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Listfluenza (or “5 Ways to Drive Me Crazy”)



ListFluenza  (or “5 Ways to Drive Me Crazy”)

No More Lists

6 Things You Should Throw Away Right Now”  “12 Things You Should Never Throw Away” – “10 Ways to Clean Up Your Diet” “7 DESSERTS WORTH BREAKING YOUR DIET FOR” …. Ach!

If my love affair with Pinterest ever starts to wane I can point directly to the Pins Recommended for Me today.  I already have enough chaos and second-guessing happening in my life. If the Pin Princesses can’t agree then I’m doomed.

Don’t let me give you the impression that I am anything less than addicted to Pinterest or that I don’t get a lot of pleasure out of trolling through other people’s passions. I LOVE Pinterest. Hell, I have 100 boards populated with 9.7K pins (I checked).  If all of those other bloggers didn’t create the content that I want to read, I wouldn’t be still awake at 2 AM checking out Pinterest from the bubbles in my bathtub while slowly pickling in the cooling water. (Not like that ever happens. Except for last night. And Tuesday.  And maybe Sunday…)

But enough with the lists already!

Being a bit OCD, lists are my joy and my terror. My joy because there is someone out there Telling. Me. What. To. Do.   And even better? Telling me in what order to do them.  No decisions to be made, reconsidered, acted on and then second-guessed. The arbiters of What is Good have clearly laid it out for me and all I have to is follow The List.  But this pillow has a fuzzy side and a nasty, scratchy side, sort of like a cheap throw cushion.  What if I don’t do everything in order?  What if I don’t finish the list? What I I never start?! The escalating anxiety can give me the twitches just writing about it.

And contradictory lists? That’s like putting a dog in a round room and telling him to go pee in the corner.  Mean and inhuman, I say.

Then there’s a faintly rebellious side that age doesn’t seem to be doing much about. Who are you to tell me what I SHOULD do?  Why should I? Just make me!

This side of my personality is, as you can easily guess, on the outs with my  goodie-girl “just tell me what to do” side.  (I should have been born a Gemini. ) A surfeit of  lists can set me to war with myself faster than deciding if I can get away with eating a DQ dipped cone while driving.

And the numbers! Suddenly we can’t count beyond 10 (12 if we’re  willing to test the gnat-like attentiveness of anyone stumbling through the interwebz). Oh sure, there’s a couple of good “20 ways …” and “50 Things …” lists but they’re outliers really.  A good blog post limits the numbers in the list to no more than the average person can read before getting called away by another shiny idea. I’ll guesstimate four minutes, max.

I’ve fallen prey to this kind of list-making madness. Some of my posts have one title here on Gift of Less but show up as a list on Pinterest.  What can I say? It seemed like a good idea at the time. Then there is the freelance writing that I do. Lists sell; clever titles with esoteric references, not so much.

Maybe it is easier for our PacMan brains to mindlessly munch through good, mediocre and really not-so-good information when it’s packaged up in a neat list. I don’t know, because I haven’t figured out how to analyze this stuff, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that I’ve had more Pinterest readers or Twitter followers pick up on “5 Minimalist Blogs I Follow”  than if I’d only published the same article with its original title, “Sometimes it Endures Because it’s True”.

Is this just another example of the great dumbing-down of our culture? Or, like David Letterman and his original Top 10 lists, eventually destined to be retired to a question on Trivia Night at the pub?

What’s your take on lists? Tell me your top three reasons why you love or hate lists. Go on, I dare ya!