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Fall Planning

October 19 is National Evaluate Your Life Day. No need to wait until New Year’s Eve.

Fran LoBiondo
by Fran LoBiondo

Right about now, I am praying for inspiration. The thing I wanted most since everything went black in early March is finally coming true. Restaurants are opening for indoor dining, and mostly customers are glad. Happy to still cooperate with coronavirus rules—up to a point. I, for one, will always take off my mask to eat.

I pray every day for waitstaff who must stay masked for the duration of their shifts. Ditto all workers who are critical and must show up or lose their jobs.

My son, Greg, has been home for so long that he’s pretty much lost his longing for the open road. Our sofa has several Greg-sized impressions on it, because it’s a sectional, and if I keep moving him to different spots, I’m hoping it will wear evenly.

So far, he’s cooperating. When he goes back to his daily program, I’ll wave him goodbye and go for a cleansing walk and perhaps get hit by a truck. My luck is that sketchy.

I have enjoyed many books during my unfortunate isolation thanks to my neighbors who lent me boxes of spare books from their homes. I read every one of them except for the spy novels and the science fiction one in which a beautiful young student turns into a werewolf one day and has to hide from her grandmother. In solidarity with Grandmas everywhere, I put that one back in the box.

In my earlier years, I felt the need to finish reading every book I started, even if it was awful, and dense, and nothing of note ever happened. Now, I give the author 50 pages to make me care about the characters and the story. After that, it goes back to the library.

When we had young children and couldn’t bring them to the cineplex, our friend lent us A Room with a View to watch at home. I made the mistake of telling George that I thought it was an action film. After 15 minutes of watching British actors frolic in a bucolic field, I asked my husband if he was enjoying it. Just before he fell asleep with his head on his hand, he said, “I know it’s an action film, but I’m having trouble catching on to the plot.”

This was when we were still open-minded about watching movies together. By unanimous decision, we nixed the tape and ate some nachos. That was a time when a lot of popular movies were made in the United Kingdom.

I watched some, but they didn’t really grab my attention. I mentioned this to my Aunt Peggy, who was a film fan. She said, “You know why the British don’t carry guns, don’t you? It’s because they can talk you to death faster.”

These days, it takes flexibility for us to choose a movie together. A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen made me sad that we spent the money for tickets. However, Rocket Man entertained us both with all the music from our school days. We walked out hoppin’ and boppin’ to the “Crocodile Rock.” Not really. I never dance in public except to embarrass my kids.

It is October now, and according to some internet site that records these things, October 19 is National Evaluate Your Life Day. This means do not wait until New Year’s Eve to get your existential ducks in a row. Ask yourself:

• Who are you?

• What do you want?

• Where do you want to go?

By January 1, you’ll have it all worked out. I love that idea. If I could meditate on my life before the deadline day arrives, I really could start the year with an idea of what resolutions to make.

I’m a super procrastinator. I never start early on anything, so this is right up my alley.

October 31 is Halloween, and I don’t have any kids left, so that’s no big thrill. Perhaps we’ll skip the whole Trick or Treat thing this year. We’ve certainly done our time. Unless, of course, grandson Ben visits in costume.

October is Greg’s birthday, and he’s a low-key celebrant. He likes whatever gift he gets, as long as it’s wrapped in lively paper that he can tear off wildly. And he’s only too happy to help make his birthday dessert.

Fall is the time to switch from summer to winter clothes, and it can’t come fast enough. When the sweaters and turtlenecks come out, it’s like a whole new wardrobe.

It also will declutter my closet. Perhaps.

Life Sentences