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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Things to do in New York City


I hope that those of you who read this don't find my title too misleading. Titles are hard for me.

I had a difficult time coming up with the title for my blog because I knew that - for a while at least - I'd be writing about a number of unrelated topics. I thought I would be writing and posting a new blog every two to three days, and couldn't imagine any one topic that I would want to write about that frequently. However, I also knew there were matters that hold a certain fascination for me, and I would write about them.

I chose "truth to tell," because I tend to examine and analyze myself in my writing and I wanted my readers to know I would try and be as honest as possible in those revelations about myself. And I chose "reviews" because I read a good book most days, or an interesting article, and I love to think about what I read, so I thought I might be doing a lot of book reviewing. (Not a single book review in two months! Who knew.) At my most desperate, even if I couldn't think of anything in my life to write about, or say a single intelligent or discerning word about the latest book I read or movie I saw, at least, I figured, I'd be able to write about New York City, where there is always something interesting to do or see. My opinions about New York's sights and sounds, people and politics could be called reviews, right? But I haven't been posting that much. It's harder than I thought it would be.

The subjects that interest me range from books to movies and plays, to child advocacy (my avocation), to daily life, including dieting, exercise, shopping, laundry and other chores, to relationships (between friends and family more than lovers), to politics, to money, to travel, to writing. I swear I could write about any of these subjects every single day. A new thought occurs to me, or an old thought recurs, on an hourly basis and I'm constantly formulating and revising my many theories. Whether anyone else will share my unending curiosity about these matters is the question. Time, I guess, will tell the tale.

Today my topic is To-Do Lists. I am an inveterate list maker, from shopping lists to my daily calendar to my ongoing short term and long term lists of everything from books I plan to read to renovating and repairing my home. The problem with compiling these lists is that instead of making me more efficient, my to-do lists only make me anxious, primarily because I am terrible at prioritizing. For example, I've been known to spend hours updating and revising my lists of things to do, rather than actually completing, or even starting to do any of the items on any of the lists.

My only consolation: crossing items off the lists is so very very satisfying.

Today, I think I had a breakthough. I realized that I can't stand having the same to-do list day after day. On October 10, 2010, I wrote in my calendar:


Continue writing chapter five of LIGHT IN MOTION
Finish laundry
Write a new blog post
Water plants
Weed garden
Work on Oct budget (pay bills-household/personal)
Sign up for Continuing Legal Education classes Oct/Nov
JOB APPLICATIONS (revise resumes, write cover letters)

Not only is this the most boring to-do list in the universe, but it is also 1) an exact replication of yesterday's list and 2) almost exactly the same list as the one I wrote last Sunday, and the Saturday before that and the one from Friday, the 10th of September, and...but I won't go on. You get the picture, right?

Alright, so my big revelation is not exactly earthshattering news. The thing I hate most about to-do lists is also the thing I hate most about doing stuff...repetition. I will be doing laundry, and weeding the garden, and taking continuing legal ed. classes and paying bills forever and ever and ever. It will never end. And most of it is boring.

I have mentioned my disgust with this situation to more than a few friends over the years, and they agree, but not one has come up with a solution to the problem. Thanks, Guys. (To tell you the truth, I don't think they are really trying.)

And, of course, Mom - who has had to listen to me whine ceaselessly year after year since I learned to talk - says A) that's life, B) you want to wear clean clothes don't you? C) but isn't the garden pretty, and didn't you enjoy the tomatoes this summer, D) I warned you that being a lawyer is no fun, and E) I don't know why no one's hired you yet, you're such a brilliant, creative, fabulous person, it's a complete mystery to me, but I'm sure you'll find the perfect position some time soon and would you like a cup of tea? (So her advice is basically, "Suck it up, kid!" but is at least tempered by her support and encouragement.) Thanks Mom.

Amazingly enough, while I was writing this blog, I think that I finally figured out why I make my to-do lists, despite the obvious pain and suffering that is caused by this destructive habit. It's not an addiction, it's a coping mechanism. As I look down at each clean, fresh, blank page to create or revise a list, there is a moment, a nanosecond, when I am vaguely aware that this may be the one -- there is an infinitesimal, one-in-a-million, completely unlikely, just-barely-there chance -- that today it will be different. This list, or perhaps one of the items on this list, will fill my soul with hope and joy and a deep and abiding belief in the wondrous future that awaits me. Today may be the day that I finally finish doing the laundry. Forever.