Your Own New Year’s Day

So how has your year been?

People celebrate their birthdays a million different ways. Some are family oriented, an occasion for everyone to get together and catch up. Some shun the spotlight, preferring to commemorate their day alone or with a partner. Some people designate the 3 days leading up to, and the three days following their birthday as their Birthday Week. These people are interesting to me, because of the magnitude of their enthusiasm for…themselves. 

We all get to celebrate December 31 together- it’s the way we mark, as a society, the passing of a year, our accomplishments and setbacks, wins and losses. We resolve to make the next year better, we make promises to ourselves; some are kept, some pushed back, many others forgotten.

I would submit that a birthday is your unique New Year’s Day.

When you have a birthday, you mark a day that represents another 365 days that you have managed to survive.  Your experience is yours alone. Your birthday is the one day a year you look in the mirror with a different view. Some of us bemoan the fact that we have hit 25 or 40 or 50, some of us revel in these milestones.

I looked in the mirror this morning, eyes red from not enough sleep, a face sporting a scruff, and I said aloud, “What will you do now?”

If I live to be 86, I have 1,924 weeks left to live. I calculate this not from some morose sense of my ultimate demise; I’m not crossing the days off on my Yahoo! calendar or anything, but it did offer a reminder of a state of being we all must face.

Time is fleeting and precious. We only get so much time to be “young”, do to all of the things we’d like to do physically. A portion of our lives are spent being helpless (infancy), dependent (childhood) and dependent again (elderly).  The window of time available for us to do all the things we can, to meet all of the challenges we want, and to overcome the obstacles we must, is a very, very small one.

I asked myself this morning, “What will you do now?” I was being serious with me, for a moment.

Today is my birthday. It will be largely unremarkable- I have a lunch meeting and I teach tonight at Academy of Art U. The Facebook well-wishes from acquaintances and friends will be appreciated, I’ll get a phone call or two. I’ll have a very expensive glass of scotch today. I’ll do some work. I’ll be stuck in traffic at some point.

What will you do with the window of time you have? How can you live a life that brings you more joy than pain, more happy than sad, more wins than losses? Perfection isn’t necessary but progress should be a priority, and on your personal New Year’s Day, it a good day to reset and remind yourself of challenges not yet tackled.

My friend/mentor/life coach/gym guy  just texted me a sweet message. I’m lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life who care about me, like I care about them.

I have 1, 924 weeks. 1,560 of them are available to do whatever the heck I’d like to do.

I need to remind myself to make good decisions, to surround myself with people who are good for me, and to be unselfish with my time with those I care about.

The window is open. Everything is possible. What will I do?

It’s up to me.

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