43 Promises to Myself on the Occasion of My 43rd Birthday
1. I will be kind and loving, not judgmental or regretful, when I happen to meet the me from 20 years ago, or ten years ago, or even last year in old journals or photographs or poems or memories.
2. I will consciously work to be open.
3. I will not continue to overpromise and under-deliver because I haven’t correctly estimated the amount of time for a particular task or because of health issues, and I will forgive myself every time I break this promise and overpromise and under-deliver anyway.
4. I will get out of bed when the alarm goes off, or when I naturally wake up—whichever comes first.
5. I will forgive my parents for not calling me more often after I left home and call them much more frequently than I currently do.
6. When I feel myself gaining weight, I will not buy more comfortable pants. Instead, I’ll figure out how to do what I need to do to get the pants I already own to feel more comfortable again. I will do this all without judgment.
7. I will be my own beloved.
8. I will write every day—whether that’s a blog post or a poem or a journal entry or a note telling someone I love how much I love them.
9. I will tell the people I love just how much I love them, loudly and more often.
10. I will kick Zuckerberg’s ass the next time he makes a change I don’t like on Facebook.
11. I will network out of a desire for community not advancement.
12. I will live in a way that even if the coffers are low, I can still give out of the abundance of my heart and spirit.
13. I will not break up with God no matter how often I feel like taking a break.
14. I will write more poems that make me nervous when I have to read them out loud to an audience.
15. I will dare.
16. I will speak up even if I’m not sure anyone’s listening.
17. I will remember to say please when I ask for something not just in my tone but with my actual words.
18. I will read more than one book of contemporary fiction this year.
19. I will not spend too much time apart from Mrs. Woolf.
20. I will not suffer “buyers remorse” from saying yes when I should have said no.
21. I will remember to send birthday cards.
22. I will drink more water; I will drink more champagne.
23. I will break up with my blue-and-white couch on a regular basis.
24. I will not keep Netflix DVDs for months at a time hoping I’ll eventually watch them.
25. I will do the impossible at least once, and maybe even twice.
26. I will read War and Peace.
27. I will use my vacuum cleaner.
28. I will accomplish the things I put on my to do lists.
29. I will end the year with a surplus in my savings account, even it it’s only one dollar, and even if by savings account I mean the old flour tin where I sometimes hoard dollar bills.
30. I will sing in the shower more.
31. I will try to get through the entirety of Pretty in Pink.
32. I will buy a TV antenna so I can watch the Golden Globes and the Oscars and the old British sitcoms that air on Maryland Public Television.
33. I will dance more.
34. I will learn the words to Joni Mitchell’s “River.”
35. I will play the piano every once in a while to prove I still can.
36. I will forgive all those who’ve left me behind and I will celebrate all those who’ve stayed.
37. I will put things in perspective.
38. I will be kind to my body even when it’s not being very kind to me.
39. I will cry as often as I need to for as long as I need to.
40. I will not be ashamed to let someone see me cry.
41. I will read more Walt Whitman.
42. I will buy some of the albums I like rather than endlessly streaming them for free.
43. I will keep the promises I can and not hold on too hard to the ones I can’t.