This is the year I turn thirty. I'm pretty excited about that. In four months and ten days, I will say goodbye to the tumultuous twenties and settle in for a decade of . . . who knows? A house, a baby, seven or eight more dogs? A world-conquering career, a revelatory relationship? Or something more sinister, death, deception, disability? I don't know, but I know that whatever it is, it will leave me a stronger, kinder, more humble person.
There are 129 days until my birthday. Four months and one week into the new year, it offers a good benchmark of my progress.
I do have some goals for the new year. I would like to lose 66.6 pounds. No, not because I have sold my soul in exchange for a sexy new bod. But a 66.6 pound weight loss would bring me to what I weighed when I graduated from high school. I was a pretty juicy morsel even then, but at least I could wear a skirt without the friction from my thighs igniting a Nightrider-esque conflagration up my backside.
I know I need more specific goals in order to reach this nebulous "I'd like to be skinny" goal. I need inside-out goals, not just "I want my body to look like this." But I am not sure yet what these goals should be.
I want to push myself as hard physically as I can without injuring myself, but then, how hard is that? How do I know when I am reaching the brink of injury? Does it make sense to do something that I love when it is high impact and I may be grinding my knees at weird angles? But then, fat people are far more likely to have arthritis in their weight-bearing joints, so that fear is probably mostly bullshit with a twist of actual risk.
Speaking of risks, I would like to start taking more. I have dreams, you know. Sometimes I forget that.
Some risks I want to take:
I want to jump out of a plane.
I want to fly in a hot-air balloon.
I want to teach in a foreign country, something like sanitation or preventing disease transmission or teaching girls who might otherwise not receive an education.
I want to make an investment.
I want to run really fast and really far.
I want to hike to the top of a mountain.
I want to sing in public.
I want to write a short story.
I want to write a song.
I want to write a book.
I want to share all of these writings with people without being afraid of their opinions.
I want to learn a martial art.
I want to finish a collage.
I want to go on a cross-country horseback expedition.
I want to understand people's bodies more deeply. When someone asks me, "I have a pain in my .... Do you know what that is?" I want to be able to feel it in my own body and know.
I want to learn about plants. I want to take really good care of plants.
I want . . . [deep breath] . . . I want to speak the truth about my husband in public. The truth is, he is the most phenomenal, wonderful being I know. He is so good, forgiving, hardworking, understanding - not in a paternalistic "I understand dear" way but in an exhilarating, almost creepy soul-reading kind of way. He just gets me, even the things I don't want anyone to get.
Now why, dear reader, would it be difficult to speak the truth about him when the truth is so delicious?
I don't know why. Because it's nauseating, how great he is. Because it's easier to be funny. Because I like to make people laugh, not squirm in their seats when they have to look straight into how much I love him.
But if I could be honest about this one thing - not strident about it but at least more balanced - I think it would help me become a little gentler and less abrasive, which are characteristics I used to possess and have lost somewhat.
I would also like to regain some of the patience I had in high school. I used to be more understanding, more forgiving. I used to understand others' perspectives better. Now I'm getting older and I'm getting some sclerosis in my opinions, a little hardening of the preconceived notions.
I would very much like to regain some of my openness and compassion.
I used to listen to people and "bear witness to their suffering." People need that. They need people who just hear their pain, without worrying whether they are justified or "should be" doing this or that. I'm a little more of a blowhard now, and I'd like to practice the discipline of Just Shutting Up and Listening.
So, one hundred and twenty nine days until I turn thirty. Is that too long too sustain an experiment in passion, to live so that I do not regret even one day?
Well, I guess we'll find out.