By age 36

My birthday was on Friday. I woke up to a present that had arrived by mail the day before, completely unexpectedly, from a local friend who knows how to make my day: take an off-hand comment in a conversation and turn it into a present. On Sunday my parents visited, and while my mother had told me “you’re 35 years old, get over it” when I told her on the phone that her gift was a resounding success but the surprise was a complete failure, they brought me a box wrapped in wrapping paper. Delicious spiced cocoa mix. Not thoughtful in the way the gift from my friend was, but special and showed that my mom DID try.

Yesterday was my birthday on the Hebrew calendar (it occurred to me a few weeks ago that I’d missed my birthday on the Chinese calendar, which sometimes coincides with my Hebrew birthday and sometimes doesn’t, as said birthday is the last day of a lunar month, and different lunar calendars address differently the problem that 12 lunar months are shorter than one solar year). I didn’t do anything to observe the day, other than mope and moan with a migraine.

But. This is relevant.

On Monday as I was driving home from The Yarn Spot, my mind was pondering various things, and a few random items came together as a plan.

First thought: Thirty six (my next birthday) is a significant number in Judaism, as it is twice 18, which symbolizes “life.” Gematria tends to be ridiculous, but when it’s meaningful like this, I’ll go with it.

Second thought: I really should stop drinking so many calories. Follow-up thought: Currently I drink at least one caloried beverage a day (defined as coffee with sugar, or cola). That’s 30-ish a month. What if I cut that down to “no more than 18 in a month”?

Third thought: I need to make progress on my goal of working up to a 180-ish mile hike. Follow-up thought: I should start by making an effort to get up in time to walk to work (3 miles) more often. What if I commit to walking 18 miles a month? (I know, this is ridiculously low, but it means more than one time a week, which is more than I’ve been able to do without a specific goal.)

Fourth thought: I should pray more often. (In Judaism we pray three times a day with a set liturgy. I used to be really consistent. Then got less consistent and less and less until now it’s a topic of discussion with my therapist.) Follow-up thought: What if I commit to praying 18 times in a month?

And thus was developed my “by age 36” plan. It will be a year of physical and spiritual resetting, beginning today with the months being measured on the Hebrew calendar. (Because my birthday is in the middle of the month on the solar calendar, and the last day of the month on the lunar calendar, and I want to start now.)

Please wish me luck in this endeavor, as I am sitting here jonesing for a coke even as I type this!


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