Bear the title of this post in mind as I explain the contents of my F list. Broadly, it is a document recording a number of things that I never want to do. Some of them are memories of things that I have encountered before – acquaintances, experiences, possessions. Some are founded on mere future speculation – a future I hope to avoid.
The people I never wish to see again are etched into my memory – there are 11 of them. 11 out of the entire population of the planet is not a bad percentage, and only one of them is an in-law. Only four have occasioned me any financial loss and I appear to have borne it well enough to be staying healthy. The one common factor is that they have all treated me with contempt or disdain at some stage of the game and in each case it has been undeserved.
I understand that I should not bear grudges – my old deer-hunting buddy the Dalai Lama is always on about this. I’m not good enough to let them all go but I am reasonable enough to relinquish them when circumstances change. There were 12 on the list a year ago but one has been removed.
In any case, the nature of the F list is such that it keeps me safe from a lot of further grief – if I never want to see someone again I arrange matters so that it does not happen. It may mean reining in interests or trimming circles of mutual acquaintance, but there are more things to do and more people to see in the world. And any day spent not feeling bad or sad is a good day.
The F list has a number of geographic areas that are no-go zones. Or rather no-want-to-go zones. None of them contain attractions that I burn to see and none of the inhabitants burn to see me. We exist in our separate spheres of influence quite well. I bear the residents of these areas no ill will, but I am wise enough not to present them with an opportunity to harm me.
As far as activities go, there are few that I absolutely abhor, but one does make it into the list at No. 3; visiting public venues at the times of peak activity. This is the consequence of foolishly going to the Gloucester Park trots and the Canning markets on various New Year’s Eves during the 1980’s and being nearly overcome with the crowds.
Two entries in the list deal with moral matters – contact with people who would do me no good at all. As they are classes or groups of individuals I do not list the names – but when I recognise them for what they are, I exercise my right to avoid contact.
Okay, if it all seems to be getting rather gloomy here, let me brighten things up by saying that this is one of the most positive lists I have made. Every one of the entries has a good reason for being there and I can recognise those reasons. They are legitimate for me. Implementing a ban upon the various points has a very positive effect – it shields me from trouble and distress. It does not harm any of the people, groups, or geographical areas specified – they live their lives untouched by me.
And the best bit. The B, or Bucket list is aspirations that are rarely or never attained. From day to day there may be no reward at all in just hoping. Nothing but desire with no fulfillment. The F list, on the other hand, is instantly gratifying – any day that I do not see the detested, visit the abhorrent, or collude with the dangerous is a good day. I win all the time.