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Ten Years Later

A green folder is in my filing cabinet. It’s labeled “To Do List” with a subtitle “Began Jan. ‘09 when Retired.” After teaching for 25 years, I retired December in 2008. On a cold January morning, I remember sitting in my home closet office in our basement and making a list.

I’ve always been a list maker so writing the things I wanted to do and thought I needed to do seemed practical. I thought I’d review the list regularly to update. How good it would feel to set goals and achieve them, but I don’t even remember the last time I saw this green folder.

It caught my eye recently and I didn’t open it. I stuck it under my writing desk calendar because January 2019 would be the perfect time to look inside, but now I’m hesitant. I’m sure I’ll see fun things and tasks that I haven’t done.

Taking a deep breath, as if facing something dreaded, I open the folder. Four notebook paper pages are clipped together. There are some things marked through – completed! I exhale in relief.

I had written categories: shopping, clean out, visit, learn new things, fun days, write, and sew. Evidently, I last updated the to-do list in 2012. Among the shopping items checked off are a rechargeable baby monitor, a toddler car seat for Samuel (Grand who was then 3 ½ ), and a bedspread for a guest bedroom. I baked and delivered cinnamon rolls to a few friends and regularly visited Aunt Doris and Uncle High. I completed a quilt that Grandma and Mom began, made a king-size quilt from scratch, and several baby quilts for Grands. I’ve read some really good books, worked some crossword puzzles, and have written about my childhood, essays that I hope my children and Grands read someday.

I haven’t learned to crochet or had our hutch repaired or made biscotti or walked a 5K race or written a book for children or organized the many letters my parents wrote each other. I haven’t taken a computer class or completed a denim quilt using the fabric of old blue jeans or ridden in a hot air balloon, although that adventure is on my 2019 calendar.

There are also loose pages in this folder. A Just for Today List. A bucket list of places to travel. A page dated June 27, 2012 is entitled, “What I’m glad I’ve done since being retired 3 ½ years.” Weekly suppers with Daughter’s family. Grands spend the night here weekly. Visit Son’s family more frequently. Twice monthly breakfasts with friends. Music classes with Grands. Exercised more often. Morning meditations. Written some memoirs. Writing a weekly newspaper column.

The green folder is now filed away again. I marked off some things on the to-do list and highlighted some to do for sure in 2019. And I added two: keep on keeping on and play with Grands. That’s been my life for the past ten years, and I hope will be for the next ten and more.

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