The Other 99%


Just one more thing. I'll get to it tomorrow.

Just one more thing on the list. I’ll totally get to it tomorrow.

The other day I made myself a To Do list.

That, in and of itself, isn’t notable: I make To Do lists all the time. (ALL the time.) I make To Do lists as a sort of framework for my day- reminders of things that need doing, tasks that need to be put in order, and a way of measuring progress throughout the day. This isn’t the kind of To Do list that you ever finish, it’s the kind of To Do list that you measure your progress in percentages. A day when I cross off seventy-five percent of  my to do list is a pretty good day.

But the other day, Friday, I crossed off ninety-nine percent of my to do list. There was literally one thing that I didn’t complete (it was bookkeeping related- I did work on it, I just didn’t complete it.)

You might wonder, if I was so close to crossing every single thing off my To Do list, why didn’t I just push to finish the last item? That is what I found myself wondering, anyway. Partly it just got late and it was the night before a big day of production and I didn’t want to stay up late over a To Do list and risk being a gorgon in the morning. Partly I think it might have been a strange, superstitious fear that finishing the To Do list would be bad luck: that leaving one item unfinished assures me that I’ll have to come back tomorrow and keep trying.

It made me realize two things: first of all that I’m not very good at finishing things, and second of all that I seem to not-finish on purpose. The first realization wasn’t a surprise, but the second one was. I always thought that I didn’t finish things because I ran out of time. Or money. Or sometimes interest. In general I feel pretty proud of the things that I do finish, but they very quickly fall off into the past like light falling off into darkness and I have to find something new to keep me going.

I’m not sure what this says about my personality. Although it sounds rather unprofessional and lazy of me I’m not sure that it’s a bad thing: after all, they say that you never really finish a film  (or work of art), you just abandon it. Maybe there are some things that are never meant to be finished, just ended, and maybe learning where to draw the line is just as important as running until you cross it.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on March 9, 2014.

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