A New Year Lesson

David Simmonds

Every year about this time I pull out a yellowed, old piece of paper that I have held on to for about 30 years. I first read it at a time when I had to make some life-long decisions, a time when several different paths were within reach, some safer than others. The message has served me well with few very few regrets along the way. Here it is:

The Following Written By An 85 year-old man, who has just learned he was going to die:

“If I had to live my life over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time, I’d try not to be so perfect. I’d relax more, I’d limber up. I’d be sillier than I’ve been on this trip. In fact, I know very few things that I would take quite so seriously. I’d be crazier, and I’d certainly be less hygienic.

“I’d take more chances, I’d take more trips, I’d climb more mountains, I’d swim more rivers, and I’d watch more sunsets. I’d eat more ice cream and fewer beans. I’d have more actual troubles and few imaginary ones.

“You see, I was one of those people who lived life prophylactically and sanely and sensibly, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have my moments, but if I had it all over to do, I’d have more of those moments. In fact, I’d try to have nothing but wonderful moments side by side.

“I’ve been one of those people who never went anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it all over again, I’d travel lighter next time.

“If I had life to live over again, I’d start barefoot earlier in the spring and I’d stay that way later in the fall. I’d play hookey a lot more. I’d ride more merry-go-rounds. I’d smell more flowers. I’d hug more children. I’d tell more people that I love them. If I had my life to live over again. But, you see I don’t.”