Take time to reevaluate life#039;s priorities

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Jane Pauley is leaving Dateline NBC. She is not retiring; instead she said she is exploring the new possibilities in her life.

Mrs. Pauley has been in the television business for 27 years, and has a successful career as one of the most recognizable faces at NBC.

Now that she has passed her 50th birthday, she is rethinking her life, looking with excitement toward the future. As she put it, she can continue the ride she is on or get off and see where a different train takes her.

Her decision struck a cord with me because just over a year ago, I got off a train I'd ridden for many years. Changing directions means changing the way you think about your life.

For me, it has been about learning to let go of a lot of stuff, something I work at everyday. It is about reevaluating what is important.

In the last year I learned you can live without a cell phone. I discovered it is not a bad thing to say "no" to doing something if saying yes causes a soul overload.

I understand taking time to watch a sunset is never time wasted, and a kiss from a child is the best paycheck in the world.

All of this soul searching made me think about another recognizable woman, one whose work I admired when she was alive and whose words I return to many times.

She wrote about the common stuff of life, and at the end of her life, she wrote about the really important stuff.

I share a few of her selected thoughts because they remind me of what is truly valuable.

Passages taken from "If I had my life to live over" – by Erma Bombeck (written after she found out she was dying from cancer):

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, &uot;Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.&uot; There would have been more &uot;I love you.&uot; More &uot;I’m sorry.&uot;

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute…look at it and really see it … live it .and never give it back

I don't know where Jane Pauley's journey will take her, but I am enjoying my own trip more every day. I think Erma would approve.