A while back, a friend of mine told me that her mother’s aunt used to stand in front of the stove, cooking dinner, wearing a full-length mink coat and her best jewelry.

This is my kind of woman. Not just because she sounds slightly insane and obviously doesn’t care if somebody breaks a tooth on a diamond brooch in the meatloaf; but because this kind of behavior represents a “live for today” attitude that I pretty much suck at.

Don’t get me wrong, my furniture isn’t covered in clear plastic (yet). I don’t reuse toilet paper (yet). I do manage to have a little fun. But all too often in my life, I’ve “saved the good china”.

And then, I lost a work friend to diabetes. And another friend’s longtime partner to AIDS. And last week, my partner’s twin brother to liver disease. All of them in their 30’s or 40’s. All in the space of a few months.

And I began to think that life is waaay too short. So maybe I should just go crazy. Maybe I should take a trip around the world or try out for America’s Got Talent or blow all my money on a talking robot.

Of course, I can’t take months off of work to backpack the world. And it’s unclear exactly what talent I actually have. And I don’t really need one more person yelling at me on a daily basis.

Maybe I’m just too practical for my own good. I’ll probably end up in the spirit world going, “Damn, why didn’t I show up at Starbucks in my SpongeBob p.j.’s? Why didn’t I hand out $100 bills at homeless shelters? Why didn’t I rent an Amish buggy to drive to a rave?

Which leads me to a question: What constitutes “living for today”, and what is just plain irresponsible?

Trying to balance having a life of No Regrets with the possibility that you might outlive both your money and your liver is not exactly easy. I’d kinda prefer not to hit my expiration date lying in some gulag nursing home staffed by Nurse Ratched and the guy from Saw.

 So what’s the answer?

Maybe Controlled Crazy. Maybe I’ll travel as far around the world as I can get in two weeks. Maybe I’ll try out for a stand-up comedy class at the Improv. Maybe I’ll blow $100 on a talking pedometer.

Hey, baby steps.