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It's A Gray Area: Make the most of life and smile

December 30, 2011|By James P. Gray

As hard as it is to believe, the year 2012 is now upon us. And I am only just now about ready to face the Y2K problem!

But with the sobering understanding that time will continue to fly by, I now ask you: Knowing what you know now, if you could have given yourself some advice 10 years ago about how best to live your life, what would it have been?

My answer would be to quote Col. Potter from an episode of "MASH:"

"If you ain't where you're at, you're no place."

I would tell myself to try to make where I'm at to be as good a place as it can be. Every day.

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Taking this thought to heart, that means that even if you or I are sick, in jail, in a hard marital relationship, in a demanding or, even worse, boring job, or are a single parent with all the demands that situation can entail, each of us should bear in mind that there are literally millions of other people all around the world who would do virtually anything to be in our situation instead of theirs!

In addition, one of the saddest things I can think of is when people who are on their deathbed look back at their lives and regret not having done a particular thing, or, even worse, regret something they actually have done. So if that is where you are, do what you can to realize your desires, on the one hand, and undo the things you have done wrong, or, at least, make amends for them, on the other. Don't wait, do it now.

The best way to accomplish the goals or changes you have decided upon is to announce that intent publicly to your friends and family. More than anything else, this will help you follow through, because in many ways it will be too embarrassing not to do so.

Looking back over my life, the thing that I would regret is never having learned to play the piano well enough to accompany myself when singing. So I hereby announce to you that by the end of 2012, I will be playing the piano. You can also accomplish your goal, whether it is to quit smoking, go river rafting through the Grand Canyon, raise beautiful roses, or write that book that has been in the back of your mind for years. But don't forget to announce that decision publicly, like I just did.

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