Monday, February 11, 2013

To Do

I'm a List Guy. Also known as a Big Time Planner. More so than you can probably imagine. On top of a regularly updated and cleared out To Do list, which I know is fairly common, I also keep a list for every source of entertainment I'm invested in: To Watch (Movies & TV), To Read (Books & Comics), To Listen To (Music & Podcasts), and of course, To Play. Way back in 2008 when I first started this blog I showed off my original To Play list that helped comfort me through my year off from video games. I'm sure I'll always have a To Play list, simply because games are just the most time consuming form of media there is, and I'll probably never be able to get around to enjoying all of them. But oh, how a man can dream.

I also maintain a list of Places To Visit, of things 'To Write,' of karaoke songs I can't wait To Sing, and something I have taken to calling "Scatterbrained Ideas" (which hopefully will graduate at some point to the "To Write" list). One day I made a 'Double Dates' list, because I got excited by the prospect of going on them with every one of my coupled friends. Technically 'list' is a bit of a misnomer, since it was actually a spreadsheet with suggested activities and topics for discussion for every pairing. I don't mess around you guys.

While getting through an item on one of my lists always comes with that rewarding sense of accomplishment or enjoyment, I realize now that I also take pleasure in the creation of these many lists of ideas, events and consumables. Not necessarily for the sake of getting to everything (though I'll certainly try - I actually could probably make a pretty huge dent with just a few years of unemployment) but more as an ever-expanding collection of what I potentially have to look forward to. It's satisfying in a way I can't totally explain. I imagine it has something to do with the feeling (illusion?) of having control over my life, along with what I'll label as 'enjoyment of the hypothetical.' Or maybe I'm just subconsciously a believer in The Secret, and I think whatever goes on one of my lists I must be willing into existence. Though if that last part were true, my list of "Women I'm Sure Will Want To Have Sex With Me" would't have gotten me into nearly as many awful situations as it has.

Here's a crazy but totally real example of what I'm talking about: as much as I love occasionally impulse shopping on Amazon, I can pretty much get that same giddy feeling by adding whatever I'm interested in to my Amazon Wish List, without any of the guilt and zero expense. Knowing that I can have that thing someday (if I ever really want it) totally scratches that "I want something new!" itch. And while planning something like a trip to Hawaii may not seem to be as exciting as actually going on the trip itself, fantasizing for months in advance about recreating all six seasons of Lost with my friends while I would be out there (something I sadly never got around to) is very much its own separate, worthwhile pleasure.

This whole blog post has been an extremely long winded way of saying this: the best laid plans of mice and men may oft go astray, but Matt Shafeek's many many plans are gonna work out pretty well for him one way or another.

I hope you've enjoyed what this semi-cocky little stream of consciousness. Hey, I got years of self-deprecation under my belt, so I figured I could get away with this. One final thought - I've heard it said that apparently 'life is what happens while you're making other plans.' Well, guess what? I'm pretty much always making other plans, so I guess it's safe to say I'm living the fuck outta life right now, one additional list item at a time.




Rolando Garcia said...

Have you considered this: if you get the same pleasure from putting something on your list as you imagine you'd get from doing it, then you may have less motivation to actually accomplish any of them. Even worse, couldn't you find out you've been living your dreams vicariously through lists instead of actually living them?

Matt Shafeek said...

You're right, this is a risk, and studies have shown this to be the case. I think it had to do with announcing your intention to accomplish a goal to others, but you get the idea.

I don't think creative goals like "make a game," or "write a story," actually give me all that much satisfaction when written down on a list, unlike the things I mentioned in the post, like impulsive buying and trip planning. I've never not followed up on a strong impulse for a creative idea, and even though some things fall by the wayside (like anything else), I'm always actively working on something on that particular list.

Hope that makes sense. Thanks for reading.