Written by Abi Humber Tuesday, 09 August 2011 15:37
For those who regularly read my column, or know me well in real life, the following information will not come as a surprise: I am a little bit insane.
I suppose I’m not much crazier than the typical almost-20-something, but when my mind gets incredibly full of billions of thoughts and I haven’t been able to properly process them all, things get weird.
This is usually when I grab a friend and say, “Hi. I really need to talk through my life right now. Will you sit silently for 40 minutes while I blabber on and on?”
Most times, that verbal vomit does the trick, and I’m back to “normal” in no time.
But sometimes a listening human isn’t available and I have to implement a different brain-normalizing strategy. People have been telling me for years that I should just start journaling. I know, I know!
Sometimes I try to journal, but normally there are too many thoughts swimming around my mind to write them out. As soon as my pen hits the paper, my brain thinks it has permission to engage its turbo-thinking chamber, and all of a sudden I feel like I’m on speed and still can’t pinpoint a single thought.
I turn into a crazed perfectionist, wanting to include every detail of every story, often springing onto tangents that I also feel the need to explain in excruciating detail.
Before I know it, an hour has passed and I’ve barely begun to process my current situation. Journaling becomes counter-productive because I have too many words. It’s so annoying.
My frustration with my sped-up mind led me to discover list-making. I’m not sure I can adequately express my obsession with lists, so I will suffice it to say that I love them equally as much as I love baby animals.
Listmaking forces me to simplify my whirlpool of thoughts into itemized lists, which helps everything seem less overwhelming. If I were just sitting on my bed and thinking of all the things I had to do for the day, I would get super stressed out and anxious.
When I write a list of those tasks, they feel less daunting. I can take control of my schedule and focus on completing one thing at a time.
Listmaking isn’t just a stress-relieving tactic, though. As nerdy as it sounds, it’s also one of my favorite fun things to do. I love making Top 5, Top 10 or Top 25 lists and sharing them with my other list-loving friends.
Learning other people’s listography is an interesting way to get to know them, so I will leave you a small list of my favorite lists.
Remember, the beauty of lists is that they don’t have to be complete, totally thought out, or in perfect order. They can change as often as your preferences do!
Here is a snapshot of some of my current lists:
• Three of my all-time favorite songs, by local artists:
1. “Faith and Doubt” by Aaron Espe.
2. “Winter” by Noah Gundersen.
3. “All Those Pretty Lights” (live) by Andrew Belle.
• Some things I want to be better at:
1. Writing letters to far-away people I care about.
2. Spending my money on more experiences, fewer “things.”
• A few of my pet peeves:
1. The sound of cellophane being touched.
2. Sudden loud noises.
3. Being tickled when I’m mad.
4. Story-toppers (one-uppers)
• Two of my favorite quotes:
1. “Wherever love is, I want to be. I will follow it as surely as the land-locked salmon finds the sea.” —Jeanette Winteron
2. “I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded. Not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.” —“The Kite Runner”