Today is my birthday. I had to be reminded.
My plan was to work all day, which I felt fine about. Then Tom said “Happy Birthday” and suddenly I want to lie around the house, eat bon bons and rub cake in my hair. What’s up with that expectation? Where did the idea that the anniversary of our birth should be a day of leisure and indulgence come from?
This is exactly they type of question that can derail my plans. I can (in fact I did) get distracted with a research project into the history of the tradition of celebrating birthdays, and the cultural practices in various religions or nations for such celebrations. (The Wikipedia entry for Birthday, as might be expected, contains “multiple issues.” I find that funny.)
But that’s not what I want to think about. What I want to take some time to think about on this day that’s all about me, is what I want. Not for my birthday, I’m not talking about presents, cakes or parties, those are happening tomorrow. And it’s supremely easy in this product driven world to spout off a long list of things I’d like to have in my house (a rug for the dining room,) in my closet (a new pair of yoga pants,) at the beach (a better kayak,) or in my plans (a month to explore the canals and islands of Venice.) What I’m talking about is taking the time to think about what I really want my life to be like.
The cards that typically come to us on our birthdays usually allude to this deeper wish for something more than a dose of sugar and a few consumer goods. Birthday cards tell us their senders hope we have a good day or a good year. Good being variously defined as full of sunshine, flowers and tweeting birds, telling somebody where they can shove it, getting nice and drunk, or having sex with a willing hunk. Now and then you get one that combines all four.
All of these sentiments are wonderful, I like days filled with any combination of the above, but of course that’s not what I’m getting at. I want to engage in meaningful thought on this day that commemorates the count of how many times the tide has risen up my beach.
Here are a few of the questions I must answer about what I want:
In a general:
What are my life goals? Have they changed with the recent changes in the world?
Where do I want to go?
What do I want to make happen?
These relate to my work:
What do I want to work on?
What kind of work do I want to do?
Do I follow my passion for the water in my work or as an avocation?
Then there’s my writing:
What do I want to make of this blog, and my column? How do they best fit in my life – as a fun sideline or do I make them more integral to my work?
There you have it, these are the questions I’ll be wresting with today while I’m painting, doing business paper work, starting on taxes and delivering signs to a client.
Taking the time to think hard about this kind of question is a real luxury. Maybe I’ll envision each question as a ball of ice cream dipped in chocolate.