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By: L. Azar

Oh, how time flies!

The realization hit me one Sunday night as my husband, Joey, and I sat cross-legged on the sand-colored carpet of our storage room. We were buried under mounds of his old school-related paraphernalia and it sent us down memory lane for several hours. I could not contain my excitement as I grabbed each item from the giant green storage bin where it had lain all these years. Report cards, newsletters, schedules…and yearbooks. Yes, the greatest thrill by far was the yearbooks. I reached for my husband’s glossy white elementary school yearbook and settled myself against the wall.


I perused the pages until I found what I was seeking: my husband’s photo. Words of praise accompanied the then-gangly thirteen-year-old boy who smiled at me with a mouthful of braces.  His goals and aspirations were laid out for all to see and my heart skipped a beat. Joey, my husband, was indeed on the road to accomplishing all the great things everyone anticipated of him in that yearbook!

            And my next thought was: Uh-oh! Am I?

It was only natural for me to reach for my own yearbook then, which was nestled in a black storage bin not six feet away. My elementary school photo was more appropriate for blackmail than for a yearbook page. I flipped to the “In Twenty Years…” section. Next to my name? A CLOWN, Great.

            Then I remembered something else. On the brink of graduation, a teacher recommended that my friends and I create a written outline of our personal ideals and aspirations. Being young and idealistic, I did. I wrote it on the first page of a small, pink and blue notebook that served as my diary. Would the contents of that diary, detailing who I wanted to become, match up with who I was today? Curiously (and apprehensively, might I add), I unearthed that too. I opened the now-tattered notebook and prepared for a moment of reckoning.

            I read…. and I exhaled. Okay! Not too far off! At the time, the goals on my list meant everything to me, and, at present, most still do. But I still feel afraid. I wonder whether they will change. Whether life circumstances will jade my outlook. Whether I will be strong enough to set appropriate goals always and achieve them to the best of my abilities. I am grateful to the teacher who recommended the idea and hope to review page one of my diary often and be proud of who I have become.

            May I recommend the suggestion to you, too?

            Many of us live by lists. We have lists of lists; to-do lists, grocery lists, phone call lists. If you are a list-lover like I am, you draw up a Shabbat menu even though you basically repeat the same recipes every week. Without your lists, you are “listless.” If such is the case, why not keep a list of the things that matter most to you in life? Goals, values, ideals – all the lofty concepts you aspire to can be written out for you to peruse. With a list like that, you will stay forever idealistic, and more importantly, you will reach your goals.

            Remember, you are constantly growing. Your goals may shift or change, but only allow them to if it is for the better.

            Keep the list handy and review it periodically.

            Oh, and one last thing. Dig out your yearbook and take an hour to reminisce. You may just appreciate how young and sweet you looked all those years ago. And, with a bit of luck, you will smile as you realize that the person you aimed to become is the person you have become – only finer.