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Front Page » January 1, 2008 » Opinion » Staff editorial: Old strategies to start the new year
Published 2,423 days ago

Staff editorial: Old strategies to start the new year


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Each New Year's Day I swear I will try some new thing during that coming year that I haven't done before.

Now I have been making that pledge for about 40 years and I find I am not closer to doing some of the things I have proclaimed on each Jan. 1 since 1967 than I was when I was 15 years old.

Okay, I have done some of what I said I would do, but not particularly well. Generally people make resolutions to get better at stuff; I make them to become mediocre at things I haven't tried before. Because of this experience in failure, I have come to the conclusion that it is more fitting to set small monthly goals in relation to new endeavors rather than trying to bite off a whole year at once.

The reason? When I was a kid, a year was a long time. As school resumed after the holidays, it seemed like forever until Christmas arrived again.

Now I feel like I am sticking my head out of a box car on a circular track where all the days seem to be getting closer together. The track seems to get shorter each year, and I know one day the train will jump that track and there will be no more days left for me.

Consequently I have set monthly rather than yearly goals. For instance, if I make a pledge to loose some cholesterol points by only eating one Almond Joy a week during the month rather than eating them daily (a habit I began in seventh grade each day after the wonderful school lunch we were served in the mid-1960's) I seem to start to have withdrawal from the coconut oil more quickly.

Now I know it should seem just the opposite; with time moving faster for me, one luscious bar should suffice until the next week. But instead I feel like I am trying to cram every last bit of joy (Almond that is) into my remaining time on this earth.

Remember the saying "Live each day like it was your last"? Well with this years beginning I have decided to follow that advice. It goes along with another old timers saying, "Life is wasted on the young." And since I am an old timer I should follow all this advice.

There are a lot of things I wish I had been exposed to when I was young, like hang gliding. surfing, free hand rock climbing, bungie cord jumping, etc. Now I that I truly have less time on this planet I am beginning to think I should try some of this stuff. Sure I don't move like I used to, you know creaky old knees and parts of me have been taken out over the years by various anatomical mechanics, but I'm still good for it. The basics are still there. I have all my limbs and they still move, even if they don't have the range of a nerf ball. So, beginning with this month I think I will throw my elderly caution to the wind and try some new things.

Of course I will still want to stay with my small monthly goals on these endeavors. I will begin by reading an article a month about each of these new adventures I want to try. That could go on for at least a couple of years; you know, you can never have enough information.

Then I will have to research the kinds of equipment I will need to start doing these things. With small monthly goals, that could take another couple of years.

Then I will need to start a savings account to buy things like a surf board, hang glider, rock climbing gear, etc. I sure can't take that out of the house budget without protests from the resident accountant so I will have to save for five or six years for that.

Then there are lessons. You need lessons to learn to do this stuff. I need to save for that too.

Finally there is travel to just the right spots to have the top adventure I can get. Hang gliding I can do at the point of the mountain, not far away. But surfing? Scofield just won't do for that so the way I see it I just can't go anywhere but Diamond Head for the ultimate in fun. So I will need to save even more money to travel to just the right place to do these things.

At the end of this week I will turn the corner on my 50's. With all those things to do, in small increments mind you, so I can reach my goal, I figure I will be at least 70 before I can get to the point where I can do this stuff on my own. By that time hopefully I will be retired and have all the time in the world to pursue these new sports. Of course I will also be on fixed income, or judging by the way things are going with social security, no income at all. That should make it even more interesting.

But best of all, by then no one will remember that I wrote this so if I chicken out few people will know the difference.

See, I really can appear to keep those resolutions.


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January 1, 2008
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