Feeling Listless? Get A List!

If you’re listless, get a list- any list.

There’s nothing like a series of mini events (or better mini events with sub lists) to energize me.

I have dozens of lists. Here are a few of the more interesting ones.

List to Become a Successful Old Person

The usual lineup for aging well are regular exercise, healthy diet, mental stimulation, and medical checkups. I’m on track for those.

My uncompleted to-do’s for this list are:

Become a Card Shark – Learn to play cards. Senior centers are flush with card tables and downtime. Poker would be my specialty. I might win a few bucks to treat my poker group to a happy hour gathering that has free appetizers.

Study Football – Become a football fan. Sitting in front of a big screen TV in the common area of an assisted living community watching Thursday night football, would be more interesting if I knew more about the game and players. Eventually I’d organize a Fantasy Football Team and run the Super Bowl pool. I might win a few bucks to treat my football-viewing group to a happy hour gathering that has free appetizers.

Post 24 Successful Old Person List
Cover the bunions instead of chopping them off.

Evaluate Shoes – Find a reliable, reasonably priced brand of comfortable, attractive flats. Old women have old feet. Pedicures, pumice stones, and expensive lotions created from sheep saliva, sloth placenta, or whatever exotic excretions claimed to exfoliate only go so far. Bunions have staying power. Chopping them off is one option. I’d rather cover them up. Locating an outlet or online store that carries fashionable flats would be a worthwhile task. I’d shop sales. Then I might have a few bucks to treat my shopping group to a happy hour gathering that has free appetizers.


List of Theories to Test:

I’m curious as to what influences people’s moods and behavior. I’ve casually observed the following and developed them into theories. Due to drawbacks, snags, and carryovers I haven’t formally tested them with variables and a control group.

Photo 24 Baseball Cap Theory
Baseball Cap Theory Premise: The more distant the travel destination emblazoned on the cap, the more strangers will approach you to ask about it.


Baseball Cap Theory – Wearing a baseball cap with a prominent symbol of a foreign country will induce strangers to approach you and ask about your travels. The more distant and remote the country, the more encounters you will have. (Tester drawback- the side effect of “cap hair” must be endured.)


Photo 24 Ping-Pong
Ping-Pong Theory Premise: Ping-Pong players’ moods improve the longer they play.



Ping-Pong Theory – Playing Ping-Pong will improve your mood. The rhythmic crisp sound of the Ping-Pong ball hitting the table, social interactions with your opponent, and physical exercise will raise ratings on the smile-o-meter. (Scientific snag – there is no smile-o-meter.)


Post 24 Vocabulary Infusion Theory
Vocabulary Infusion Theory Premise: Peppering the conversation with colorful, infrequently used words will induce the conversers to mirror the vocabulary.

Vocabulary Infusion Theory – Including colorful infrequently used words such as “skedaddle,” “fetching,” and “woebegone” into casual conversations will influence conversers to mirror the vocabulary. For instance during a conversation, I may say, that I have to skedaddle, or mention a fetching hairstyle, or I’m woebegone because summer is ending. After several repetitions of the word, conversers will include these words in their dialogue. (Confusing Carryover – sentences like “That fetching beagle skedaddled after the woebegone rabbit” might be incorporated into my children’s stories. It doesn’t roll off the tongue.)

List of Groceries Not To Buy:

With two grocery shoppers in the house one or the other of us fail to complete a thorough inventory of food items before heading out to Jewel. This came to my attention when eight beef roasts of various cuts crowded out my wild caught salmon territory in the freezer. (We could have survived a zombie uprising either by lobbing frozen beef at their skulls or by tossing thawed roasts in our escape wake as a distraction.) The beef roast plethora gave rise to the Anti-grocery List.

Photo 24 Anti-Grocery List
Multiple beef roasts squirreled away in the freezer gave rise to the Anti Grocery List.

My list making behavior nears compulsive. This became apparent to me when my three-year-old son “wrote” his own grocery list as I composed mine at the kitchen table. Later as we entered the store, I swooped Jack into the cart and took out my list. On seeing mine he realized he had left his list in the car, and we needed to get it. As one list maker to another, I complied.

Photo 24 Jack's List
My then three year old’s grocery list. If I recall correctly “visit the toy aisle” is among the scribblings.

Twenty-eight years later, I’m not sure if he’s still a list maker. I’ll put it on my “Discussion Points When I Speak To Jack” list.








4 thoughts on “Feeling Listless? Get A List!”

  1. I feel much more centered when I have multiple lists in progress and I’ve not been doing lists lately. They could compete with mediation for keeping me focused and since I don’t meditate, I’m an uncentered, unfocused person right now. I like how you’ve thought ‘outside the list’ to introduce lists into all aspects of life. I’m happy to say except for becoming a card shark I’ve made great progress on how to be an old person. LOL!


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