFD. One of my absolute ‘tells’ for stress and change is the length, breadth, detail and multiple levels of my lists along with my twitchy behaviour checking, rechecking and re-rechecking to make sure I have captured every detail and nuance.
It’s fair for you to now diagnose me as going through a big dramatic and emotionally challenging change… my lists are now lists of lists. Three levels, people; I am clearly starting to flip out. Why? Because in addition to being a List Person, I am also a Nester. I like to Nest. I like to have a nest. I like to line my nest. I like my nest to stay in one damn place without moving (boat life was challenging). I like people not in my nest to stay out of my nest, I like the little birds who belong in my nest to keep their noisy little beaks shut particularly in the evenings when I’m trying to get my stomach around several ounces of red wine… but I equally want those little birds to be exactly where I put them down and not in some other place like Wellington or the United States or godz knows where. When my nest is in imminent danger of getting stirred up, packed in a box and shipped out, I turn into a complete nut job.
This isn’t the first time. Ask the family. I was a colossal pain in the ass the last time we moved – from Devonport to Narrow Neck a whole .7 kilometers. Before that it was the boat to Devonport. Mexico to New Zealand. Seattle to Mexico. Back and back and back all the way to leaving Berkeley to be with my sexy new boyfriend in Washington DC some years ago. I still distinctly remember sitting in the middle of my empty apartment, surrounded in boxes and a shredded to-do list crying hysterically the day before my flight.
The dirty little secret is that I hate change. I hate changing my own personal little world most of all. No matter how many times I do it, I hate it. So the closer we get to the flight the Europe, the more you’re going to start to see the real Toast stripped of all resiliency and mojo and savour faire. I’m going to completely and utterly lose my shit over the course of the next 16 weeks.
“Deep in the human unconcious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.” ~ Frank Herbert