Not a very significant number, and I have to admit, birthdays are becoming less and less of a celebration for me and more of just another day.
But one thing that's remained is that my birthday always feels like the start of a "new year". More so than January 1st, even. I think it helps that it falls in early September, which has its own added "new yearness" built into it. Crisp fall weather and back to school and all that.
So a couple of weeks ago I started working a list of 32 things I wanted to do this year. I've seen that sort of thing before on blogs and it always feels like a nice way to envision the coming year. A wish list, a to-do list, a map.
But my list seemed so boring. Travel to New Brunswick to see my family. Paint the bedroom. Go apple-picking. I mean, who cares? Or at least I don't care enough to devote my time to making sure they happen.
But two things on my list called to me. Two goals seemed big and important and like things I wanted to do. Things I wanted to devote the year to doing.
- Give up sugar and grains
- Finish writing and editing a novel and then self-publish it
These are the two things that, in one way or another, have been occupying my brain for over a year now (and, in the case of writing a novel, well over a year.)
All the non-fiction books I buy and read are about writing, self-publishing, or paleo eating.
Almost all the blogs I read are about writing, self-publishing, or paleo eating.
All my time is spent pursuing those things, (or resisting them, which is the topic of a whole other blog post.) They take up all the space in my head, every inch that isn't already occupied by Shaun or my job and day-to-day responsibilities.
My way of measuring the importance of things is to ask myself "How much will I care about this at the end of my life?"
I will not care if I didn't paint my bedroom. I will not care if I went apple-picking.
But I will care about my health. I will care about my writing. I will care that I kept these promises to myself.
So instead of "32 for 32", I have just two. Just two things to focus on this year. Giving up sugar and grains, and writing and publishing a novel.
Yesterday on her blog, Danielle Laporte asked "the burning question"
What would you be more of if you let go of the past?
Let’s say that a really cool Fairy Godmother appeared by your side right this second and said, “You are whatever you want to be from this day forward! We’ll just forget about all the times you were less than your best, and all the dark and brilliant ways that you’ve tried to love and be loved. And that one time you were a little bit nasty, let’s erase that from the record. And while we’re at it, we’ll forget about all the times you got bumped and bruised and neglected along the way.” It’s over. Free. Nothing to resent, nothing to be bitter about. Clean slate. Go.
So it may seem ambitious, to set those goals for myself. But what if I could just pretend that they are just goals? What if I could just be someone who doesn't eat sugar or grains, someone who doesn't struggle with a sugar addiction. What if I was suddenly not just someone who wanted to write a novel, but someone who did write a novel, who worked hard and who took her publishing future into her own hot little DIY hands? What if I could be my own Fairy Godmother?
I have more thoughts on both of those things, how they'll work and what the parameters and timelines are, but I'll write more about them later. For now I want to leave it at that. At two big goals. At being 32.