Light Notes

Thank God, I'm still outside 'the box'

It was close — way too close!

An advertisement in the newspaper recently placed my photo about a half inch from the obituaries. I couldn’t help but feel boxed in next to Willard, Mabel and George.

All the same, it may have been good for advertising since the Public Broadcasting Service audience probably looks on that page first. I know I do.

It used to be that I checked the comics to see what Linus and Lucy were doing, but lately, I need to make sure that I’m ... well, still here.

So even though the ad gave me a start, it brought to mind the time I wrote my own obituary for a college class assignment. The purpose was to be specific about everything you were going to accomplish in your lifetime.

As a returning non-traditional college student, I knew what direction I was headed and why I was there. My ambitions stretched ahead to the end date that I casually noted on the writing project. I’d even added, tongue in cheek, that I’d died choking on something I’d said.

The years sped by.

Then, during a cleaning frenzy — they only hit me about twice a decade — I ran across that college essay tucked inside a box of old schoolbooks.

Scrunching down between the “toss” bag and the “charity” bag, I reread the projection of all the things I had wanted to achieve. Much to my surprise, a lot of the “bucket list” could be checked off.

But then my eyes fell on the end date — the age I’d written for my exit.

My goodness! What had I been thinking back then? I’d boxed myself into an end date that was just a few years ahead!

So when the newspaper ad showed up in print next to the obituaries, it stirred my memory of the one I’d written and tossed. As I clearly remembered, I was now at the age I’d foolishly designated.

Thankfully, I was wrong about my exit date. This past Friday, I celebrated another birthday!

Now it’s time again to create a new list of goals I want to accomplish in my lifetime. It could be that some may be a little wild.

But honestly, it feels great to still be thinking outside THE box.