The following was written years ago by an 85-year-old man who learned he was dying.

If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time. I wouldn’t try to be so perfect. We all have perfection fetishes. What difference does it make if you let people know you are imperfect? They can identify with perfection.

I would 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 so seriously. I’d be crazier. I’d be less hygienic. I’d take more chances. I’d take more trips. I’d climb more mountains. I’d swim more rivers. I’d watch more sunsets. I’d go more places I’ve never seen. I’d eat more ice cream and fewer beans. I’d have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I was one of those people who lives sensibly and sanely hour after hour and day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had it to do all over again, I’d have more of those moments. In fact, I’d try to have nothing but beautiful moments; moment by moment by moment. In case you didn’t know it, that’s the stuff that life is made of — only moments. Don’t miss the now. 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 over again, I’d travel lighter next time.

If I had to do it over again, I’d start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I’d ride more merry-go-rounds, I’d watch more sunrises, and I’d play with more children. If I had to do it over again … but you see, I don’t.