August 21 , 2023 /


I was “complaining” to DW about having too much on my mind, too many concerns, and feeling a wee bit overwhelmed and a little stressed.  I want to emphasize “wee bit” and “little” because while I might have been approaching a loss of control, I wasn’t there yet.  Fortunately I am blessed with a partner who listens, understands, empathizes and then gives me her favorite recipe to apply.  “Just relax and let go,” she says, with an air of confidence that I recognize from having lived with her for over 25 years.  It is said honestly from a place that I recognize instantly as I know her and her strategies quite well.  It must be in her DNA.  When her mother was asked at age 106 to what she attributed her long life, she said, “I don’t worry about anything and if I do, I take a pill and go to sleep.”


There have been other times in my long life when I had too much on my plate at one time and it is easy to recall some of those, having forgotten that I dealt with them one way or another and moved on. One thing I did was to shorten the list!   The other thing DW said to me in this early morning conversation was, “Make a list.” So I did.  The first thing that happened is that I got the things in my head down on paper where I could look at them one by one. I won’t bore you with the 10 or 12 things on my list. I will tell you that once I had the list, I looked at it, read it twice and gave it to DW.  She read it and said, “I can make a couple of those phone calls and deal with those issues, and you can put some of the others on hold for now.” Relieved, I took a deep breath, stepped back and knew she was right about letting go.  She is right about most things and this is one more of those times.


We both know how to decompress, take a nap, wake up refreshed and ready to move on.  Putting things down in words also gives me a chance to get a different perspective and I am a believer that when you change the way you look at things, the things you’re looking at change.  Thank you, Max Planck, Nobel prize winner in physics in 1918.  I have quoted him frequently for others, now for myself.


Lists are enormously helpful in many situations.  I am reminded of Atul Gawande’s book, “The Checklist Manifesto” which tells the story of how the checklist for pilots originated and how he developed and used a checklist to decrease the incidence of infections in Intensive Care Units in hospitals.  Grocery lists are another essential list in our house and now we take that list and order online in the morning and the groceries are delivered to our front door in the afternoon.


We are currently selling our Leisure Travel Van RV and I made a list of all of the features that describe the vehicle as well as the conveniences and amenities that people might find useful if they are interested. Our lives are made up of lists, not only to do lists but also to don’t lists.  Do more walking, don’t postpone it.  Do read and write. Do take care of yourself. Do what brings you good health and happiness.  And on and on I go, making my lists and using them as helpful tools to keep moving forward, gratefully and gladly.  Now I will look at my checklist for today. It looks different and better.  What kinds of lists do you make?



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