I have a grand-nephew whom I love dearly. He is smart, kind — just a love. I call him “Teddy Bear.” But he often looks at life’s glass as half-empty. The other day, he posted yet again another “why me…” story on Facebook.

I replied with: “Hey. Teddy Bear. I have an exercise for you. Get a pencil.” Then I told him a story of mine from college.

In the mid-’70s, I was living in California and taking college night classes. My favorite class, and professor, were in psychology. My professor gave us a quick class exercise: Make a quick list, don’t think it over, just quickly write down 10 things you’d like to be doing in your life. Done.

Next, take those and make an “A” list and a “B” list. Divide the things into five that you like best on the A list and the others on the B list. Done.

Now, tear the B list up. OK.

Now, rearrange the five things on the A list (you still with me?) in order of preference. Don’t overthink. Just do it quickly. Once we’d done that, she said: “Look at the first thing on your A list. Ask yourself ‘Why aren’t I doing it?'”

Then we had to write a paper about it. Guess what was number 1 at the top of my list? “I’d like to be living on the coast of Maine (my native state) and writing from home for a living.”

There was a popular TV show at the time called “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.” Mrs. Muir, a single mother in California, had picked up her skirts and daughter and moved to the coast of Maine and started to write for a living. The big old sea captain’s house she lived in happened to have the charming ghost of the captain whose house it had been also living there. (I loved that show.)

The next assignment was to write a piece about the one person who impacted you most in life.

I wrote about my Grampa Roy, a Maine Guide on a North Woods farm where I lived for my formative years. I was the fourth generation on the farm since it was built. Most of you are now long familiar with Grampa Roy.

We were supposed to type our assignments, but I had no typewriter, so I called upon my long-ago award-winning penmanship skills from elementary school, hoping that would compensate toward my grade.

I still have that paper tucked away somewhere. On the top corner, my professor had written: “A1/A1” and a note: “I like you! I like you!” And she asked me: “So why aren’t you back on the East Coast writing?”

Well, I did get back to the Maine coast, I did make my living writing, freelance in the beginning. I did a stint as a feature writer/photographer, investigative reporter for a statewide paper (Linda Bean’s The Maine Paper), short pieces here and there for magazines, started this column in the mid-’80s while simultaneously editing the Home & Family page, did a stint drawing the editorial cartoons, had a second column going in the Camden Herald, published, edited, wrote and illustrated my own small tab titled Down East, wrote pieces for state/D.C. politicians, etc.

Now long retired, I’m still writing this, my first column, 36 years and running.

Unfortunately, no charming ghost — but we can’t have everything.

Make a list.

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, a Maine native and graduate of Belfast schools, now lives in Morrill. Her column appears in this paper every other week.

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