Sunday, January 3, 2010

Progress Report

New Year's always brings out a bit of reflection and thought about how well we're progressing in the game of life. Usually it's a 12-month perspective, comparing where we are now to where we were 12 months ago. But that's so last year.

I think it makes much more sense to take the long view. So I am going to compare how I am doing at the end of my first year of retirement with how well I was doing at the end of my first year of school.

That's my kindergarten report card above, and I believe it is not bragging to point out that I got "satisfactory progress" marks in every category. Let's see how I would do today.

The first category is four things I should know: my address, birthday, telephone number and the colors.

Well, today I think I get three of four here. The other day I needed my post code to verify a credit card purchase, and I couldn't recall it. But surely that's just a temporary slip of the mind that is slipping more and more. Also, I might have failed the colors question if Sandy hadn't showed me what persimmon was when we were visiting there. On the other hand, I suspect colors like persimmon, cerise and magenta may have only been invented since I was in kindergarten.

The next category is four things I can do: tie my shoes, write my name, match words with pictures, and follow three directions.

OK, let's be clear here. I know how to tie my shoes. It's reaching the laces that is becoming the challenge. Obviously I know how to write my name, and the report card does not mention writing it so that other people can read it. I am pretty sure I can match words and pictures. And anyone who followed my attempts to repair the toaster probably knows how well I follow directions. So, let's say 1 1/2 out of 4 here.

The next section are three special skills: The first is counting from 1 to 10 understandably. Second is "I like to hear and play stories. I speak plainly in full sentences." And third is "I like music. I keep time. I do what the music tells me."

OK, first things first. The counting bit is a snap. The second is a little dicier. In fact, hardly a day passes when people do not ask me what I had said or meant.

As for the music, well, I like it. I've never been good at keeping time and suspect the nun was being generous with this mark. As for doing what the music tells me, Linda won't let me do that any more.

The next section is about growth in religious habits. It marks whether I say my prayers, am reverent and attentive at religion time and whether I always tell the truth.

Let's just move on.

The next section evaluates growth in my social habits. The first two categories are: "I work and play well with others" and "I listen when others talk. I am quiet when others work."

I will give myself a big tick for the first one. The folks at Full Tilt Poker would all agree that I play well with others. I don't even want to discuss listening skills today.

The next two are: "I take care of school materials and put them away" and "I think of things to do myself."

I have actually become much better at picking up after myself as I have grown old. And I do think of things to do myself, like writing a blog and playing online poker and fixing toasters. So two big tick marks here.

And the final two categories of social skills: "I try to be polite" and "I finish what I start".

Well, I do try to be polite until some stupid moron annoys me and needs to be told off. And I guess I finish some of the stuff I start, although my first two wives might disagree. Maybe a half mark each for these two.

So there you have it. Not a bad report at all. Great progress shown, and very encouraged about the future. (Hey, I didn't say I always told the truth, did I?)

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