When January comes around, it feels like a time to start over. Out with the old and in with the new. We want to change things: Habits, routines and maybe even bedspreads! We look for something new and fresh to catch our interest and move us forward into the new year. It is a hopeful time, where anything seems possible.

We may not make resolutions anymore, but our minds may wander back to those we have made in the past. I remember that I was going to start running at age 40, but by age 60 I had resolved to give those rarely used running shoes away.

There were a few years I thought I might begin a class, and I didn’t; or lose weight or exercise more. And certainly, I did have some successes; some lasted a lifetime, while others were short-lived. Today, we see magazines and ads, as well as online media, encouraging us to make those same resolutions again.

At this age, we may not be persuaded.

We are older now, experienced, and perhaps wiser. A healthy diet isn’t something for January, it matters all year long. Eating spinach and drinking pomegranate juice for three weeks isn’t going to cut it. We don’t have 50 years left to experiment with fast food and fat calories, or soda and fries. We have lived this long, and are conscious of the impact a poor diet can have on the human body.

How and what we eat may become a badge of courage, or at least pride. Not too long ago I met a woman who had a glass of wine occasionally, and has decided to stop drinking alcohol; another friend had stopped eating beef, pork, fish or chicken; and still another is strictly eating the Mediterranean diet.

While it is difficult to make dinner for the four of us, we respect each other’s attempts at healthy eating. And … we have learned a lot from each other.

Exercise isn’t something to begin and fail at in January; it is something that should permeate our lives throughout the year, whether it be taking a daily walk, going to a gym, or regularly following along with a Jane Fonda DVD right in your living room.

There is no question that even moderate exercise can lengthen a life. Once, I bemoaned to my doctor that I didn’t have time to exercise. She looked at me quizzically and asked if I thought I could find 10 minutes a few days a week to take a walk. Enough said.

And improving our minds shouldn’t just come around once a year, either. Most people our age spend time reading, doing crosswords and/or Sudoku, and studying new things in an effort to learn, keep the brain cells active and maybe even stave off dementia. Signing up for a class at Midcoast Senior College or another local offering is a way to learn, and to meet people.

And then there is strength training. If you notice that it is harder to move the vacuum cleaner around, or bring in the groceries, or carry the laundry, strength training could help. Just be sure to do it a few times a week and in the process, both your body and your mind can improve.

So, I did make one promise to myself; I am calling it a promise, not a resolution, as I am hopeful that I will be less likely to break a promise. I promised I would go through each room and remove anything I haven’t used for the past year.

So far, I have made it through my bureau, bedroom closet and bathroom cabinets. It does feel good to find things that others can use, and pack them up. I will donate it to the homeless, a local charity or Goodwill, if it is usable.

The bathroom told a story; mostly used anti-aging creams, and nearly empty shampoo bottles. And just yesterday, I heard on the car radio that 2018 will be the year against “anti-aging.”

Finally! We now have been given permission to wear our gray hair proudly, and believe that our wrinkles serve to soften our faces and give us an appearance of wisdom.

Way ahead of the trend this time. 2018, here we come!