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Burning The Archives

February 3, 2022

I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I’ve written poems. I’ve written stories. I’ve written rules for games. The point is that I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing.

I kept much of what I wrote; notebooks, scraps of paper, journals, goals.

Recently I went through a lot of my old writing stuff. I discovered a piece of writing that I immediately threw away.

Now, you probably think, “It probably wasn’t that bad.”

It was bad.

It was a list.

When I was young and stupid, about 19, I decide to set some life goals. But, I didn’t really think about what I wanted to do in my life. Instead I thought about what I wanted to be able to say I’d accomplished. And I let me imagination run wild. I added a half dozen languages. I put travel. I put motorcycle racing. I put mountain climbing. I put anything and everything. And that was the problem.

My dad you to say, “You can do anything. But, you can’t do everything.” My egotistical list was a “do everything” list. It’s been years since I wrote it. And every time I thought about it I cringed. I knew it was somewhere in my papers.

I actually dreaded finding it. Or worse yet, someone else finding it.

I didn’t even bother to read through it. I think there were over 50 items on the list. I obviously don’t remember everything that was on the list. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as I remember. I’m pretty sure it was.

I did learn something from my il-advised writing experiment. I’d like to think I learned about goal setting. I didn’t. I learned about value. I learned that a few things, or one thing, done well, is much more important than 50 things done to check off boxes.

I learned that my value is defined by the person I am in the moment, not by imagining some future grand accomplishments.

I try not to look back with regret. The list was one of the regrets. I’m glad I learned that lesson when I was 19 and not when I was 57.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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  1. Patricia nelson permalink

    Its been an adventure watching you accomplish so much in your life in so many important areas. When you were young you probably couldn’t even imagen the life changing things you’ve done that impact your family and so many others. Yes!! you have deep thoughts and have always been a thinker and a writer. Through the years there will be grown men who look back on time with you and smile. “Yes, he believed in me and encouraged me.”

  2. That’s the hope. That you leave the world a little better than you found it.

    You’ve certainly been an example of that for me. Thanks.

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