THE SIMPLE LIFE: Lists and Lasers

Trish Morgan
Special to the News Tribune
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Trish Morgan

You would think that since I'm retired, my days of making lists would be over. During the many years of my working life, I was the type of person who had a list each day of tasks that needed to be started, drafted, edited, organized, promoted, completed and evaluated. These lists were made prior to closing my office doors the day before.

In making lists, I felt that it made my job easier, helped me focus and meet deadlines, kept me motivated and left me with a sense of accomplishment. HOWEVER - and its a BIG however - my lists, although many tasks were crossed off as finished, had to carry over to the next day. I found out early in my career that I tended to overachieve and micro-manage myself. What this means is that so often I would set myself with disappointment because I expected too much of myself.

Did I learn from these many lessons? You would think so!

So, here I am, retired since 2012, and still making lists. It's rather comical. I have to laugh at myself as I continue with my old habits. In fact, there are four different lists in my notebook as I am writing this column. I chuckle to myself when I flip back and forth between the sections of my notebook - seeing these crazy lists that have been made. A list for summer ideas with the grandkids; a never-ending bucket list; a long list of spring projects for landscaping here at home; a "to-do" list for activities, grant writing opportunities and fundraisers for a local cat rescue I'm involved with called Whiskers, Inc. All I need now is a list on steps to manage my list-making craziness!

While it's true the lists continue to be made, I'm not quite as zealous about finishing them. I start off with good intentions, but soon my mind wanders and I'm on to something else more interesting. Isn't there a word for that? With as many words that float around in my brain, you'd think I could find one when I need it!

Writers create many lists, so today I'll use that as my excuse. We develop outlines, which come together after many pages of lists jotted down in all kinds of forms. The challenging part is gathering all of the independent lists and words, and then trying to maneuver through that jumbled mess and write something worth reading.

Sometimes it works, sometimes - well, less than my level of satisfactory. Then, doubt creeps in and my perfectionist side comes screaming out. But, over the years I have learned to let the screaming come and go, and I take deep breaths and relax. Oh, believe me, it's not as easy doing it as it is writing about it - but I have learned SOME lessons in life! Even as stubborn and hard-headed as I am (this is when I hear my mom say, "you're just like your father!!"), I can let things go.

Back to the lists. See how I digress? If I weren't playing with a laser light and watching my cat Leo run all over the place trying to catch the light, I just might be able to finish this column. At least I can entertain myself while working, right? Have you ever watched a cat chase a laser light? He gets all hunched down, tail flipping, in a "hunt and pounce" mode, eyes as big as saucers - and the light travels down the hallway and back - cat running as fast as lightning. THIS is a fun morning for this old cat lady!!

Oh, that's right. I was writing about lists. WHEW. Now that I am done laughing at the ridiculous and hilarious antics of this cat, maybe I can focus on MY laser light and get back to work. I just KNOW everyone reading this is dying to know what my list entails for today!

Seriously though, just a small list today. Big meeting today at noon, and by next week, I hope to have a special announcement if all things work out. I do have some things to bake this afternoon, dinner to prepare and some laundry to do. The big event today is going outside with Ava so she can learn to ride her new bike. The weather is gorgeous, and the Easter Bunny brought her a brand new bicycle helmet.

Geesh - I can remember when I was 6 years old, and my friend Hazel taught me how to ride a bike, and it was a 26" bike! I just got on it and went! Up and down the beautiful tree-lined Maple Avenue in Keyser, WV. My old house is still there, and the owners have really taken such good care to make great improvements. Those were carefree days, and I hope Ava feels the same joy I felt anytime I was riding a bike.

Next week, I think I'll write about my childhood and my love for the outdoors. All kinds of ideas are starting to swirl around, and before you know it, I'll start on that list. I hope you'll read all about it next week, and perhaps it will bring some of your memories to light. Love and peace.