A year ago this week, I posted an episode that was full of thoughts on a milestone birthday. I turned 50 last year. I was coming off a month of Whole 30, I’d been working out consistently for 9 months and was in great shape. I looked forward to 2017 with anticipation. It’s convenient that my birthday falls at the end of the year (it wasn’t so great for even present distribution throughout the year when I was a kid), it’s a double whammy for end-of-the-year review and planning. It’s a natural start to a reflective season for me.
Last year I was feeling on top of my game and looking back today, I realize that I had this idea that I never quite verbalized. I thought my fiftieth year would be epic or that I’d do something epic. A friend and I had talked about a big trip for years and circumstances changed those plans. But, still, I think I had this underlying assumption that it would be somehow bigger than it was.
Staring into the eyes of 51 seems a lot less epic. I lost my workout group in August and can’t seem to be consistent on my own. I’m not eating as well as I should. I’ve had more and deeper bouts of depression recently, we had the devastating, unexpected death of my young nephew a few weeks ago, and I’m very, very tired. I’m feeling decidedly depleted.
I ended last year’s birthday episode with a thought about the decade ahead…
As I look forward to the next decade, I commit to walking through the middle with curiosity, with grit and perseverance. I commit to being courageous. To showing up. To living without a mask. To pouring into my son and into other people. To loving lavishly, unselfishly, generously and with abandon. If I can do that. One day at a time. If I can do that, if I can write my story with the ink of love…no matter what the circumstances of my life in 10 years, my 50’s will be a resounding success.
When I was doing my yearly planning last December, I wrote this big picture intention: If I had a fulfilling year, I would be a good mom and Cody and I would have a closer relationship, we’d have adventures and grow together. I would develop a sustainable second business that would be my sole income in two years. I would influence others and help transform their lives for the better. I would make art that’s meaningful to me and to others.
Essentially, I’d set a decade and a 2017 intention at the start of my planning process last year. And, as down as I feel right now, as un-epic as I felt the year was…when I think through what actually happened in 2017 compared to those two intentions…every single thing on those lists except one (the business) I’ve accomplished. While it felt more average than I expected, I have no regrets about how I’ve lived this year. I feel somewhat depleted right now, but I have a sinus infection and I’m still reeling from last week’s funeral. Of course, I feel depleted!
Often in the past, when I’ve felt depleted, “defeated” and “exhausted” have come right along with it. But, this time, I’m not feeling defeated and exhausted. I’m feeling pretty content about where my energy has gone. I’m feeling fulfilled. I may never accomplish crazy amazing things that I might have dreamed up in my younger days. And my year might not seem epic at first glance, not flashy, but I lived it generally in service of other people.
And that’s exactly how I want to live.
Your birthday might not conveniently force this kind of reflection, but the end of the year can have the same effect. How do you feel about how you’ve lived 2017? What do you live for? Do you have changes you need to make for 2018? I’m not talking about resolutions, I’m talking about motivations and lifestyle changes.
As we start this holiday season, I’d encourage you to ask those same questions about the holidays. Why do you celebrate? What’s really important? And, how can you make what’s important central to your holiday?
How can you make what’s important to your life central to your life in 2018?
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