I’ve been thinking about and looking for ways to overcome and move past the year 2016. It wasn’t my best year, or maybe even our collective best year. Health issues. Family trouble. A country and world full of violence, discontent, anger, grief, and controversy. It’s been an emotional year – for all of us – and I feel a strong need to regroup, to energize, and evaluate what’s important to me, identify what’s worth some struggle, and find the hope that so clearly fell by the wayside over the last 365 days.
In 2017, God-willing and the creek don’t rise (as my Nana used to say,) I will turn 55. Navigating my fifties was not something I planned for. I’m not sure anyone does. When you’re young, aging is not something you think about until suddenly, almost without noticing, you’re older. As for me, I’ve spent the first half of my fifth decade trying to figure out how I got here so quickly and wrestling with ideas about whatever-in-the-world comes next.
I can’t just sit out the back half of this decade in my life shaking my head in disbelief and wishing for time gone by. So I’m making 55 my lucky number, my theme, my rally cry for the New Year.
There’s symmetry in 55. A certain balance. And balance is one thing my life seems to want for on a regular basis. Just a bit more than half of 100 percent, 55 feels totally doable. A happy number. A figurative and statistical way to better my life and the world around me by half … plus a little more.
2017 can be the year I read 55 new books, try 55 new recipes, and embark on 55 new adventures.
What if I write 55 minutes a day? Or 55 words, if time’s tight? Would that book get written?
Maybe there’s 55 occasions in the next 12 months when I should keep my thoughts to myself, and 55 others I should speak out. What about finding 55 ways to champion someone else’s efforts? I can pursue an intentional, planned, and anonymous kind act every week of the New Year … technically only 52, but I’m sure I can find time for a few extra. I’m sure I can find 55 ways to help others in my local, country, and world communities.
Are there 55 new friends yet to be met?
What about percentages? What would living and working with me look like if I smiled 55% more and complained 55% less? Could I increase my listening skills by 55%? What if faith were my go-to 55% more of the time than worry was? What if I were 55% more likely to apologize than defend? I know I can consume 55% less sugar and drink 55% more water.
Simple statistical changes. Not measurable, probably , but still attainable.
The point I’m trying to make – mostly to myself – is I’m not done. I’m thirty years older than twenty-something, but I’m still growing, becoming, dreaming … and doing. As I’ve been reminded a few times this year, the unexpected is more likely than whatever I expect.
The world is changing and so must I.
Let me count the ways.