Birthday Resolutions

This past Tuesday was my birthday. Last year on my birthday, I created a list of “Birthday Resolutions” & “Things to do before turning 40”. I was inspired to make these lists by the movie “The bucket list” and Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”. Birthday resolutions were like New Year’s resolutions and included things that I wanted to start focusing on relatively quickly, such as getting back in exercise routine, while the other list included more long-term plan such as writing a book or all the places I want to visit. The bucket list from the movie is a happy_birthday_06list of things to do before one dies. While anyone can die at any point for any reason, people generally don’t think about it on daily basis. I wanted to give the items I put on my bucket list some sense of urgency, so I modified into a list of “Things to do before 40”. A year later, some of the things from both lists have come true, including having my own business through which I can be in service to others and be inspired at the same time. Since I still work full-time, and have two young children, my time is relatively limited, but when I get to work on it, those activities – whether it’s writing a blog post, coaching someone, building relationships on social media, or thinking about all kinds of services I could offer, I lose track of time.

On this year’s birthday, my parents and brother in Japan sent me messages, and I received over 40 messages on Facebook & Twitter from friends all over the world. My kids sang for me as we blew out the candles on my birthday cake. I took half day off from work over a 2 days and spent that time pampering myself (hair salon + massage), reading a book, going to a pilates class, and having lunch and catching up with a good friend. I also spent some time working on my business which included a strategy meeting. Even complete strangers from another table sang the “happy birthday” song for me at a French restaurant when my husband and I were having dinner on my birthday. The strangers turned out to be San Diego opera singers. It was so beautiful and made the occasion more joyous and memorable. There was something special about this year’s birthday, and I thought about why that was. For one, it had all the elements that constitute my happiness. But there is more.

My friend Henry recently tweeted this quote; “There are two great moments in a person’s life. The first is when you are born. The second is when you discover why you were born”. When I reflected back upon what has happened this past 12 months, I feel like I experienced the “Second great moment” in his quote, when I have finally found what I am supposed to be doing. I had to admit that after I had turned 30, birthday became a day to realize that one year has passed without making much progress in the area of finding my purpose. Yes, it was nice that people tell me “happy birthday” but it also meant that I have less time, when I still hadn’t found what it was that I could contribute uniquely to the world. There has always been a feeling of “time is running out” and it made me feel impatient and frustrated. But it was different this year. I have found what I’d love to do for the rest of my life. Also, because I had set some specific goals a year before, I was able to look at how far I have come, and celebrate those accomplishments. It’d like I now have a total acceptance on where I am in my life. That realization must have been what made it so special. When my husband was jokingly telling my kids “your mommy is old!”, I could just laugh at it and say “Yes, I am!”, sincerely and happily.  I felt like, “wait and see what I can accomplish in another 12 months!”.

So, here is the list for my new birthday resolutions;

1.    Fully graduate from my current day job
2.    Complete Evolution Series Instructor Training
3.    Live my ideal day at least 3 days a week
4.    Meet with Chris Guillebeau in person
5.    Create more music, including learning to play guitar
6.    Learn to cook better & more often
7.    Learn to meditate

I decided to put this list up here so you can hold me accountable, help me along the way where you can, and celebrate with me if/when I have achieved them.  Please share your thoughts, comments and your own resolutions and/or what’s on your bucket list!

10 comments on “Birthday Resolutions

  1. Etsuko, I love this post and your list – we have really so much in common. Did you know I have been wanting to learn the guitar for quite a while too! How exciting. We should definitely try to get together sometime for a chat. So glad to be following your journey! 😉

  2. Amy,
    Thank you for your comment! I put a picture of a guitar on my vision board, and I actually received one shortly after that. It’s been sitting in my closet(trying to keep it away from my 3 year old) and I haven’t started learning yet. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

  3. Hi, Etsuko,
    I so appreciate that you are letting us all “in” on your life and ambitions. And I love how your list from last year helped you to celebrate your successes! What a great way to look at your resolutions- I oftentimes keep from making resolutions because I see them as “to do” lists and that’s the last thing I want- more “to do!!!” Great reminder.
    And you are going to LOVE the Evolution Series program. Truly a life enhancing experience. And I have been loving teaching the workshops- so much fun! Here’s to a WONDERFUL year!

  4. Etsuko,

    What a wonderful post. Thank you for giving us a little bit of you and what things you want out of life. I wish you great luck with completing your goals for the coming year. Most of all to graduate from your job and enjoy doing what you want to most.

    May your passions and achievements only be half of your daily happiness, let health and the love of family and friends fill the other half.

    Cheers to the next year!


  5. Etsuko,
    Thank you for sharing. It has been my intention since I saw that you wrote about doing the Evolution Series Instructor Training and had a new blog to go read it, but I wanted to have plenty of time because I knew that I would want to write back. One of the things on my list is definitely to facilitate the Understanding Yourself and Others class, which you are helping to make happen. I love that you are on your path and you know it. I often wonder how many people are so close, but scared to take that next step. You inspire me and I am so excited to be with you, learn from you and grow while our paths continue to intersect.

  6. Your posts are always genuine and heartfelt Etsuko. I enjoy reading them.
    Sounds like you have your goal setting and task accomplishing skills finely tuned. 🙂
    It’s tough to keep focused sometimes, isn’t it, because we have so much going on in our lives now, so many things vying for our attention.

    I’ll see if I can ‘hold you accountable’ for the learning guitar goal. And Amy too. lol

    I’ll post some tips here as I come up with them, and through feedback I receive:

    I’m glad you liked that quote. I got it from some book and immediately pasted it into a tweet so I wouldn’t forget it. Glad you reminded me of it again.
    Here is today’s quote, I heard listening to some old Tony Robbins recordings:
    “Love is the oxygen of the soul.”

  7. Etsuko,

    I loved reading your blog. You are a very inspiring individual! Birthday resolutions are a great way to set and measure goals and accomplishments over the year. It’s also something I have never thought about. Rather than the typical birthday celebration and the awareness that you are another year older, you have decided to add a unique twist which will make your celebrations anything but typical.

    I believe that we were all put on this earth for a reason and when we are fulfilling our purpose we are happiest. It’s like learning to play the guitar, at first you practice and make mistakes, but when you fine tune your instrument, pluck all the right strings, and hit all the right notes, everything becomes aligned and you begin to make meaningful tunes that turn into beautiful music.

    I wish you the best with both, your new adventure in guitar playing and your birthday resolutions.

    Happy Birthday!!!!