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The ultimate to-do list

Throughout my column-writing years I have received email comments from many readers. Most of this correspondence is affirming of the things I write about — occasionally not. Whatever form it takes, correspondence has always been instructive, and I delight in receiving it.

Even critical letters are welcome. Years ago I wrote about constipation, and a disquieted reader advised me that kind of information was not in any way appropriate to put in print for Sunday morning consideration . I probably should have just stayed with the role of ground flax in an aging person’s diet and the availability of individually wrapped prunes.

A few months ago, I received a lengthy email from a reader who clearly felt I was making light of topics that deserved more calibrated consideration. She was quite fierce about it. Two exchanges later, I suggested she stop reading my column if she did not like it. At this point you are, of course, welcome to do that, but I hope you don’t.

The vast majority of the correspondence I get in reaction to what I write about every week is quite lovely and often funny — reactions from readers offer me new perspectives. One particular email stood out in the past week. I would like to share it. Thank you, Carol!

The correspondence contained a replacement for the “to-do” list many of us create and refer to on a daily basis. The reader was not the author and did not know who was, but she had found the list invaluable during these long house-bound pandemic months. As she had, I immediately shared it with friends and family — and now I share it with you.

I offer it in the hope it resurrects your spirit. It is the perfect day for that. I have added some personal notations as possible further incentive.

The ultimate daily to-do list:

  • Drink water (Good hydration also helps with the aforementioned constipation issue.)
  • Do one thing just because you want to … more if inclined. Today I am choosing a 20-minute afternoon nap and three Hersey kisses.
  • Get in at least one good laugh (preferably a deep-throated, rolling chortle, but you decide.)
  • Clean one thing or space. I choose to wash the dog, but you may want to start small, unless your dog is small. Our plus-size pooch means I will definitely want that nap.
  • Tend to something growing or living … the primrose you bought at the grocery store yesterday or a thirsty houseplant?
  • Be mindfully present to a sound or song, a sensory feeling, something you see, a spiritual practice. The key word here is “mindfully.”
  • Reach out to another human being — a thoughtful elbow bump, an unexpected compliment, a long-promised phone call.
  • Do one thing to get your heart rate up. My options include walking that just-washed dog or playing a yard game with my grandson. Aw, heck, I think I’ll do both.
  • And finally, "Do one thing you will be glad you did later.” That’s an easy one for this particular day, because you, as readers, beckon me to share the possibility for written rejuvenation. Check.

Sharon Johnson is a retired health educator. Reach her at sharjohn99@gmail.com.