One whole week into January: Have you made any changes yet?

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.


Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.

I’ve always tended to be an optimist, looking on the bright side of life. There’s always something one can feel good about; and if it doesn’t immediately come to mind, a little musing should be able to bring it to the surface. Positive things don’t always have to be happy things, but it feels better to dwell on them anyway, rather than on all the things that can bring one down.
So you’re not in perfect health right now, but you are alive! And as an alive person, there are many things you can still do. You can research your particular condition and see what you can do to contribute to your better health. All the advice you need does not and will not always come from your doctor, whether or not you have the insurance to pay for the visits and/or the treatments he or she might recommend.
Sometimes the best advice is just to make a few adjustments in your lifestyle. 1) A truly better diet (You know what you should stop eating and start eating instead — and if you don’t know, educate yourself. Why not give it a try? You might add a few months, or even a few years, to the time you have left.) 2) Giving up smoking. (Do you think giving up smoking — this time for real — might grant you a little more time? If it really wouldn’t, then don’t put yourself through the misery, and don’t bother judging yourself too harshly over the past. The past is already dead and buried, but you’re not. So go easy on yourself.) 3) Better sleeping habits. You may not really know how important this one is. You’ve likely been watching TV late into the night, and maybe the programs were far from calming: crime, murder, abusive language, loud sounds of shootings, shoutings, and so forth, all of which interfere with good sleep habits — to say nothing of all the light from the TV, coupled with light from any other devices in the room that interfere with your sleep hormones. Remember, if you’re trying for a little more life, do something to earn it. Good sleep habits are near the top of the list. Start early and phase into that peaceful and truly good night’s sleep.
Now those are just three little things to consider if you truly wish to prolong your life even a bit. But remember, as long as you’re still alive, there are things that you probably need to do — for others.
They are vitally important if you really do care about others — about making things easier for them after you’re gone. Sure, you can put off making your will and trust (they really ought to be considered together for many reasons, not the least of which is saving your loved one/s from big, unnecessary expenses in having your will probated, for which there is a big charge.) I would love to get you to do that one thing for the sake of any who depend on you or will have to deal with your estate after you’re gone. Remember, you already told yourself you’re not in great health. Death can come knocking when you least expect it. But health isn’t the only issue that may be on your list this year.
Maybe right now, even today, you’re feeling pretty low; depressed might be the word you’d use. Your job isn’t going right (if you’re lucky enough to have a job), but that might be almost insignificant compared to your relationship. You’re on the verge of wishing you were dead (a lot of depressed people feel that way) … even though you’d prefer to stay alive and get your relationship fixed. But it looks hopeless, which contributes to the way you feel. Well, the good news is — if you’re still alive, it’s not hopeless. But it will take a different mindset to fix it … something more along the lines of “Do I want to be right, or do I want to find the common denominator for a peaceful and happy relationship?” This would not be the time to watch movies about miserable marriages or troubled couples. Consider more ways to show your love until you actually feel the love. Fake it till you can make it. However, if you and your significant other need to be apart (he or she is trying to kill you or destroy you or your life in
some way), grab your bag and run. The good news is you’ll be saving yourself and your S.O. from all that paperwork down at the police station and the long drawn out trial to see which one of you is telling the truth after the inevitable happens.
Life is really not all that horrible — but it does depend on how one plays the “game.” So far into this year, I’ve heard some tales of horror already, or at the very least, tales of woe. Maybe we can’t change what led up to this very moment — one’s current state of health, which maybe has only a short fuse left on it, or an anticipated outlook of pain for however much time one has left; or one’s totally broken relationship — but we can change one’s way of responding to the so-called mess we’re in. We can get our affairs in order if it looks like we’ll be checking out sooner than we’d like, and we can make amends with all those we’ve hurt or offended, or cheated in any way, and that alone should alleviate some of the pain
one has brought upon oneself. Of course, what one does always depends upon one’s belief system: if one believes death is the end of everything and nothing can make one see it any other way, why not take your secrets and your ill-gotten gains with you to the grave — so to speak — rather than confess your wrongs and give back what you’ve stolen? But if one believes that there is life “on the other side” and that all things must be made right in order for true justice to prevail, consider where that leaves you, if you can’t even apologize or care about those you hurt now, while you’re still alive.
Yes, the best news of the year 2021 so far is that you are still alive. Sure, the world looks like it is falling apart, natural disasters keep a-coming, the political scene is maybe the biggest mess we’ve seen in a long time, and everyone has been affected by the pandemic in one way or another; you may personally be suffering on many levels. No one is exempt from the misery of the world, the problems within their own country, or the consequences of their own making. So what can you do? Hide in a corner or a closet? Cover your head? You know that won’t help.
There are always things we can do; most of the time, people just don’t want to bother. “Life” is not going to swoop down and take away all your pain, misery and aggravation. Those things are all part of Life.
It is always up to ourselves to choose whatever it is that we want to improve or eliminate, and just do it, like that commercial for a chairlift so blatantly warns us: Just don’t fall.
So whether the change you want in your life is big or small, something that will bring you peace, or happiness, or prolong your life a little bit longer, I can sum up my advice to you in those three little words: Just do it!
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email
her at

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