May 19th, 2014 by Jan

I began putting the following list and letter together in 1996. Since then, every year around my birthday, I review it, look at lessons learned and find the courage (and ego) to share them with friends and family. This ritual has become two-fold for me. First, it is a way for me to check in; a way to keep my hopes and dreams alive and in front of me. Second it is my way of letting you know how much you mean to me. So as I turn 59, may I be so bold to post my thoughts again.

As I take stock this year, it is clear to me that…

I have a great life because:
1. I am married to Ken Parker who continues to make me laugh. And even though he says that I never took to the leash, I am happily tethered to him.
2. After two weeks of the crud, I can say that all the critical parts of my body are intact and healthy.
3. I will eat coconut cake on my birthday just because I asked for it.
4. There are people who often cook for me and shout with glee when we meet.
5. I am a Canadian and a US Citizen and am told “welcome home” coming and going.
6. I haven’t had a drink since August of 1984 and my life is better for it.
7. I am not cold or hungry — and I have enough to share.
8. I am still paid to teach, hence I am paid to learn.
9. I enjoy the churchoftheholysunrise and will set a clock so as not to miss it.
10. We chose not to have children.

A short list of things I’ve learned:
1. An education is an education, no matter how you get it.
2. Courage, intelligence and love are never out of place.
3. Error on the side of generosity.
4. A personal practice is personal.
5. Death is not the enemy and illness really sucks.
6. Spending the day looking out a window is a good use of time.
7. Some times I’m very inappropriate.
8. There is always more to learn.
9. Be willing to shout with glee and cook for others.
10. Say what you mean, mean what you say and don’t say it mean.

I am surprised by:
1. How often I think of dead people.
2. How easy it was to give up my search for god.
3. How much of this letter hasn’t changed over the years.
4. How good it feels to give away stuff.
5. How little it takes to entertain me.
6. How inappropriate I continue to be.
7. Ken’s humour.
8. How much noise bothers me.
9. Wanting to take another cruise.
10. My dreams.

I’m so glad to have:
1. The ability to spend my day how I want to.
2. The same best friend for 37 years.
3. Brilliant teachers and willing students.
4. Really good friends near and far.
5. A daily practice.
6. People who inspire me.
7. A sense of curiosity.
8. An orange cat named Peet.
9. Several ways to remain crafty.
10. A van with a bed and toilet in it.

I’ve finally let go of:
1. The dream of a formal education.
2. The idea of meaningful work.
3. Having a super clean house.
4. Resentments and regrets.
5. My favourite pair of torn jeans.

I’d still like to:
1. Read more good books.
2. Drive across Canada with Ken.
3. Live in a house with a view.
4. See a giraffe in the wild.
5. Write about staying sober without god.
6. Figure out food.
7. Write the sitcom idea that has been brewing for years.
8. Know who the heck reads my blog.
9. Beat Jim in a game of WWF.

In the coming year:
I will continue to enjoy the wisdom of Rob Brezsny and strive to:
1. Cultivate Relaxed Alertness
2. Express Casual Perfection
3. Fill myself with Diligent Indifference
4. Practice Serene Debauchery.

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