The Entlistungsfreude

I saw the word in The New Yorker. That makes it sound like I read The New Yorker, doesn’t it? (“Look at me. Reading The New Yorker like some highfalutin, cultured, learned intellectual.”) In reality, I only like the cartoons.

I digress.

When I was scanning The New Yorker for cartoons, I saw the word “entlistungsfreude” in an ad. The ad said it’s a German word meaning, “the sense of satisfaction afforded by crossing things off lists.”

I have a serious case of entlistungsfreude.

I like lists. A lot. I like lists probably more than I should (more than chocolate pudding, less than my husband).

When I write something on my list, I feel like I am already halfway there… because if it’s on my list, it will get gone. Eventually. (Hopefully.)

Sometimes I will write, “write a list” on my list because then I can cross it right off

An example list:

write a list

– delete Candy Crush off my phone

– mail fan letter to Biebs

– buy eggs

– buy egg whites

– look for missing cat

– collect reward for returning cat

Sometimes I put easy things on my list because then I know I will get to cross them off.

An example:


(Done and done!)

Sometimes I put hard things on my list because then I have something to strive for.  If it’s on my list, I can keep it in focus.

An example:

– write for Saturday Night Live

(This may never happen. But it’s on my list, isn’t it? So really, I’m halfway there.)

I do get a weird (and possibly unhealthy) thrill from crossing things off a list. I feel a sense of accomplishment with crossing things off a list that isn’t afforded to me in other areas of my life (Yes, it is very possible I am compensating for something with lists).

Here is today’s list:

write a blog

(That felt good.)



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