It’s traditional to review ‘the year that’s been’ as we prepare to enter the year ahead. The media does this with top ten lists; I do it by transferring birthdays and anniversaries to my new desktop calendar. This year I am using a Sierra Club Engagement Calendar. I bought it because they say a portion of the proceeds go “…to preserve and protect our environment.” And because I think the pictures are pretty. Ironically, I keep the calendar folded to the current week to minimize the space it takes on my desk, so I only see the pictures for a second when I turn the page.
As I perform my annual ritual, copying birthdays from one calendar to the other, I indulge in my own version of judgment day. Names that evoke a warm response, cause me to wonder how they’re doing, or make me feel happily nostalgic, get carried over to the next year. But if a name causes a negative reaction, no matter how small, then it doesn’t get written into the calendar for the coming year. (I’m not making any John Lennon-like claims about my place in the universe, but it’s hard to miss the similarity between what I do and Yom Kippur.)
My negative reactions are not the result of the person having done something to me. The person has done nothing. They haven’t written or called, Facebooked or tweeted, or even left a comment on my blog. I make it a practice to contact people I like at least once a year. When a birthday appears on my calendar, it’s a sign that it’s time to check in. (These days Facebook keeps track of birthdays, but that’s only useful if you’re satisfied dropping a three-word greeting on someone’s wall. I like to send a card, and for that I need advance notice, the kind you get when you can look a week or two into the future, on your calendar.)
Anniversaries I track include the first date Andrew and I had, and our wedding, both of which are likely to be noted until one or both of us drops dead. I also track the date we brought our cats home from the shelter. Some anniversaries have a finite run. I no longer note the date we closed on our ‘new’ house (fourteen years ago, mid-January, dang, what was the date?), nor do I any longer keep track of the date I quit smoking (which I’m pretty sure was March 10, well over twenty-five years ago).
Transferring birthdays and anniversaries (while important) is also an excuse to review every week of ‘the year that’s been.’ I revisit lunches I had with friends, meetings of my critique group, our bookclub get-togethers and dinners with friends, Hannah’s soccer games and piano recitals, holidays with my family, and vacations with the in-laws. 2010 was a year full of friends, new and old, family, near and far, and the freedom to pursue a dream. It was a good year.
May 2011 bring health and happiness to you and yours. (And don’t forget to check in with me at least once.)