life milestones

Birthdays.  The New Year.  An anniversary.  The end of summer.  Groundhog Day.  (Okay, maybe not Groundhog Day.)  Has a year really gone by so quickly?  Has ten?

In November every year, I celebrate turning the page.  It’s my birthday and I never ignore it.  It’s impossible for me not to consider what happened the previous 365 days, judge where I am in my life currently, and create some goals for next year.  I have to examine whether or not I’ve worked hard to accomplish anything and explore my growth as a person.  Some people prefer to open a present or two.  I’d rather take stock.  Like meditation, it’s an opportunity to stop, think and adjust.

When I was younger, mostly in my 20s, I tell people I pissed a lot of years away.  I can’t get them back and I have yet to make peace with that.  Until I do, I’ve made a promise to myself to not let birthdays go by without expressing gratitude for another year and looking in the mirror.  What did I do well?  Where is there room for change?

January 1st is also a day where many impose memories on the year past and create resolutions for the coming year.  It can be unrealistic, but I partake anyway.  My view of the world, while I’m watching the Rose Parade, is just that – global.  The media offers their end of the year “best” lists of books, movies, television, sports.  News outlets will often do a retrospective on what happened politically, environmentally and socially, and recap those who died.  More than anything, it seems individuals feel hope on New Year’s Day, determined to write a happy and successfully story for themselves going forward.  There’s nothing wrong with hope.

Anniversaries can be particularly profound.  Every year on March 6, I stop and think of my father on the anniversary of his death.  I’m sad but in the hustle and bustle of life, it seems okay to pause and allow that.  Most of us now reflect on September 11th about where we were on that day in 2001 and how it changed our lives.  Taking stock collectively, even for such a tragic event, feels right. 

While some might consider milestones in strictly business terms, I think of them as opportunities to consider my life on life’s terms.  It isn’t always easy, but it’s simple.