Instead of New Year's Resolutions, I've decided to make Birthday Resolutions. The passing of one year of my own life seems much more meaningful than the random turning of the calendar.
Earlier this month, I turned 32. In the two weeks preceding my birthday, the following things happened:
1. I received a letter from my doctor, informing me of alarmingly high cholesterol.
2. I found my first gray hair.
3. I had a conversation with a friend, in which one of us said to the other, "You know, we're rapidly approaching the age when it's strange that we don't have children."
I've been thinking a lot about the passing of time lately and also the imperative to make moments count. Maybe not every moment -- I don't need to fondly recall the 30 minutes I spent in line at the airport ticket counter, for example -- but more of them than not.
They say 30 is the new 20. I hope 32 isn't the new 22. I don't want to be wandering aimlessly through the doorway of adulthood for the next 12 months. There comes a time probably for most of us, when we realize we know who we want to be. And we realize we have all the tools and powers to make that happen. And to not make that happen results primarily from our own laziness.
I want to be the kind of person who writes thank-you notes and sends tea bags home to sick co-workers and would rather take a walk with the dog -- under the sun, with wind on my face -- than watch old TV shows on DVD with the shades drawn. And lately, when I find myself hitting the "play" button on the remote control, with the blinds closed on a fine Sunday afternoon, I know I'm making a choice. The thank-you notes won't go out tomorrow. The dog remains unwalked. My world remains confined inside the walls of my living room.
JK and I were talking last night about the relationships we have, as adults, with our friends. When you live far away and lead busy lives and barely have time for your own family, friendships become valuable real estate. Sometimes ties become strained, and sometimes they snap altogether, for reasons of distance or time or inconvenience. The people who make your world a bigger, more enriched place tend to stick around. The others fade.
I'm thinking about this as a guiding principle for how to be the person I want to be: Does this decision or action or person expand my understanding of -- or impact in -- the world around me?
So this year, my Birthday Resolution (well, in addition to not eating as much cheese - check - and also to start exercising every day - check) is to live more deliberately, to make moments matter, and to choose paths that force me to live in the larger world, instead of staying tucked in my living room, with the television for company.