2016 resolved: Breathing, appreciation, happiness

Rick Jacobs
Rick Jacobs

What to do, what to do.

It’s the age-old dilemma. A brand new year is upon us and with it all the hopes and dreams that any new start brings.

THIS is the year I do this.

THIS is the year I do that.

But is it?

Very few of us wake up on January 1st without a feeling of some sort of resolve. If the hangover is bad enough we may resolve never to drink again. That resolution may increase exponentially after the YouTube video goes viral and you read some of the dozens of text messages and emails your friends and relatives sent.

Some of the subject lines include:


“Dude! What were you thinking???”

“I’ve never been so embarrassed.” (From your mom)

“My attorney will be in touch.” (More than one if it was a particularly good night)

I’m really, really glad my revelry years were pre-smart phone era.

Really, really glad.

There are other advantages that being older brings, especially when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. I turn 60 this year, and that is significant. The years behind me are considerably more numerous that the ones ahead. That means I can throw out resolutions such as, “I’m going to climb Mt. Everest before I die.”

Yeah, that won’t happen.

Or, “I’ll do the Ironman Triathlon by next year.”

Kinda doubt it.

“I’m going to be a millionaire and …”

A thousandaire is far more attainable. Only $700 to go.

No, my resolutions are simpler than that. Here are a few:

  • I resolve to keep breathing.

Don’t laugh. Folks my age keel over all the time. And what happens is they stop breathing. Every single person who kicks the bucket stops breathing. So I don’t want to do that.

  • I resolve to appreciate time.

Life is both fragile and fleeting, I enjoy Radio Classics on my XM radio. All the actors and actresses I listen to were, at the time, young and healthy and had their whole lives still ahead of them. Most of these programs were recorded 60 or 70 years ago, so the players are all pretty much dead now. In six or seven decades a whole lot of us will be in the same boat.

So seize the day.

  • I resolve to be happy.

All my life I have worked hard and, at times, played hard. But mostly I’ve worked. I’m a tad weary of working. I’d like to play now and I think that would make me happy. I’d like to write more. I’ve written one novel and I’d like to write another. That would make me happy. I want to play more golf. That would make me happy. I would like to take my grandchildren to Disney World. I would like to watch them experience the thrill of Walt for the first time. I would like to see that special smile. That would make me really, really happy.

  • I resolve to appreciate life.

None of us, if we’re truly honest, has a clue why we’re here. I have to believe there is a reason for our existence upon this great big blue-and-white ball of mass we call Earth. After much thought and reflection, this is what I believe:

There are billions of galaxies. The sheer vastness of space is beyond human comprehension. On this planet alone, since the dawn of time, there have been billion and billions of births. Yet, on June 15, 1956, I was born.

I was born.

And if you take a microscope and analyze every single minute of my life, when it comes down to it, no matter what else you discover, there will be one irrefutable fact.

I matter.

And that, my friends, is what makes life, and all of its mysteries, worthwhile.

So I don’t wish you a Happy New Year. I wish you a Happy Life. 2016 is but a small segment of your overall time where you matter.

The YouTube video will be forgotten. Your mother will get over it. And one of these days a three-year-old sweetheart with brown hair and a beautiful smile will wrap her arms around you and say, “Papa!”

And nothing else will matter. Because, in that instant, if your resolutions were similar to mine, all of them will have been realized.

She will take your breath away.

You will appreciate every minute you spend with her.

She will make you happy.

And, all of a sudden, life will make sense.

Written by Rick Jacobs, who may be reached at rick45@aol.com.