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.

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