Your Birthday Is Your Personal New Year’s Day

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?

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lynn Degele

    Happy birthday Tim! I hope you had a wonderful day with your family.

    What a wonderful post! I too have discovered over the years that I prefer to look back on how far I have come, at a time other than New Year’s. I find Easter is a time of personal renewal for me.

    My family live on the other side of the world, and friends go home to visit their families at that time, so Easter has become an opportunity for me to spend time for myself, reflecting on the past year. I then find myself thinking back to what I was doing and where I was each year at that time.

    I think it might have something to do with Easter being in the spring, which means the new growth of the trees, reflects my own personal internal renewal, and reminds me of what I want to achieve this year.

    And by taking the time to reflect at Easter, by the time my birthday arrives in June – it’s actually June 21st, so midsummer and the midpoint of the year! – I know I am on track, because I know where I want to be.

    Thank you for another great post, I follow them all by email now and having each post delivered in full in an email makes it easy to read each one as it comes in.

    • tim milburn

      Hi Lynn! Thank you for this great comment!