As we discussed last week, today is my pretend birthday. Hooray! Pretend birthday hats for everyone.
Three and eleven are my favorite numbers, so age 33 is particularly auspicious. If you see me, you should probably rub my tummy for good luck.
Every year, I make birthday resolutions, because I find them weightier than the New Year’s variety. This year, I have three big ones:
1. Don’t drop-kick the puppy.
In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott writes:
“Try looking at your mind as a wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. You donâ€™t drop-kick a puppy into the neighborâ€™s yard every time it piddles on the floor. You just keep bringing it back to the newspaper.”
This year, I’d like to be a little gentler with myself. I need to focus on my health, my environment, and the present tense. I’m going to take all the time I waste replaying my various inadequacies, and spend it celebrating the things I should be grateful for instead.
2. Make my work the best it can be.
Here’s the part where I lay a little Oprah on you — she always comes up when I’m course plotting. She says the defining question in her life is:
“How do you use your life to best serve yourself and then extend that to the world?”
I spend a disproportionate amount of time working, and this is because I have an awesome job. I’m feeling inspired lately, especially by the design community, and I’d like to use that momentum to rethink the Mighty sites with Oprah’s question in mind.
3. Harness the good.
This is something I think about almost every day. There are so many of you. I’d like to know more about what you know, and find ways to make each others’ lives better. I’m still working through the details, but I want to do some sort of group project with the Mighty Life Lists many of you made with me. Perhaps we could start by crossing a few things off.
Anyway, that’s the overview. There are many detailed to-dos attached to each goal, and I’m excited to tackle them. It’s going to be a good year. You come too.
We have three costumes for Hank, none of which he will wear, because he does not like hats. Or tails. Or sleeves.
It’s perplexing, because he’s never resisted any of these things before. Clearly, he can sense how much Halloween means to me. How I will do anything, short of super-gluing ears to his head, to get him in a costume.
Every time I approach with some bedazzled, be-furred, or suspiciously stiff garment, he thrusts a tiny toddler hand in my face.
“No?” he says. “Bye, Mama! Bye-bye! No? NO? NOOOOOOOOoooooooo? “
And then he shakes his head vigorously and super-glue sprays everywhere. I will never get it out of the carpet.
As for that beguiling, “No?” Don’t let the question mark fool you, he will avenge himself on your offspring if you keep advancing with that cowboy hat. What kind of monster are you? The kind who’s comfortable with toddler vendettas, apparently.
“Kid! Don this elephant costume immediately. Do you hear me? Mommy wants to keep you up well past your bedtime and flood your system with high fructose corn syrup. Hold! Still!“
Eat your heart out, Dr. Spock.
Lots of guide action at the Mighties.
I’m keeping this guide on file for the day when I can offer guests more than a couch to crash on.
Turns out you can still get candy cigarettes and pipes. Stay away from the Pop Rocks though. They’ll kill you dead.
I would have dressed the whole family as Devo, but Hank wouldn’t wear the hat.
Antique shopping, I round a corner and nearly trip over a boy in a paper tiger-mask. He starts, scrambles backward, then pauses in my path. His hands are on the floorboards, and he rocks forward and back, eyes fixed on mine. I smile for a moment, and then realize he is gangly, tall, perhaps too old to be crawling around.
We pause for a moment, at impasse. A giant warehouse fan whirs beside him. He turns his head, bares his teeth one at a time, and growls softly into the fan blades.
For those of you wondering who won the $5,000 Intel Tech Makeovers, we announced the winners over here. When we started out, three makeovers seemed like so much, but if you read any of the entries you know how many deserving folks threw their hats in the ring. Even if you didn’t win, I hope entering the contest gave you the oomph you needed to find another way to make your dreams go. I’m still rooting for you.
I have an on-off switch with money. If I’m feeling flush, I buy what I want. If I’m feeling pinched, I don’t buy anything at all. Of course, there is a happy medium between being loaded and being bang-broke. Here’s to the little pick-me-ups.