Let’s live like we mean it!

If all the broken New Years Resolutions in all the world were laid end to end… Well, you get the idea. Resolutions, like piñatas, are meant to be broken.

So why do we bother?

What is it within the human spirit that craves this annual exercise in tenacity and torment, and eventual futility? What forces us each New Year — when all things start fresh and tidy — to grab all that promise and turn it into failure?

Lose weight. Save money. Get fit. Aside from the occasional flagellant, who sees any fun there? Resolvers, and that includes you and me, do so at loggerheads with our deeper nature.

Almost always, in two days or two weeks or, if we’re especially stubborn, two months we stumble over the simple fact that whatever the quest, we were quite comfortable, thank you, last December 31st.

For 2007, I have a better idea.

Instead of basing resolutions on wishful thinking and advertising stereotypes, how about resolving in 2007 to have no regrets for the year? Think of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” Think of Frank Sinatra!

The surprising result of a recent Columbia University survey proved what any senior over 60 already knows: It’s not indulgence that drives regret. It’s the stuff we didn’t do.

In other words, one is more likely to regret choosing virtue than have guilt over indulging in vice.

Think back. Remember all those never-stolen kisses? Those “Oh, I shouldn’t” moments when indeed you should have? How about those untaken trips, never-bought treats, and would-be friends to whom you never reached out?

Let 2007 be the year you end such regrets. Really, isn’t it time?

Instead of the tight-jawed doggedness required by most New Years resolutions, resolving to have no regrets in 2007 requires the very opposite. Lightness. Freedom. Spunk and creativity.

It requires dancing as if no one is watching. That, in fact, is the secret.

Next time you see someone you’d like to meet, look them in the eye and smile. It’s that simple. “Oh, I shouldn’t,” we say to ourselves. “What will they think?”

First, know that thinking is the enemy. Just do it! And I promise that the person you smile at will smile back. In this day and age, it’s like a little miracle.

Then say “Hi!” Introduce yourself with all the charm we both know you have.

Another example of turning a regret into a delight: Speak the truth about how you feel, not what you think folks want to hear.

Tell someone boring, “Sorry, I don’t have time for this.” Because you don’t!

And when the blowhard from down the block jumps on her high horse to tell you “how it is,” don’t just nod in social agreement. Tell her that you think she’s full of it. And tell her why.

Believe me, you won’t regret that for a moment.

Beginning to see the possibilities? Think. What is it that you’ve wanted to do for a long time but…? A friend of mine long felt that volunteering in the community would open doors to self-satisfaction and friendship, but never got up the gumption to actually do it. Then, impulsively, she did. After a phone call and a short drive, she found not just validation and new friends, but the awakening of new interests and talents she never knew she had.

Remember folks, we’re not getting any younger. Let’s live like we mean it!

I plan to be truly alive in 2007. It takes but one resolution: To have no regrets. To live full and energized like Mark Twain who said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do… Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover…”

Happy New Year, everyone!

Copyright © 2006  – Frank Kaiser
Care to comment on this week’s Suddenly Senior? Write to Frank, care of this newspaper, or frank@suddenlysenior.com. His Website, http://www.suddenlysenior.com, includes senior humor, nostalgia, trivia, “222 Best Senior Links,” and senior jokes galore.