• David Unger, PhD

"To do" Lists



Some days I wake up and lying in bed I start to think about the day’s To Do List. Some days thinking about that list makes me happy, other days weary and other days I would just as soon skip the day entirely. As I grow older the list seems to grow longer.


I must have a romanticized memory that makes it seem that there used to be less dread. Although when I take a moment to reflect I can recall being in 7th grade and not at all looking forward to my French class or having to explain to my History teacher why my paper had not been handed in the day before. I guess our To Do lists age with us and perhaps it is all relative. My fear that Madame Duchamps would have me recite something I could not pronounce has been replaced by my fear that I am going to have to denote an hour to sitting on hold while I try to get to customer service.


A few years back I started to hear myself say things like: “I have to go the bank” or “I have to make an appointment to see the dentist”. While these statements were seemingly true they were not the truth. I did not have to go to the bank nor did I have to make an appointment to see the dentist. If I really didn’t want to do those things I did not have to. They were choices I was making. But they were more than that. They were things I got to do. Not had to do.


Very few of us look forward to going to the dentist. Even if it is to get our teeth cleaned we still don’t eagerly count the days until our next visit. We go because we know it is better than not going. It is called preventative medicine. We are taking care of ourselves. And we don’t have to do that. We choose to do that. And more importantly, we get to do that.


Not everyone gets to go the market, the dentist, or sit in traffic or spend an hour waiting on hold. While I don’t think most of us would consider ourselves lucky to do these things, I imagine when we no longer are able to do many of these tasks, we may very well wish we could do them. We take so much for granted. We get spoiled quickly and we tend to want what we want when we want it. Such is the story for many of us raised in America. With health care costs increasingly getting out of hand people cut back on visits to the Doctor or Dentist. Standing in line at the market is something many people would wish they could do.


So, when we moan and grumble about what we have to do, let us take a moment now and then to remind ourselves that we are fortunate to get to do these things.

#relationships #todolists

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