It’s that time of year again.  One ending; another beginning.  Perfect time to reflect on what happened—or didn’t—in the year passing and prepare for new opportunities in the year to come.  I’ve already decided that I want to publish some of what I’ve written in the last eight years and do more writing in 2022.

I’ve never been one to promise the old standbys: lose weight, get fit, quit smoking and drinking so much, be a better partner or father/grandfather.  I mean, I’ve lost about 95 pounds in the last eight years and put in a home gym where I seem to spend most of every morning.  I’m always trying to stay away from my pipe and cigars a bit more.  I really do need to limit my alcohol intake, but it’s hard to make pledges like that at the holidays.  Maybe in January….  Honestly, I don’t know what more I can do for my wife and sons, steps, and grandkids.  I love them all to distraction and feel like I’m doing what I can.  I suppose I could look a little harder for ways to help them all.  I’ve not heard any complaints.

Those really aren’t things that need a special “commitment ceremony” on January first.  Actually, I tend to think about them all just about every morning as I’m trying to wake up and get the day started.  My daily “To Do List” generally includes something for everyone, one way or another.  One of the best things about retirement is being able to schedule my life as I see fit.  All too frequently these days, however, I have to work around doctor’s appointments and repair people.  On the other hand, my wife and I keep ourselves pretty busy enjoying life, too.

Maybe my New Year’s resolutions should be to do that more.  More travel to places I’ve never been or return to places I’ve loved.  More concerts and shows.  More hikes in the wild corners.  More time with family and friends.

I don’t feel like I’m shirking my civic duties or tarnishing any legacy I might have when I’m “just having fun.”  I wrote some time ago that this is my “selfish time.”  At my age I need to pack as much living as I can into every minute, don’t you think?

Part of my enjoyment in life now is also being able to help with some projects that are near and dear to my heart.  True, I do tend to avoid anything that smacks of work, but I also work hard at those projects that I want to bring to fruition, whether it’s things around the house or in my family or community.

When I was a young man just beginning my career and family, my unstated resolution for my life was to help people.  I tried to do that in my teaching career and with my spouse and children and friends and in my community wherever I was living or working.  I like to think I’ve been successful.  I’m not going to go into specifics, but most of the projects with which I’ve been involved are going great.  I have former students who are changing the world, literally.  My sons and their spouses, my step-daughters and their husbands, are amazing.  My grandchildren are so full of promise and talents that it’s hard to keep from bragging on them. (OK, I do it anyway.)  I like to think I’ve had some influence on all of these.

Maybe my resolution is to try and be an example for others of how to enjoy life.  I do that very, very well!  Here’s a tip.  Every now and then, stop.  Take some time to just look at the world around you.  I know it’s cliché, but stop and smell the roses, and the coffee, and new-mown grass, and your granddaughter’s hair, and snowfall or rain.  Stop and listen to the breeze and the birds and children’s laughter.  Stop and think about where you’ve been and how you’ve succeeded in getting to that point.  Just stop and take a deep breath.  I think that’s one of the things I enjoy most in my retirement.  It’s easier for me just to sit and think.  Or just sit.

I guess that’s my New Year’s resolution: Live.  I was at a point a few years ago where I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that.  Now it’s what I enjoy most.  I made my motto then, when I decided that I’d keep going, to live: Do It Now!

Feel free to borrow it for yourself.  Life is a wonderful thing if you live it!!


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