And so we enter 2012, look out for falling Mayan toasters.

The beginning of the year has never been about New Year’s for me. I mean, New Year’s is nice and all, balls dropping over a crowd larger than the urban area of the city I live in and Lady Gaga (or that year’s equivalent) being all tongue-tied and weird. It’s refreshing. It’s nice to see all of those people throwing off the shackles and mistakes and issues of the year before and dashing headlong into new mistakes, often on national television. There were also lots of fun jokes about the impending Mayan non-apocalypse.

(Dude, it’s a calendar. Time doesn’t stop because we had to swap out Robert Pattinson’s 16 months for the Beatles.)

But for me, New Year’s has always been the run-up to the year’s true start.

I’m talking about my birthday, of course. January 8th, smack in the middle of winter but in the part where the days are getting longer, not shorter. My friend, Robin, referred to it as my First Saturday party this year. I’ve added the capitalization but it’s become kind of a thing amongst my friends. Last year, I had a dance party in my basement, complete with disco lights and iffy punch. It’s the final event of the holiday season before we start furtively planning summer events and saying things like “the first day it hits 75, let’s…” I keep my tree up until after my birthday. I don’t get the post-holiday blues until the second week in January.

And, let’s face it, I’m usually relieved that we’ve all made it through the festivities without murdering someone.

I digress, though. In between the pre-birthday anxiety and the lead up and, yes, the careful application of glitter, there’s always that mix of anticipation and dread. It’s my birthday. The next year of my life is about to start and what am I going to do with it? Do I have a goal? What is it? Last year’s was to survive, to land on my feet in whatever situation I found myself in. I think we did okay with that so it’s a win.

This year is dual-purposed. I intend to both have as much fun as I possibly can but to also be responsible like a Real Grownup. Pay off some credit cards, figure out the deal with the house in St. Louis, maybe shift some weight and other assorted iffy habits and finish unpacking here in Omaha so it looks like we actually live here for real and aren’t just hanging out for a while. See if I can transfer into something a little less irritating here at work. Leave behind some of my more childish habits and grow up a little. But also go back to St. Louis a few times and visit some family and friends and generally do fun things, too.

And I want this year to be the year I find balance. I want to learn how to say no to some things and yes to others and to choose the right times for both. I want to learn how to live a life without the need for damage control. I want to conduct myself with some small amount of grace. Honestly, I understand, it’s some small part of my charm, the headlong tumble I seem to take through life, catching myself every once in a while and smiling up at the world around me. But sometimes it gets so tiring, the tumble. I want to learn how to proceed this year.

So, yeah. Hello, 30. Let’s see how this goes, shall we?


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