The Art of Everyday Life
Making lists is therapeutic. It cleanses ones soul and mind. Be it for something constructive or something completely pointless, be it New Year’s Resolutions or not, it makes one feel organised and even alive.
There’s this whole culture based upon this ritual. One may write a to do list for the day, a shopping list, or even a bucket list. People constantly buy notepads, notebooks, pencils and pens. There’s the fancy ones the classic “use me and we’re done”, and there are those which are too pretty to use. Each and every one of us has at least one of these.
I often find myself putting down things to do and planning my next day, knowing I will most surely never keep up with my own expectations of being responsible and productive. Much like Demetri Martin, I made lists and charts to improve my day to day life, and even myself. And it always fails, because our human nature gets in the way. We like to feel responsible, just for others to perceive us as responsible and put together. But we like the unexpected, we relish in the unknown. It scares and thrills us at the same time.
We categorise and organise and rearrange things in different orders, much like in bookshops, museums, galleries and libraries. We give things different importance and stack them one upon the other, based on god knows what reason we find most important that day.
Like Nick Hornby best portrayed this in his “High Fidelity”, we spend hours or even days doing this, in the hopes of being a better person to forget about ourselves, just to realise, after we’re done, that it makes absolutely no difference. And then it happens. Something about the just perfectly organised items is terribly wrong. And it bugs us, it stares at us at night. It haunts us. And then we start again.
But there’s something almost miraculous about this whole process. As I have said before, it does cleanse your mind, it cures your worries, it makes you feel alive. It’s a relaxing activity, after all the stress and chaos settles down and invades your pores. It oozes of mental activity and stamina. It makes you think, it makes you use your logic and practicality. And there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing a mess being organised. Seeing how the clutter is slowly put in order. It’s fascinating to see other people go through the same process, knowing how they feel and what it can mean. Seeing their eyes lighten up, their frowns turning upside down, and seeing how their soul is getting fixed.
It’s almost like a proper cup of tea, with milk, in the early evening, feeling the chill of the night creeping up on you. But that brings me to a different story, for a different time.