I'm having difficulty deciding what I want to "take to the next level." Everybody is doing it. Athletes say they are ready to take their game to the next level. Car manufacturers boast that they have already taken this year's model to the next level. Entertainers aspire to take their performances to the next level of popularity. Politicians explain that they are taking their public service efforts to the next level as they announce their candidacy for a certain office.

So, what do I do that I can consider taking to the next level? No born-in singing or artistic abilities to develop! Watching basketball is as close as I've come to being good at sports. No amount of enticement could make me reach for a political position.

I can cook reasonably well, but my natural inclination these days is to do less.

I've just about quit clipping recipes that appeal to me because my recipe box is overflowing with those already clipped that I haven't tried. My menus go more and more to one-dish meals requiring minimum preparation.

Sewing has always given me satisfaction. I clothed our girls and myself at half the cost of ready-made garments for years, even getting a blue ribbon every now and then along the way at the county fair. But the other day I needed to sew up a rip, and I thought I was going to have to look for the instruction manual to guide me in threading the sewing machine, it had been so long since I had used it.

Improved varieties of vegetables and flowering plants catch my attention when the seed catalogs come out and I am inspired to give them a try. Then I remember that if I now bend over to pull weeds from around the evergreen shrubs, my body parts hurt for days. Better leave gardening alone.

I admire persons with enthusiasm and the drive to improve their skills and accomplish more. Early on, I tried to follow my parents' encouraging to "take it up a notch," as in chopping more weeds and leaning less on the hoe. However, any recent reality check reveals that my activity levels are wavering- -- unsteady and dropping, not stretching up.

I'd better be concentrating on trying to maintain the status quo.