While Advent or Lent would seem to be more obvious seasons for reflection and resolution than New Year's Eve, which falls right in the middle of Christmas, it's actually a logical time for me. Advent provides plenty of inspiration for generating random thoughts about improvements to be made—though no time for actually doing much about it—and by halfway through the Twelve Days of Christmas I am sufficiently sated with festivity to be happy to focus on simplicity, austerity, and discipline.
I don't normally make much of birthday milestones, and my 60th birthday this year was no exception. Nonetheless I find myself considering 2013 to be a foundational year for the next 30 years of my life, just as an infant's first year is fundamental in setting the course of his growth to maturity.
My initial thought was to focus on health, a not unreasonable goal at an age when good health seems to require more effort than it once did. Health will still be a major concern, but I've decided to broaden this year's concentration to all the foundations of life. In this new post category—Foundations 2013—I will be sharing some of my efforts to figure out just what I mean by that. I won't be attempting to define what counts as "fundamental" for anyone but myself—though He Who Lives With Me can't help being affected by my choices, so I hope we're at least somewhat on the same page—but I'll post about it in hopes of clarifying my own thoughts, keeping myself accountable, eliciting suggestions, and perhaps providing ideas or inspiration to others.
One things I know: focusing on fundamentals is not intended to be a "Back to Basics" move as defined by schools that drop art and music in favor of more drill in reading and arithmetic. Rather, I view it as strengthening foundations instead of continuing to build at the top. Or perhaps pruning a bush and fertilizing the roots to encourage healthier growth. At any rate, I plan to help prioritize my actions by asking, "Does this contribute to the foundation, or add to an already top-heavy structure?" Thus I hope to distinguish between the good and the better. For example, I may cut down on the number of blogs I follow, not because they are bad or uninteresting—I weeded those out long ago—but because I know that reading them will add to my already-overburdened pile of things I want to blog about. I may actually turn down an offer from Penzey's for a free jar of one of their new spices, simply because I'm already overwhelmed with spice jars. I may pass up any number of important and/or enjoyable activities in favor of getting to bed on time on a regular basis, in order to be able to give my best to the more important and most enjoyable.
I'm not judging anything as off limits entirely, and I'm not cutting myself off from these good things forever. Just for a season—a season of regrouping, rejuvenating, and shoring up a 60-year-old edifice to be able to handle the slings and arrows of the next 30 years.
At least that's the theory. Now to figure out the practice.