This post is going to be a bit more reflective (and personal) because it’s my birthday.
April 27, 1966
Like pretty much every person in the world, I can’t remember the day I was born. I love the one-liner from Stephen Wright, “I wrote a diary as a baby. The other day I was re-reading it. It said, “Day One…still tired from the move.” That makes me laugh…every time.
When you’re younger, you can’t wait for your birthday because there are probably going to be gifts involved. It’s the other great holiday to receive a present. Unless, of course, you were born on December 24. Then you face the whole “combined gift” thing. But as you get older, at least for me, it’s become less and less about what I will get and more about what I have given.
I’m not big into New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t think they work. I’ve never felt like a date on the calendar is reason enough to make sweeping changes in one’s life…at least not ones that are sustainable.
But birthdays seem different. Maybe it’s because there’s an age attached to them. When you meet someone, they always ask your name, where you’re from, and at some point – how old you are. There’s a number that you carry around with you each year. As a dad, I would always get strange looks when my kids were first born. All the moms would ask how old they were, wanting me to tell them their age in months. But I would always respond with a simple, “He (or she) is 0.” It always made me laugh. The moms…not so much.
It must be that number. It grows by one every year. It creates a sense of accountability. In my case, I’m sitting here today reflecting on what I did with the year that had a “45” attached to it. What did I accomplish (or not accomplish)? Am I where I thought I’d be? Was I a good steward of the resources, strengths, and opportunities I’ve been given?
Along with reflection, there’s a sense of anticipation. I’m looking forward to “46”. There are some projects I have lined out. There are some connections I want to make and nurture. I’m grateful that the work I did while I carried the number “45” around has created momentum and opportunity for year “46”.
One of my favorite tweets simply says, “Maturity comes with accepting responsibilities. It doesn’t come with birthdays.” (I even gave it its own page in tweedership.) My hope is that I will grow and develop in the responsibilities that I have throughout the course of this next year. I want to do significant work. I’m continuing to learn that the most meaningful things in life take intentionality. I want to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
How about you? How do you approach the birthdays of your life? What are you doing to make the most of the number you carry around?