The Progress Bar

I was installing a software package the other day [please note: I’m at the point in my life were “the other day” means anything from “yesterday” to “six or more years ago”] and became oddly mesmerized by the progress bar.

progress bar image

I should say it wasn’t anything about this particular progress bar that got my attention, just the concept of the progress bar in general. I’ve been exposed to them, of course, for decades now (ever since the late 70s when progress bars were implemented by gerbils slowly dragging used typewriter ribbons across the monitor). But this time around the thought occurred to me: what if we had progress bars everywhere?

Think about it!

progress bar image
progress bar image
progress bar image

The more I pondered it the more intrigued I became by this idea. And then that’s when it hit me: What if you had a progress bar for your overall life? What would that be like and how would it affect the decisions you make?

The life expectancy for the average American male is around 75. Since I’m hardly average, I’ll go ahead and bump that out to 80 (mostly because I never go outside, so I’m in less danger than most of being killed by badgers). So if that’s the case, my progress bar would currently look like this:

progress bar image

Well, it’s official. I can no longer pretend I’m not middle-aged. (Yes, a simple progress bar convinced me of what my receding hairline could not.) However, this doesn’t really paint the full picture. Personally, I’m not so much concerned with the total time remaining as much as the useful time remaining. Case in point: I’ve already decided to spend the entire last decade of my life catching up on all the television shows I’ve missed over the years:

tv show logos; the twighlight zone, doctor who, the x files, golden girls

So my effective progress looks more like this:

progress bar image

Uh oh. Now I’m worried. Because I’m not sure if that’s enough time to knock off all the items on my Bucket List:

Charlie's Bucket List

Given the fact that I’m now sitting at Useful Life’s 65% Complete mark, I might have to adjust my goals. For example, settling for just two major motion pictures and one made-for-TV movie (airing on any channel but Hallmark or Lifetime).

It’s still a tall order but I think I can still pull it off. All I have to do now is write a stupid novel.

So does anybody have any good, multi-million dollar ideas they’re willing to share? If so, I’ll let you come to the premiere with me.  :-)


I’ve written over four hundred blog posts over the last several years. As we kick off yet another year (and as I look over my Bucket List again) I realize one of the many items not on the list is “Write four hundred more blog posts.”

While I could do that, I’m forced to ask myself: what more that would get me? What would I say about the trials and tribulations of dieting that hasn’t been said a thousand times over? Thoughts such as these have spurred a fair bit of soul searching on my part lately and I keep coming to the same conclusion: Back to the Fridge has hit a major milestone:

progress bar

It’s time to move on.

Now, for the record, I’m not going to call it quits completely. I know far too much about myself to believe I can make a decision like “quit the blog” and actually stick to it. (“Never say never” is just one of my many, many mottos.) But I can say with some certainty that we’re at least looking at a healthy hiatus.

If you’d like to stay notified of any possible future activity, please subscribe to the Feedburner service over there on the right. Or just send an email to and I’ll keep you in the loop. Or, if you’re feeling really inspired, just leave a comment below. I love comments.

In closing, I will definitely say that this whole blogging thing has been quite the experience, full of more ups and downs than I ever expected. My sincerest thanks to everyone who came along for the ride. After all, the only reason to write is to be read.

15 Responses to “The Progress Bar”

Lily Fluffbottom said
January 3, 2012 at 1:12 am

This was absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Charlie said
    January 3, 2012 at 9:36 pm


Biz said
January 3, 2012 at 7:47 am

Waaaa! I will miss your posts Charlie, but I completely understand. Luckily, since you are my brother, I know where to find you!

I love you! Love, your prettier sister, Biz

Helen said
January 3, 2012 at 8:16 am

Oh for crying out loud! I hate it when you play with my emotions like this. You will be missed, for sure.

Deb said
January 3, 2012 at 9:52 am

Aw Charlie…. Are you sure you won’t miss us just as much as we will miss you? Hmmmmm?

No matter. If/when you decide to come back? We’ll be around* and happy to welcome anything you’ve got to share.

*Barring zombie virus breakouts and/or the Mayan Apocalypse – which happens to coincide with my next wedding anniversary (can I plan ahead or what!? Anything to get out of having to shop for another gift…)

Happiest 2012 to you and yours.

    Charlie said
    January 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    @Biz, Helen, Deb: it’s odd (or maybe not so odd) but as I was getting ready to hit “Submit” on this post, I actually thought to myself, “I bet Deb, Biz, and Helen” are the only comments I get the first day. So for being my biggest (or at least my most vocal!) fans, thank you for hanging around here for so long!

    And, in a lot of ways, that’s one of the main reasons I’m taking an extended break. I don’t know how to say this without sounding like too egotistical, but I think (most of) my posts are pretty darn good. And that isn’t by accident. They take a LOT of time. I try to make each one as unique and entertaining as possible. I can’t stand the thought of regurgitating the same content over and over and over. I see no point in that. This blog is (or was) a significant creative outlet for me. And, frankly, I do it for the feedback. Writing things that just hang out in the ether with no response at all doesn’t do anything for me. In fact, it turns the whole thing into a rather pointless chore. That’s really what began wearing me down.

    I naively thought, way back at the beginning, that if I created a one-of-a-kind site, and kept good solid content coming daily, and if I visited lots and lots of other blogs engaging others (spending anywhere from three to five hours a day on all this) that it was bound to pay off. But that isn’t what creates stickiness, or what causes people to tell two friends, who tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on . . . I slowly began to realize that you have to really touch people to make it work. You have to give them something they want at a very deep level, and cute pictures coupled with good grammar isn’t enough.

    Which is why I say it was full of ups and downs that I never imagined, and I don’t regret a minute of it. And it’s also why I’ll never say never.

    But I do need the break. That Bucket List needs some serious attention.


    p.s. I’m actually very likely to start posting more at my other blog. Feel free to visit me at ๐Ÿ™‚

Thing 4 said
January 4, 2012 at 10:42 am

I was nonplussed, so I Google plussed this.

Biz said
January 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm

You mean you didn’t want to post your same ass oatmeal every day like and people say “OMG, your breakfast looks awesome!”

Sadly, it does take a lot of time to generate some buzz – I had 300,000+ visitors in 2011, and I didn’t use social media at all.

I’ll add your other blog to my blog roll!

Michelle said
January 5, 2012 at 7:51 am

Charlie – I will miss you because I enjoy your humor so much (and yes I do own your book). I will check in now and then and head to elsewither. Keep writing – I’d love to buy another Charlie book!!

    Charlie said
    January 6, 2012 at 6:40 am

    And I’d love to write one. In fact, I’m off to do a bit of that right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

safiya said
January 28, 2012 at 4:40 am

Aw Charlieโ€ฆ. Are you sure you wonโ€™t miss us just as much as we will miss you? Hmmmmm?

Thanks by the way dude!!

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