Todo Lists Are Great! Except When They're Not.

Life goes by pretty quick. Some days before I know it, it is lunchtime, and then I look at the clock, in what feels like only an hour later, and it reads 9pm. I don’t know where the time is going, and I don’t know how to get everything done. Since I am an Android user, one of my favorite apps lately has been Google Keep. It is a great way for my husband and I to keep track of things that we need to do, and need to get at stores. So in a way, it is an extension of communication between us. It is also a place where we have listed our short, and long term goals. There are many ‘todo’ apps available for every cell phone platform. I find that they come in quite handy at times, but do have their drawbacks.

Tonight, I was going to start creating a list of things to do this weekend, but I got overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we have listed already. “Fix the house” list, “Clean the house” list, “Grocery” list, etc. I don't know how it is possible to get everything done in one day; let alone try to live life to the fullest without being overwhelmed with what is in front of you. This is where a task list, cell phone app or not, can become a burden more than a help.

Lately, several of my patients have been talking with me about how their lives have become living from one task to another. Their self worth is caught up in this task living, and thus if they fail at one task then the rest of the day goes downhill. They are unable to separate tasks from each other, and more importantly they are not able to separate tasks from living. As a Naturopathic Doctor, one of my favorite questions to ask my patients is what brings you joy, or sometimes I ask what makes you giggle down to your soul? At first I was amazed by the looks on my patients faces after I asked them these questions as most of them looked like a deer in the headlights. They had no issues telling me all of their health issues/concerns, however, when it came to this question they fumbled all over themselves. I have had several patients get the deer in the headlights look from me based on their responses. Especially when they are flat out honest saying “I don’t know,” or “I have not felt joy, or laughed in a very long time.” In so many words.

What is the purpose of our lives (not the meaning of course…)? Is it to complete a never ending checklist? Or is it to find the joy, laughter, and love of the everyday? I am going to find a way to remind myself that the tasks will come and go, but the laughter, the joy and the memories will last a life time. If you have any wonderful ways that you have been able to remind yourself about the bigger purpose in life then please share in the comments below. I will leave you with a quote from John Green: “One day, you’re 17 and you’re planning for someday. And then quietly, without you even really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.”