To Do’s and Birthdays: What’s Meaningful for You?

Posted by: | August 4, 2010

Thanks to Sarah for my birthday cupcake. I ate it even before my birthday began. ūüôā

I’m not looking for your condolences or congratulations, but I thought I’d take the once-a-year opportunity to talk about birthdays.¬†¬†My birthday¬†is¬†tomorrow.¬† I come from the perspective that you should celebrate every possible thing that you can in this lifetime, because celebrations tend to mean great friends,¬†great memories¬†and yet another chance to live life fully.¬† In case you’re wondering about my sanity: no, I do not celebrate other days like International Talk Like a Pirate Day (yes, it’s a real day!).¬† I try to be reasonable about what is meaningful to me, in terms of worthy of the energies of a celebration for my family and friends.¬† So in other words, don’t try to get ahold of me tomorrow or Friday- I’m taking a mini-vacation to celebrate my big day.

So back to the topic at hand: Thursday is my birthday. In fact, it’s a big one (or so¬†the world tells me).¬† I turn 30. Yes, I’m that old.¬†Yes, I’m that young. (It depends on your perspective- I get both reactions from folks!).

Birthdays bring with them the opportunity to realize how quickly life carries us away, how many days have moved beyond our grasp and how much we have yet to accomplish.¬† Sometimes we¬†can have a sense that¬†our birthday means the closing of doors behind us, instead of the opening of doors infront of us.¬†¬†A friend¬†who recently turned 70 told me about how his¬†70th birthday has made him so much¬†more aware of time, and the lack of it.¬† It makes me sad¬†to think that at some point in our lifetime, we’ll have less days in front of us, than behind us.¬† But I think what’s important is how we use each day.

So on my 29th birthday, I asked friends and family to contribute to a list of things that I should do before I turned 30.¬† It was my attempt to ensure that I had a great year.¬† Some people started referring to it as my “Bucket List” but I like to think of it more as my “Wish List.”¬† There’s a lot on the list, and I admit that I haven’t been really great at staying on top of things.¬† But there are just some things that you need to make sure to do in this lifetime, and sometimes your friends and family have a better sense of opportunities you’re missing out on.¬† So for my birthday, I’m going to be climbing, taking my first guitar lesson, doing¬†a yoga class and spending some quality time with friends.

Lots of folks make “To Do” lists every day, but they’re filled up with tasks that don’t bring much meaning to our lives.¬† Things like wash the car and pick up the groceries.¬† For my 30th birthday, I’m starting to write to do lists with more meaning, to ensure that my days are spent fitting in the more meaningful things.¬† If I forget to wash the car, I’m sure it can manage to stay dirty for another day.¬† But if I forget to do something meaningful, I’m not likely to feel very good about myself or my life.¬†¬†I figure if¬†I leave meaningful things off my to do list, then that lack of focus on what’s really important to me will fill me up¬†like a poison.

So really, what do you really need to do?¬† That’s my wish for my 30th birthday: that you (and more people in this world in general) can¬†fit in the time to do¬†the things that are meaningful for them.¬† Because I know that would make this world a much better place (and who doesn’t wish for that?).

We turn not older with years, but newer every day.  ~Emily Dickinson

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