It was inevitable. After putting it off for years, the time has finally come to join fellow “oldies” and write a “to do” list. It won’t exactly be a bucket list, because it doesn’t really stress earthly matters. It’s more of an attitude adjustment, a living in the moment.

Let’s call it a “more or less” ledger that starts today. Although I may have had lists in the past with items crossed off as tasks or occasions were accomplished, this one is different. 

To begin, write and cross off the negative outlooks that may have unwittingly crept into your life. Leave less time for regrets.

If you are up to number 36 on your TV volume control or have trouble reading the newspaper, there may be a problem. Reporting this to your doctor may be in order. Enjoy the happy memories of days before the aching joints appeared, when walking a mile or two was fun, or it wasn’t a hardship to kneel in church or stand in line at the grocery store. Move toward activities that will help and not aggravate any health problems.

The extra 10 (20, 30?) pounds are still there, but less stressful exercises and consistent short distances can be helped by a cane or walking stick. If necessary, use a cane or walker to move out of your chair and walk around the house.

If you know someone with a negative attitude, find ways to help change this to a positive viewpoint. Some people may need to be told outright that their “down on everything” mindset can affect their life in several ways – lack of friends, health, even family relations. No one likes a grouch.

It’s called “the aging process.” Like wine or cheese, we can’t just sit on the shelf and become desirable. We, too, need to be moved to realize our greatest potential. There is still much to be done. 

When it comes to more, looking forward is the key. Update family stories and memories and you’ll find incidents pop up with each conversation or visit. Start or continue to record your unique life story, especially the events of early years, by interacting with relatives or friends who may refresh or offer new insights.

What did you do when you were young in the winter, summer, spring that is no longer on your radar? (Walking five miles to school in a blizzard doesn’t count.) What and who are your earliest memories? These not only can bring a smile but could be lost forever to your descendents if not shared.

Write names and possibly dates on the back of pictures in that box in the closet. How many times have you found old family pictures but haven’t a clue if this is old Uncle Matt or Uncle Ed, Grandma or Great grandma. 

Children wait to be praised more for their accomplishments. Grandchildren anticipate extra hugs and favorite stories. There are places to go and seemingly ordinary tasks to accomplish.

Plan how to include more positives in everyday life. We are blessed in Southern Wisconsin with picture book scenes. Take a drive on a pretty road on a sunny day when the roads are clear. Really look at the scenery and try to find a building or natural setting you hadn’t noticed before. Stop and take a picture when you find a good subject. 

Find more time to enjoy a good conversation with a friend, or even a stranger. Make new friends or spend time with old ones. Realize that some things, good or bad, never change. Look for more good and fewer faults in the people around you.  

Laugh for absolutely no reason (probably best when alone). Watch a sunrise or sunset. Often. Happy things need to be repeated.

Pray more, complain less. With God, what we do is less important than how we do it — with love and praise. Encourage and support those you meet. Know you’ve done the right thing no matter what other people may think.

If travel is still in your plans, choose carefully: trains, planes or automobile, maybe a bus trip or cruise. Or possibly, just a trip to a favorite restaurant, the library or theater. It could be time the children or grandchildren take over the travel plans. Unlike those early family vacations, there should be no disputes over who sits in the front seat or gets the spot by the window.

It may be a last chance and all the reason to enjoy life as much as possible. Actually, if we approached all of life in this way, we could have a much more positive and happy world.

Above all, show your love, with a smile and/or hug. It can change a dull day into one of hope for someone – and give you a lift, too.

(King, a member of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish, North Lake, is married to Thomas. They have seven children, 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.)