30 by 30: A Birthday Update

I wrote a post about birthdays and embracing the concept of aging earlier this week to share today (my birthday), but deleted it last night in the midst of the news updates from Paris and around the world. Somehow, what I had to say about realizing I am one year closer to 30--which, yes, I realize is not that old--seemed invalid and inconsequential today. The world and its happenings are so much bigger than one person, than one birthday, than one moment in time; even the most horrible moments can remind us of that.

When I turned 27, I wrote a list of 30 things I want to accomplish before I turn 30. I slacked off on that list a lot this year, at times even wondering why I'd set such ridiculous goals for myself. Go fishing? Plant flowers? What consequence could such activities possibly have on the world--on myself?

But in the aftermath of last night's attacks in Paris, as we collectively catch our breath and remember that we have to look for the good in the world, even when it is hard to do, I'm remembering again why I wrote this silly list of silly things I want to do in the next few years. I want to write thank-you notes to remind myself to be thankful; I want to write letters to reconnect with old friends. I want to go fishing to try something new and experience the thrill of being in nature; I want to plant flowers to try to bring that nature back home with me in some small way. I want to read classics to remember why I fell in love with books in the first place. I want to start each week with a toast to remember to look for the small, simple, toast-worthy moments in life.

Every item on this list, however large, however small, was put there not only to challenge myself to get outside of my comfort zone and try new things--hello, marathon--but to remember to find joy in life, even when that joy seems hidden far, far away.

Today, more than ever, I am grateful for the reminder to do so.

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