|Me, blowing out my birthday candles...|
Nowadays, I don't really celebrate my birthday, so much as survive it.
See, every year, on the anniversary of my birth, I use the occasion to reflect. I try to remember where & who I was the year before, in order to kind of gauge my progress. Some years have been good. Others, not so much. (Curious thing: the good years always come from the generosity of others, but the bad years are always entirely my fault.)
In more bureaucratic terms, my birthday becomes a kind of annual personal performance review.
So how do I rate this past year? Well, on a traditional academic grading scale, I think I'd give myself a nice, solid B. Maybe even a B+.
A year ago, things were frantic. The business that my partner and I started (Grouchy John's Coffee) was eating up every available hour of the day, as well as every potential erg of energy I had, and the financial returns were slim at best. In other words, the business was slowly growing, but we were killing ourselves in the process.
Also, I was planning & preparing my November wedding to the long-suffering Princess.
And, finally, my health was not so good, mainly from all the stress, as well as the fact that I was being lazy about taking care of myself. My weight was approaching an all-time high, and my strength and stamina were at personal worsts. And my normally-occasional insomnia? It was spiraling out of control.
Still, I was motoring along. I was even doing a little writing.
Man, was I ever feeling my age!
Then I got married, and I started to turn things around.
Not only did Grouchy John's Coffee Shop successfully open, but I began to really focus on my own personal development. It sounds self-centered to constantly blather about self-improvement, but, the truth is, I wasn't just doing do it all for myself. I was also doing it to become a better partner, friend, and husband to the people I care about.
After all, if the people who love you don't deserve you at your best, then who does?
So, I began to watch what I ate, and I started to run. And I became even more militant than ever about reading & writing daily. (The details of this process are even more boring than this blog post, so I'll spare you.)
As of the last several months, I've achieved a kind of balance between the various demands on my time & energy, and, with the help & advice of friends & family, I feel more capable & productive than ever. Besides growing Grouchy John's Coffee, I hope to put out more of my writing. Maybe this year, I'll even have time to take a vacation!
But life isn't about what you can buy or where you can go; it's about relationships, and, in these terms, this has been a banner year for me. I've made lots of new friends, and I've been able to maintain and/or rekindle some old ones. I'm especially gratified when someone I care about reaches out to me in a time of need. To be trusted is always an honor.
I could've done better. I should've done more. But, all in all, I'm happy with the way this past year played out. And I can't wait to see how things will be when my next birthday rolls around. Provided I'm still breathing when it does...