I believe that not all items in a to-do list are created equal. They LOOK the same, standing (or lying?) in a row (stack?) with no color coding to indicate qualitative differences (unless, like me, you picked up one of those 5-color pens from a corner store, which apparently sources them from our collective childhoods), but some of them tend to get picked off the list relatively quickly while others can linger for days, months, or even years (Hi, Jan Hall’s un-replied-to email from 2014! You’re still marked “unread” in my inbox).
What’s the difference? Why are some tasks easy to cross off, while other, seemingly simple tasks can stay on the list for LITERAL DECADES (I’m looking at you, “the gym”) without managing to get did’d?
I suppose there could be various reasons, but for me and MY list, we will follow the (no no no, wrong thing) but for me and MY list, there’s one current item whose reason of resistfulness has only just now revealed itself to me:
The things we “think” we should do but do NOT do are those things that do not fit into the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. To do a thing that contradicts our identity is to, uh, contradict our identity, which is, uh, hard? Man, this is getting dumb.
ANYWAY, the SPECIFIC reason for all this COWFECES GENERALIZING is that the thing I’ve been supposed to be doing for THREE DAYS now is Part the Third from last time: clean out my apartment and get ready to move. It’s the only Part I didn’t get done that day, and it didn’t get done yesterday, and it’s threatening to not get done today, unless…
(Wait wait wait, I need to explain some more before I finish that sentence, so let’s put that train of thought on pause and parenth for a bit, ‘k?
(In order for “Get ready to move from Hangzhou to Shanghai” to be a necessary thing, I must believe that 1: I live in Hangzhou, and 2: I’m about to move to Shanghai.
(You might think that #1 is easy, but it’s not. That’s because belief is more than just the absence of disbelief. I see nothing to disprove the proposition that I live in Hangzhou, but it’s still kind of hard to stomach. Really? Hangzhou? Why? This far out in the boonies? Who is out there? Nobody? Where’s your office? Nowhere? Can anyone out there vouch for your existence? How many neighbors can you name? How many neighbors can name you? NONE of it makes sense, and it’s kind of making it hard for me, even as I sit in my living room, to convince myself that I am sitting in MY living room, and that I therefore must take responsibility for this whole WTF I roped myself into out here for all of 2017.
(#2 is equally difficult to congeal into a solid belief. I’m going there for a project that hasn’t really even gotten off the ground yet, and intend to support myself for the majority of next year through similar freelancing to what I’m doing now, only more of it, somehow. It’s all very… nebulous.
(Also, it’s COLD and houses don’t have heaters here because, and I’m not kidding you, southerners just believe that “it never gets cold here” so to put a heater in a house would contradict their BLATANTLY FALSE BELIEFS I MEAN FOR THE LOVE OF GORB THERE IS SNOW ON THE GROUND LOOK AT YOURSELVES DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT ANYTHING IS
(…and the point of that observation is that the cold kind of forces my higher reasoning into hibernation from time to time, so belief of any sort requires more resources and warm White Russians, which, I don’t know if that’s a thing everywhere, but they certainly are in THIS house which… hey, whose house IS this?
(So all this parenthing is to explain that the reason I’m having trouble forcing myself to pack is the place I am, the place I’m going, and the reason for doing so are all equally beyond belief that until I can trick myself into believing them, the act of packing will feel too pointless to force myself into doing.
(And with that out of the way, we can now resume the original train of thought in three, two, one…)
…I can BLOG myself into believing BELIEVING the story about myself in which I REALLY AM MOVING TO SHANGHAI using the power of WORDS, preferably spelled out with CAPITAL LETTERS for HEIGHTENED EMPHASIS that may or not bring about AN ENHANCED IMPRESSION OF CREDIBILITY.
I’m now going to turn on some “Holy F*cking Science” episodes, stand up, and get started on adding the second sentence onto Descartes’ famous “I think, therefore I am:”
“I believe, therefore I move.”
(I’d say “Wish me luck!” but I DON’T BELIEVE IN LUCK I DON’T BELIEVE IN ANYTHING WHO AM I WHY IS IT SO COLD OH FOR THE LOVE OF GORB IT’S SO COLD LOOK AT THE WATER IT’S ALL DEAD ALL THE WATER IS JUST LYING ON THE GROUND DEAD WHAT WILL BECOME OF US see you in Shanghai.)