My lovely wife, Kelly, came back from the doctor's the other day
with a pocket-sized list. It was for all prescriptions, why you
take them and who prescribed them. The assumption is that we don't
know all this, which is a bit insulting. But, of course, we
often don't. So, it makes sense.
If that were the only list, life would be simple. But it isn't.
We all know about shopping lists, To Do lists and Honey Do
lists. Somehow the Internet and smart phones haven't made
those go away.
When we go on a trip, we make a list of the things we are taking
so we can check them off twice: once to pack and make sure
everything we want comes along, then once more to pack for the
return trip to make sure everything comes back. (We started doing
this after the time I forgot all of my shirts.)
On vacations, we have lists of the things we want to see and the
places we want to go. At work, our bosses give us lists of what
they want done or we give lists to others for the same purpose.
Santa has a list and he checks it twice. Almost every shopping
website has a "wish list". I don't know what makes it to
Santa's list anymore, but I'm sure he keeps it anyway. Lists are
like that; once you start it's hard to quit.
We keep lists of birthdays even though they are in our computers
and the reminders pop up every year. Same with personal phone
books, they are just a different form of lists. We have
everyone's numbers in our phones but nobody throws out the old list
because, well because you never know.
Post-its are little sticky lists with just an item or two on
them. It seems like everyone uses Post-its. When our
daughter was little, she was so used to seeing things on little
yellow square papers, she would insist that any promise to her be
That's the power of lists. Writing things down on paper somehow
continues to be more real than entering them into our phones.
We can see the list, feel it, fold it, put it in a pocket as we go
out the door to the store. There is something official that feels
like the things on the list are going to happen.
Lists may be old-fashioned, but when items get done, we get to
check them off, line them out, and then wad up the paper and toss
it into the recycle bin. It's officially done and there is physical
proof. You can't do that with a smart phone.
Aging in place, it doesn't happen by accident but there is
probably a list for it.
Scott Funk is Vermont's leading Aging in
Place advocate, writing and speaking around the state on issues of
concern to retirees and their families.