Birthdays and Planning for the Year Ahead

Welp, today I’m another year older. I don’t mind getting older. So far, I’ve found a lot of the cliches to be true- I’m more self assured. I know myself better than ever. I’m less bothered by things I can’t control. In the “owning who I am, accepting the things I cannot change” aspects, I’ve certainly made progress. In other “make a plan of things to grow your life” ways- not so much. Each year, I think about the things I’d like to accomplish before the next birthday, and looking back over the last several birthdays, turns out I’m TERRIBLE at executing those wish list items. In fact, I’m pretty sure everything on my list from last year is still on the docket for this year. I don’t know whether I should be impressed with my inertia, or if I should be deeply ashamed that time is passing me by so quickly with little to nothing to show for it but an unfulfilled wish list. This year, I’m determined to move on some of these items that have lingered- some for years- and I’m writing about it on the internet as a way to attempt some accountability.

The first tool I’m using to get myself organized is a planner. This may be a no-brainer to the organizational gurus out there, but for me, the most I’ve ever done is carry around a pocket calendar to write down appointments (I can’t even move to using my iPhone because it seems like too much work.) Several of my coworkers brought new Passion Planners into the office after the holidays, and I was intrigued by the combination of goal setting, and daily organization. I’m not much into visualization exercises and the word ‘brainstorming’ sends me into full system shutdown, but the passion planner does have enough of a self-help vibe that even on my most cynical days I can onboard some positivity and all that jazz, but enough pragmatic planning tips that I feel able to accomplish some shit. So I ordered one. And surprisingly, I’m using it. This week, my task is to update my driver’s license to our new address (and by new address, I mean we’ve-lived-here-4-years address).

The first of my goals for this year is to break routine. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m routine obsessed. And while routines are great, I find I’m so chained to my routine that I don’t make room for anything new. So. The routine needed a shakeup. First thing to go was a long-standing business partnership. I provided meals for someone 3 days a week, and in turn, the money I earned payed a chunk of our food bill every week. It was a great partnership. We are to the point where the money is no longer necessary (as it once was during much much leaner years) and I find I turn down opportunities to do other things for the sake of being home to cook. Now, I’ll cook 3-4 times a week, and we’ll eat leftovers the other nights. But the flexibility is already a relief and I’m glad to close the chapter on this five-year part of my life.

The second of my goals is to build new skills. I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now, and I’m still terrible with my DSLR. I basically use it as a point and shoot, and that’s a travesty. As a part of my goals for 2016, I signed up to take a basic photography class, if only to learn more about what my camera can do.

Freed up schedule- check. Enroll in new skill-building activity- check.

The third in my goals is to find a hobby that isn’t cooking, or reading. I’d like to find an active hobby. I’d love to learn how to play tennis. I’m pretty good at golf, but playing requires me to be outside with bugs, and that’s where the plan always breaks down. (note to self: add “stop being such a whiny baby around bugs” to goal list) (second note to self: add “stop hating all things like sweating, heat, effort, and exertion” to your list). See?!?! Being a new person is right around the corner…

In all seriousness, the drive to accomplish some of these things stems from my realization that time is passing- whether or not I’m active or passive in it’s passing is entirely up to me. I already feel like a decade has passed in a blink and I’ve let it pass me by. So here is to writing a plan, taking steps to accomplish the plan, and checking in next year to find I’ve accomplished a few things I set out to do with my 33rd year. Wish me luck.

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