A few years ago, I added my birthday to my calendar with a highly specific and presumptuous question attached.
Each year, on the day before, I get a little nudge to consider what kind of contribution, what kind of person, what kind of learning I intend to make/be/take on in the year ahead.
I love it and I hate it.
I love the invitation to embrace the simple, sober truth that every single day could be my last and that I damn well better make the most of it.
I hate the reminder that I get to choose, for as long as I’m here and healthy and bestowed with the largesse of privilege at my fingertips, I get to choose just what to make of every day.
And so, here on the eve of my 49th birthday and the commencement of my 50th year what I’m going to do about it is this:
I intend to love the people I love more generously and with a more abundant spirit of service.
I intend to expand my self-awareness and deepen my spirituality because it makes me a better human and a better agent of change and because I can’t ask people to do the things I am not willing to do myself!
I will continue to write every day and practice piano every day, commitments that enrich my daily life and keep me at the edge of my learning. I will also sing more, because I love to sing (and it’s why I started to play the piano).
I will create, based on my book, A More Daring Life, a workbook that allows readers to more practically apply its central teachings to their own lives. And I will use that workbook in the context of workshops for college students and professionals, anyone who is ready to move to the edge of their experience.
Further afield, but very present on my mind, I will move this year towards a concrete plan to make the pilgrimage of The Way of St. James in northern Spain, an endeavor I will complete within the next two years.
Finally, in the coming year, I will seek to be present and connected. I will ask for help instead of being stubborn and I will listen before giving advice. And I will ask forgiveness when I fail at all of the above.
I am older, slightly wiser, and massively energized for what’s to come.
Happy birthday to me!
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.