For me, every year when my birthday comes around I am excited. It’s because my birthday has become a great day for re-evaluating my life. Every December 14th I write a few pages about my life. What I love, what I hate and interesting things in between. I’ve always subscribed to the belief that life could feel better if I keep working on the recipe. I don’t believe that “this is just the way it is”. Everything is open to renegotiation. To change. Every year now on my birthday I go back and read last years assessment. It’s fascinating.
Do you make New Years Resolutions? Do you make the same ones every year?
One birthday a few years ago I saw the pattern. I was complaining about the same things every year. My wish list was the same too. I didn’t seem to be changing many of the things I declared were important. So what to do about it?
I began to see that my life was full of habitual patterns.
Even the habits I want to change, I don’t seem to manage. On the wish list every year? I wanted to do more yoga, find more time to read, and get back to water colour painting. And every year I wanted less running around and less time doing work I didn’t’ like. But, every year, it was the same. I didn’t do more of what I wanted and I didn’t get rid of what I was tired of. Sound familiar?
This year for my birthday I’ve decided to outsource this task. My idea? For the week around my birthday I made coffee dates. I met with people in my life that I’ve known a longtime, some were mentors to me, some are new. All of them inspire me in one way or another. I asked each of them a question.
From your life experience so far, what would you say it is important to say yes to?
What have you learned to say no to?
It’s a simple question, but the answers have been profound. My friends would drop into themselves for a moment and I could hear the subtle click and lock in of their answer. Each person offered me something that they deeply knew to be true.
Each answer pointed me to a bigger way of living. It’s not about doing more yoga or eating less chocolate. It’s about what is at the root of these choices. How I view myself .
I’ve been writing their responses on little recipe cards. Eventually I will make a poster board and hang it in my home office. A reminder of the wise friends I have cultivated. But also a reminder of the life I can live.
Bring on my fiftieth year. I ‘m ready. And I’m changing.