I’ve never been one for making New Year’s resolutions. I think I am pretty good at keeping my goals in mind year round, and a date doesn’t really affect them all that much. I also know that if I make some, I probably won’t keep them. I’m more of a keep track sort of person when December 31st rolls around. It’s time to box up the bills and receipts from the year and get a fresh box for the new ones. In that box are also pictures and cards, and other odds and ends memory stuff I want to keep. It’s then I kind of sort things out in my mind about the year and where I made improvements and where I fell short. I was able to see the whole year in a few hours of organizing the box getting ready for doing my taxes.
When I was flat ass broke and finally got a career where I was saving money, it was fun to count up my net worth at the end of the year to see how much I improved over the previous year. Then through a couple of stock market crashes, job changes, bonehead investments, and having kids ended the fun in that. It’s no fun to watch going backward. Now I don’t do that anymore.
This was also a good time to assess my health. Money is important, but if you feel lousy it doesn’t matter if you have any or not at the time. I’m not one of those gung-ho types who join the gym on January 1st and work out until February, then move on to something else. I work out year-round, sort of a stress reliever for me. Assessing my health for me was making sure my pants fit the same, making sure my vitamin routine is up to date, getting a physical to check the other stuff, and thinking about what I could improve in the coming year.
OK, those two things are mostly in my control. Relationships, on the other hand, don’t seem to be. Seems that around Christmas has been the make or break for many of my relationships. Probably not much different than anyone else. It does make you a little gun shy of the Holiday approaching, and a little relief when you get through it still intact. That changing of the clock on December 31st always make me think about who I am with, how is it working for me or her, and what can I do to improve it. It also makes me think sometimes I can’t. And that’s sad.
This year with New Years approaching, I feel different. I have been thinking about it for a while now to try and find the words. Bear with me.
I will be turning 65 years old in the coming year. I already have my Social Security and Medicare lined up. I have officially retired, which has been a dream for a long time. Not to retire per se, but to have the freedom from working a 9 to 5 just to pay the bills. Financially, I am going to be ok. Not going to live like Donald Trump, but I have enough.
I’m living in Maui, which has been my dream for over 25 years. I have broken away from dreadful Minnesota winters and muggy buggy summers. I know many of you are having a brutally cold winter. I feel your pain. If you think I go to the beach every day, sleep in till I want, and stay up as late as I can, you would be right about one of them. I do go to the beach every day, even in the rain, but I get up to take the kids to school and go to bed at ten, my choice.
Speaking of kids, I did it right, at least for me. Having them late in life has been a complete blessing that I get to enjoy and spend so much time with them now. I can’t imagine my life without them. I guess I can, it would be lonely and dreadful.
When I am not with the kids, right now I am not in a relationship so my time is mine to do what I want. That’s a bit hard for me to get used to, to be honest. I have committed so much time and effort taking care of others, I think I neglected to find out what I want out of life. Maybe I should get a dog.
And this brings me to where I am today, this year, going into next. I don’t have to work if I don’t want to, I’m living in my dream place, I have my kids and my time of my own. Then why do I feel like I’m not there yet?
Maybe because there is no “There”. Life really is the journey your soul takes. “Life is what you make of it” isn’t just a cute little saying, it is really the most honest reality of you. You may learn from your mistakes, and get plenty of second chances, but there is no do-over. You get one shot.
Sometimes I lived life like a speeding freight train, my life going by like blurred telephone poles. I think back now and wish I would have taken the leisurely scenic route instead. I have no regrets though. I lived my life the best way I knew how.
Like a great book you can’t put down, I have been looking forward to the ending, kind of like the point I am at right now, but also like a great book, I never want it to end. That is the paradox of life. We are always waiting to be “There”, but when we get there, we want more. I guess I will just have to read the sequel.
I truly believe that I am not my body. I am the soul who inhabits it. My body is my experience with this wonderful time on Earth as life. My soul is the benefactor of all the pleasure and pain and wonder and feelings that my body goes through in a lifetime, and when it’s time is done, lives on. I haven’t always thought this way. I wish I would have.
You know that jaw-dropping feeling you get when you get away from the lights and the noise on a cloudless starry night. That feeling is your soul (the real you) connecting with the universe. You feel so small in its vastness, yet so connected that time stands still.
2018. I think next year will be a year full of surprises, of many happy moments, and some sad ones. It will be a year of change and a year of stability. A year of peace and a year of conflict. There will be ups and there will be downs. It will be a year like all the rest.
I think I am qualified to offer life advice to my kids, no one else. So I would like to offer some to them as someone who has lived a great life, and hopefully have many more years to come, and want to share some wisdom picked up along the way. These are some of the things I wish I had known when I was young and would have been smart enough to listen to them.
There is only one person you have to live your life for. You. Without being the best you, what can you offer others? Love yourself first, and the love you give others will be sincere and with all your heart.
Love your family. They are your rock, who will always be there for you. When it’s time for you to have your own family, be their rock.
Plan for the future, let the past go, live for today.
Live in the moment. Every second is a gift. Even the small things will haunt you if you pass them by. Put yourself into life 100%, and you will have no regrets.
Ask someone to dance. I guarantee you will regret it if you didn’t.
Roll with the punches. Sometimes life doesn’t go the way you want and gets hard. That will end. If you think that something good will come from something bad, you will be right. It also works the other way, so always be positive.
Don’t judge. This is probably the most destructive thing you can do to yourself. Judging others doesn’t hurt them, it hurts you. You become cynical and mean. This will take a lot of fun out of your life.
Work hard, play hard, and know the difference. There is a time for both.
Take risks with money and love. Playing it safe all the time will give you a mediocre life to look back on. Taking risks will give you an extraordinary life.
Don’t overthink everything. You will be paralyzed by indecision. Sometimes you have to go with your gut and hope for the best.
Make a difference in someone’s life. Give more than you take. It doesn’t have to be money. Sometimes a kind word, some deserved praise, or a hug is all it takes.
True success is measured by the love, peace, contentment, and happiness you have in your life, regardless of how much money you have.
Make a difference in this world. Leave it a little or a lot better than you found it.
Take care of the Earth and all its inhabitants. We are all here for a reason, and we may not know what that is all the time. We all deserve to be here.
Take care of your body. Give it lots of rest, good food, regular exercise, and loving care. It’s got to last your soul a lifetime to live in.
Stay away from drugs and alcohol. Besides ruining your health, wealth and relationships, it will cause you to miss out on the best that life can offer. I can tell you, any decision ever made under the influence has never been a good one.
Be patient and kind. Two qualities above most others. If you have these two, others will be attracted to you and make your life easier.
Never stop learning. This universe is such a miracle. To grow as a person, keep an open mind to every possibility.
Keep a daily journal. You will not regret it. I didn’t and wish I did.
Finally, know there are no limits to what you can do or become. There is a whole big world out there just for you to enjoy. Follow your dream, and start by dreaming big.
They say that writing your thoughts down is good therapy. I have to admit, this has helped me with some of the issues I have been facing. I now realize this isn’t about me. It took me 65 years to get to this place, at this keyboard, to write down some things my kids may someday read, and something just might strike a chord to help live a more fulfilling life.
When the new year is upon us, I am going to start over, again. Not as in a New Years resolution sort of way, but in that sequel to my “Book of life” kind of way. I feel that my life is on the right path, and have continuing hope for things to come. I feel blessed to be alive and in good health. I am lucky.
When will I be there? Who cares. Sit back and enjoy the ride…..
Happy New Years……and may your life be always blessed.