One of life's greatest mysteries and one of its most enduring and stubborn problems is seeking to learn why we stay on dead center and let things go for days, months, or even years that we know we should do, we should have done, we must do, but we don't ever take care of. Like a car stuck in neutral, we don't go anywhere. We repeat the same habits, the same mistakes, the same behaviors day after day after day. Since we are having fun with lists, our task today is to come up with another list of 25 reasons why we don't ever take care of the things we need to take care of or change the behaviors that have plagued us since we were teenagers. Here is my list of reasons.
- The toilet paper holder has been broken for a couple of years so fixing it is not a high priority item.
- I like a messy desk and a messy office so that I can spend an hour or more every time I need to find something.
- I keep a sloppy and illegible list of passwords so I have to experiment for a half hour and call tech support every time I need to get on a website and get a new password.
- My cell phone keeps going dead because I don't like to bother to keep it charged.
- I like to keep old newspapers littered around in case I need to look up something.
- The washing machine has gotten a bit temperamental but it is still working, more or less, and I don't have time to see about getting it fixed.
- I have this bothersome pain in my whatever but I don't have time to go to the doctor and it will probably go away anyway.
- It's easier to keep doing everything the way I have always done everything than it is to worry about having to change anything.
- I like to eat only certain foods and I am not about to change my eating habits for some diet guru who thinks he or she knows what to tell me to eat.
- I know my tires are thin and out of alignment but I should be able to get another 20,000 miles out of them before I have a serious blowout or a crash.
- I know I should have started doing my taxes some time before the deadline for mailing them in.
- My furnace filter looks kind of black but maybe it will last another month or two.
- I know I have an exam tomorrow but I know I can't pass it anyway. I'll just complain to the teacher that the exam was totally unfair.
- My wife was supposed to send back my book club books that I didn't want a month ago but she never got around to it.
- The kitchen sink faucet is dripping but not too badly and besides, how am I supposed to know how to fix anything and I certainly can't afford to call a plumber.
- I like being on dead center because then I don't have to worry about doing anything different or new.
- I have learned to successfully ignore all of the pleas, requests, gripes, and unconditional orders I have received to do this or that bothersome and irksome task, just as I have split this infinitive and don't want to bother to go back and edit it out.
- I don't want to continually have to be worrying about making this or that change, eating less of this or more of that, not drinking that but drinking this, seeing the doctor about a dozen body glitches; I'm comfortable not worrying about anything and just continuing the way I am.
- I like being on dead center. I get uncomfortable if I have to think about making changes.
- I know I'm still overweight, so don't bug me about it. I see fat people everywhere I go and they are all still alive.
- I'm no worse off than anyone else I know.
- Perfectionists are just a royal pain because they continually brag about how much better they take care of things than I do. Besides, how can you get any work done if your desk is spiffy clean and unlittered?
- I know perfectly well what I should do and some day I will get around to doing it so please quit bothering me about all of my shortcomings and imperfections.
- I don't keep a To Do List; I keep a Do Nothing List.
- I love being in neutral. Life is steady and predictable that way.
So there we have 25 reasons why we should live life in neutral, with our posteriors set in cement, so to speak, and the car stalled permanently in our driveway or garage so we don't ever have to worry about straining ourselves to make changes or to do anything we really don't want to do. Perhaps you can extend this list by at least two dozen more entries.
Task Number 123: Make a list of 25 reasons why you are stuck on dead center and keep postponing making the changes that you know are essential in your life. Good luck, have fun making out your list, then feel a tad guilty for being slothful, but keep going. We still have to come up with 242 more ways to nag you into becoming a charming, well ordered, thin, and delightful person. So don't give up, yet. The Curmudgeonly Professor.