• January 19, 2017

Another new year isn't so exciting after six decades

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Posted: Friday, December 30, 2016 7:08 pm

Don’t look now, but here comes another new year.

For some people, that means exciting possibilities and new challenges.

And I’ll admit, in my younger years, I usually felt that way, too. I even got a small thrill about putting up a new calendar with a fresh date at the top.

But after living through more than 60 of these annual calendar changes, I’m a little less than enthusiastic about the arrival of each new year.

That doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for having lived another year, especially when that year has been largely free of health issues or financial setbacks. That is a blessing indeed.

It’s just that as you get older, entering a new year comes with a little extra baggage, and with each turning of the calendar page, more unwanted “stuff” is likely to happen.

For example, after age 60, we have more health issues to deal with — little niggling things that aren’t important enough to see a doctor about, but are annoying nontheless. When you’re in your 20s and 30s, you expect stuff like that to just go away over time, and it generally does. But when you move into late middle age, these bothersome things have a way of sticking around, just to remind you that you’re not kid anymore.

For middle-agers, working an eight- or 10-hour day isn’t the breeze it was when we were younger, either, and if you need proof of that, just try to pop up and walk briskly after you’ve been sitting for more than an hour. Those creaks and pops you hear aren’t likely coming from the chair.

It’s also not uncommon for older folks to have more house problems to deal with, especially for those of us who bought existing homes several years ago and now face the prospect of repairing or replacing things like doors, windows and carpeting — and none of that comes cheap.

When that calendar year changes, it brings those must-do projects into sharper focus — especially if they were on last year’s must-do list, too.

Oh, and did I mention bills? A new calendar page means 12 more months of a mortgage, car payment, utility bills, credit card payments and the cable bill — which might as well be another mortgage payment these days.

It’s all part of being a grown-up, and after you’ve been doing it for several decades, it can lose some of its charm.

My wife has an amusing phrase she likes to use when she’s less than inspired about getting out of bed in the morning: “I really don’t want to adult today.”

Being an editor, I’m not sure you can use adult as a verb, but if you could, this would be the perfect use for it.

As those calendar pages continue to fly by, adulting can become more of a chore, which certainly takes a lot of the fun out of it.

After you’ve been running hard on that work-a-day hamster wheel for a few decades, your legs can get pretty tired.

So the challenge is how to go on adulting, as we must, while trying to have fun doing it.

I propose to set aside some time each week for something fun — even it’s just going down to Sonic for a cone or taking an impromptu walk in the park.

I also propose to do at least one nice thing a week for someone I don’t know. One way to reduce the amount of time we spend scrutinizing our own problems is to put our focus on others.

Finally, to paraphrase Bing Crosby in the classic “White Christmas,” I plan to go to sleep each night counting my blessings. It’s amazing how many come to mind when you start ticking them off.

Will the new year come with some unexpected problems? Probably. Will it also hold some happy surprises? Almost certainly.

But I’m determined to start the new year with a glass half-full mindset.

Of course, that’s my plan right now. Check back with me in 12 months.

Dave Miller is deputy managing editor for opinion of the Killeen Daily Herald and editor of the Harker Heights Herald. Contact him at dmiller@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7543.

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