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Since both my loyal readers have a constant need to stay informed I’d like to remind them that 2018 turned into 2019 and they should adjust their calendars accordingly. Is it just me or have your phone, iPad and computer replaced your wall calendars along with your wall clocks and egg timers? Seems to me that the only outdated technology we have left at our house is a land line, a rusty mailbox and checkbooks.

Unlike most of you I still write paper checks or use cash. Yup, I’m that old guy who conspicuously borrows a pen from the cashier, writes out his check, enters the amount in his ledger and apologizes for holding up the folks behind him.

I think it’s safe to say that there aren’t many of us check writers left out there because they’ve been replaced by plastic debit cards. For the stores that are electronically up to date it’s kind of weird when I write out a check and they run it through their dohickey, then hand the check back to me and I tear it up before tossing it in the garbage. The upside is that their machine magically removes the amount from my bank account so I don’t have to show them my identification.

Stores that don’t have this thing usually ask me for identification, and while digging it out I usually let the cashier know that she or he can actually find me at the phone number and address listed on my check. They usually smile, and if things work out I find my driver’s license right before crossing the line that makes the folks in the line behind me once again wonder about us old people.

So maybe it’s time to admit that I’m not only getting old but there’s a good possibility that I’m at that dreaded stage of life that’s also considered old-fashioned. While writing this thought I perused my surroundings and discovered that I’m wearing a Centennial T-shirt from 1989, my sweatpants really are sweatpants, I still curve the brim of my cap and I’m the only one left in this family who still wraps his presents in newspaper.

I seem to have lost my butt because I spend most of my day pulling up my pants, and wearing a belt chafes my love handles — besides it gives me something to do while I’m waiting for 2019 to turn into 2020. Which reminds me about my intent to do something this year. Like you, there are many moments where I’ve convinced myself that I have to do that someday, only to forget to remind myself until I end up wishing that I’d done that already. Sometimes making a note helps, as long as I can find it and decipher what it was about.

My mom used to tie a string around her finger to remind her that she had to do something. She’d tie it on her right ring finger to remind her, then shift it to her left ring finger when she completed the task (once she wore this string on her to-do finger for three weeks, but that’s another story and I need to start wrapping up here).

Of course I tried to emulate my mom’s innovation but I either tied the string too tight, causing my finger to turn purple, or too loose, causing it to fall off when I slept and therefore losing my reminder and my good intentions.

The string has now been replaced by my smartphone with a handy calendar/scheduler. The detail here is that, unlike most folks who never set their phone down, I always set the dang thing somewhere as well as leave home without it because its weight has a tendency to increase the number of times that I have to pull my pants up. Like I said earlier, most of my day is already spent doing that, so more often than not I find whatever I scheduled shortly after it was supposed to be done.

Here’s hoping that you find something more meaningful to do in the coming year. Happy New Year.

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Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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