Life Goals – A Review


Life Goals

My list from 2005:

  1. Be as great a parent/grandparent as my own
  2. Write a book
  3. Own a cottage on the water
  4. Be and stay healthy
  5. Retire early enough to do something new
  6. Be able to help my kids financially; be able to give back to community
  7. Visit Norway and Ireland with the kids
  8. Be on Jeopardy
  9. Become a master gardener
  10. Not worry about $$

I found this list in an old .txt file when I updated my phone recently. I remember writing it about 10 years ago and thinking that these were things that I really wanted out of life. Not exactly a bucket list, because there are other activities I might add to it for that, but key things that I felt would add value to my life.

I was pleasantly surprised while reading through it that I had done quite a few of them. For some, I can’t be the final judge (be a good parent), but I can make an educated guess. And some, I really don’t have all the control over (health) but I am an active participant in the outcome. For both of these items, I think I’ve done pretty well. My kids are happy and well (no grandkids yet, which is just fine by me) and my health is hanging in there. I’m dealing with what I’ve got.

It really pleased me to see that I have done #2 and #3 – I finished my novel and am working on another. It was interesting to me that my goal was to write a book – it wisely said nothing about publishing it. I guess my younger self knew that part was going to be a different sort of effort. And as to #3 – we bought our water view property a couple of years ago and are in the planning stages for the home we want to build there. It is going to be lovely.


My youngest son was just accepted at Reed College starting in the fall. I have four more years (sounds like election time!) of tuition payments. Once I’m free of those, however, I can make a career change and start my new full time writing life. I am making headway now in terms of what I want to take on and how I can do it – but retiring from my full time world of technology and moving toward something more literary is exciting. I can’t wait to make it happen.

I’ve already been able to help my kids financially, with two kids through college. I’ve helped my older son in his transition to a new land and getting his business off the ground and helped my daughter buy her first house. Our third child will most likely go on to grad school and we’ll do our best to help him there, too. I’m also actively volunteering for the PanCan organization and will continue to do so until we move to our new home in a new community. Even then, I’ll figure out a way to stay connected.


We visited Norway this summer as a family (only our daughter opted not to go) and we had a marvelous time visiting the homeland. We saw the old Stave Church where my mom’s family name is on one of the pews from sometime in the 1200s. Two of my three kids have made it to Ireland independently – I’d still like to make it a family destination, so I haven’t given up on that one.

The next two are things that were more important to me ten years ago. We used to watch Jeopardy with our kids in the evening and I always thought “I could do that” – however, in the big scheme of things, it really isn’t a top wish for me any longer. I’m willing to let that one go. As for Master Gardener, I looked into the qualifying process for it and realized that it involved a lot of procedural and political stuff – things that for me would suck the fun right out of puttering around in the garden. So I will stay a putterer and be happy with it. I don’t want to feel like I have to put in so many hours or teach so many classes – it just isn’t that important.

Last but not least, the money thing. I have our next four years mapped out for the tuition crunch. After that, I have the retirement transition spreadsheet drafted and I’m pleased to say it is all doable. I feel ready for that next phase of life and while I don’t think I’ll ever not stress about money (because that is my nature), my data shows that all should be well. And that’s a heck of a lot better than impossible.

So – in looking at life on the balance, I feel pretty good about the progress I made against those goals from way back when.

It must be time to set some new ones.

Maui Memories

Mom wanted us to have a family reunion in Hawaii after dad died. She said that he had some life insurance money set aside and that she wanted us all there the summer of 2011 to scatter his ashes in the Pacific as he’d asked. Once she knew that she would be gone by then, she asked that we take them both and do it together. We promised her we would.

We had a wonderful week in Kapalua at beautiful home overlooking the ocean.   Seeing Jan’s face as she saw her bedroom suite for the first time was all I needed to be happy.  She was overcome with joy and that was worth it all.

Jan’s room in Maui

Following our stay, I wrote the email below to my brothers and sisters:

I wanted to thank each of you for making this past week’s trip to Maui such a success.  It was exactly as mom and dad would have liked and I appreciate everyone’s help in making it happen.  While the reason was a not-so-good one for gathering, the result was renewed sense of family and new memories for us and the grandchildren to lean on in the years ahead.
I know we each have our own lives to live and that our families differ in many ways.  The joy is in the collective experience – those unscripted moments when we see one another in a new light and find common ground through our shared history, all of which then ties us closer together for the future.  It is a privilege to call each of you my sibling and to know that through genetic good fortune, I am bound to you for life.  I don’t take it for granted and I appreciate all that it has added to my life thus far.
The memorial for mom and dad was just right – simple and in keeping with their desires.  I felt a sense of peace that evening after it was all said and done, and gave thanks for seeing it through.  It felt as though we had kept the commitment to mom especially, in her desire to do this for dad, as she shared it with us a year ago in May.  In keeping that promise, I know I feel as though we have done her proud.  That is enough for me.
In the inestimable words of Jack Johnson (Hawaiian singer/songwriter extraordinaire) “We’re always better when we’re together….” and that refrain is humming through my head today as I get back to work and back to reality.  For those of you still in the Islands, enjoy the rest of your time.  For those of us back to our lives at home, what memories we have and what joy it will bring in the days ahead!
I love you all – from the bottom of my heart!!
Jan replied:
Hi My Dearest Ones,
     On the way home from the Portland airport George asked me if I was sorry to leave Hawaii and come home.  I told him that I was actually glad to be home.  I explained that every desire of my heart had been satisfied.  I was so anxious given my health issues to really make this trip and fully enjoy it.  The beauty of my family never fails to amaze me, their love and commitment to me overwhelms.  When Dad arranged our last family reunion in Sunriver for my benefit I promised Kevin I would make the next event and God has helped me to keep that promise. I thank you Jesus!  Sadly, who would have thought that it would be Mom and Dad who would not make the next event, except in spirit.
     As one who faces uncertainty every day, please cherish the times ahead and put each other first in your lives.  A hug can be a last hug, smiles and sparkling eyes left only in the memory.  Our bonds are spiritual ones as well and we coexist in a shared journey, called together to the bliss we know here and into the vast hereafter…continuing on and on.  I am so blessed to be traveling with you like waves in the ocean of God…a special current will always contain us.
     Everything was perfect, for Mom and Dad, for me and my family.  I love you all, always and forever.