Oh, to live life over or at least better. Many of us tire of New Year’s resolutions—the same ole, same ole. I vow to eat better, lose weight, and be a kinder person. I vow to get my finances in order and play with the kids more. Yada, yada, you know the drill. But what if this year we simplified our aspirations, plans, and resolutions to two categories: life-giving things and life-draining things.
A dear friend gifted me with Emily P. Freeman’s book, The Next Right Thing, and Emily suggests looking at our days through the lenses of what boosts us with LIFE and what weighs our life down. In a sense, this is applying the ever-popular organizer, Marie Kondo principle of keeping around possessions that bring you joy. (Spoiler: some tasks and responsibilities like taking out the trash and cleaning the bathroom are not necessarily joy-inducing, but we do them to make way for more joy, order, and serenity in our lives. And our family, friends, and neighbors appreciate our efforts.)
Another Way Forward
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for first-of-the year introspection . . . to a point. It can be healthy to take stock and tweak our priorities with achievable and actionable goals, but so many resolutions are not sustainable and leave us by February in a pile of exasperation and guilt.
May I share one other way to step forward in our 2020? In considering how to freshen and invigorate our lives this year, I’d like to propose we pick one or two things off these condensed “resolution lists” of beloved humor writer Erma Bombeck and Kentuckian Nadine Stair who wrote her list at age 85.
If I had My Life to Live Over
I would have:
• talked less and listened more.
• invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
• eaten the popcorn in the “good” living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
•taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
• never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
• sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.
• cried and laughed less while watching television—and more while watching life.
• never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
There would have been more “I love yous” . . . more “I’m sorrys”
. . . but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute
. . . look at it and really see it . . . live it . . . and never give it back.
If I Had to Live My Life Over Again
85-year-old Nadine Stair of Louisville, Kentucky
I’d like to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax. I would limber up. I
would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual
troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day
after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had it to do over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never
goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay
that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more
merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.
So 2020, we’re ready to roll down the car windows, cry and laugh watching life, ditch the travel thermometer, and definitely eager to eat more ice cream and less beans. Game on, LIFE on!