Life is one big to do list

Will Milner only thinks in lists. But, he wonders, don’t we all?

The Knowledge

The woman I sit opposite at work has 23 annoying habits. I know because I made a list of them all and emailed it to her. She is not overtly offensive, that is just what I do. I list things. I know my ideal holiday destinations, cereals and preferred YouTube videos. I even know my favourite name for every letter of the alphabet and my top-10 ways to cook a potato (Lyonnaise being number one).

The now slightly shocked woman sitting opposite me thinks it is obsessive compulsive behaviour. (Diagnosing me with conditions I do not have is item number 18 on her list.) Without lists I’m afraid I would be lost: my own lists to tell me what I need to finish before the end of the week and other people’s lists to tell me what I need to do before I die.

My life, it seems, will not be considered worthy until I camp in Antarctica, sky dive over the Grand Canyon and swim at the Great Barrier Reef. I’m already running late because I was supposed to do all of that before turning 30.

Considering I spent most of the time allocated to write this article debating the relative merits of Rice Crispies versus Corn Flakes, it seems unlikely I will ever summon up the willpower to achieve all these ‘must do’ activities.

More realistic challenges might be to finish a crossword or find a hat that really suits me. Actually I think I’d be better off taking my chances with the skydiving. I am determined, however, to tick off every single suggestion from this week’s cover story (The UAE to do list, page 14).

Like many expatriates living here I came with the notion of picking up new skills and experiencing wonderful things. And, like many expatriates in the emirates, I spent a year doing exactly that.

Memories of my first year in Dubai are a blur of snorkelling excursions, new restaurants and revelations about a different way of life. Almost 10 years later I am used to that way of life and nothing seems quite as thrilling any more. It is time to start enjoying everything Dubai has to offer all over again. I still get excited every time I take an abra and I’m desperate to take my first ride on the Metro. I don’t care if it is ‘touristy’ or clichéd: I want to sit on the back of a camel eating a shawarma while women belly dance in front of me. Is that really so wrong? In fact, after I’ve had a go at a crossword, apologised to my colleagues and gone hat shopping that is the next item on my to do list.

More from News

Neighbours, waiters, phone users and people with sunglasses on their heads

Onesies, cold swimming pools, sports cars in traffic jams and more of life's disappointments

Home-cooked food, new outfits, midweek nights out, paddleboarding and more

Motivators, campaigners, hermits, stalkers and more unusual friends

Chocolate fountain technique, food combo experiments, menu rage and more

Weather forecasts, working in a cafe, changing rooms and more

Newsletters

Follow us