To Do or Not To Do List?

Behold the new gate.
New gate or gateway to the afterlife?

After 18 months of planning, delaying and postponing, I finally replaced the two rotting fence gates outside my home this week. This work was delayed so often it was a scandal: “Gategate.”

In finishing this project, I was able to cross off the biggest item on my “To Do” list. This list is driven largely by my need to leave everything around the house in working order for my wife, in case I die. The completion of the gates leaves me with a list of much smaller chores; the kind of things you can polish off in an evening (#9 – discard the paper towel cardboard tube).

So, why has my elation over building two gates been replaced by a shimmer of dread on the horizon?

Because once that list is whittled down, what’s left? Perhaps I have been given so much time, living with cancer, to secure my family’s physical and financial needs. What happens to that time once I have nothing left to complete?

I feel similarly about our fabulous summer. We started with a trip to Disneyland, rented a cabin in the woods and finally canoed our neighbourhood river. I built a sandbox for Will, finally read some Alice Munroe, introduced Will to camping and golfing (when we asked him his score on each hole, he answered “four” each time) and the other night we joined friends lakeside for the annual goose migration. It was a summer of new memories. Many activities were from my recreational To Do list.

There’s that black ship on the horizon again. With all these chores and adventures concluded, is Karma preparing me for my final exit?

Then I went golfing Monday. That afternoon gave me reason for hope… because I was terrible. I sucked so bad my golf bag was sponsored by Dyson. I had seven nines and shot more than 130. After six years of games, lessons and practice, I seem to be moving farther away from my goal of breaking 100. As long as I am so far from reaching one of my most coveted goals, I must still have some time left. Given Monday’s score, I would say lots of time.

My crappy golf game is keeping me alive.

(I just relayed this theory to Robin, who said: “If you get a hole in one, you’re f—-d.”)

 

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