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Quickly list five things you’d like to change in your life. Now, write a post about a day in your life once all five have been crossed off your to-do list.

1. Stop smoking
2. Stop procrastinating, finish what I start
3. Write more, research more on children literature ideas
4. Play fewer games on my computer while waiting for inspiration
5. Spend less time with a computer on my lap

That wasn’t hard, but the level on which I have to attack these items is much more complex, because some have been with me for quite a while now. I have to say that I have been working on some of these things for a long time, just not always as successfully as I’d like.

I am a recovering alcoholic (20 years!), but the last time I was in the treatment facility, I accepted a cigarette from a fellow alcoholic/patient, and it immediately hooked me again. I called my husband and asked him to bring me a pack of cigarettes. I thought it would be a temporary substitution, but now it has lasted 20 years. Having quit before (when I started having children), I know it is possible, but I can’t work up the frame of mind to begin, and I know that’s the hardest part. One has to have a mind set that anything is okay except having a cigarette.

As I’ve mentioned, I also have generalized anxiety disorder (treated) and ADD, which over the years I’ve learned to control for the most part. That’s part of the reason I’m a procrastinator. I start multiple tasks and fail to finish them. I have ideas popping around in my brain all the time: ideas, choices, decisions — it’s a crazy house up there. But being more organized and attending to one task at a time (which I’ve been working hard on) would make my life more comfortable and I wouldn’t have such a long to-do list, because I could cross things off as finished!

I set publishing a children’s book as a goal in retirement. I’m not working hard enough at it. I am in a writer’s group for story books (2-5 year-olds basically) and I’m not sure it’s a good fit. I’m not giving it a fair try, though. I avoid, put off, or convince myself that my mind is not creative enough for it, but until I give it much more effort, I’m never going to reach that goal — even by sending out a manuscript.

I revert to playing games installed by Microsoft on my computer while I’m waiting for inspiration, or as a treat when I’ve finished something — like a post on my blog, for instance. It’s an utter waste of time, but I do find it settles my mind and the need for my hands to be busy. I can’t sit still with my hands in my lap and just watch a TV show, for instance. I sit a lot, but sit still infrequently. I should be writing, cleaning, or doing something else creative instead — I’d have more to show for my time.

Life perfected — is it possible? Number One certainly is, but I actually wonder what I would do without those 15 little breaks in my day when I stop to smoke and work on a Sudoku or read the newspaper. I never smoke in the house, so I usually sit at a bench or table outside. When my kids (4) were teenagers, it became a time when they would follow me out to have one-on-one conversations. And it happened a lot. Many a problem has been discussed, secrets shared, and advice given while I was smoking.

Change is hard, often worthwhile, but you have to get at the deep-down reason why you’re resisting change. If you understand that, agree with that, there’s hope. Is there hope for me?

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