I will turn 50 in 439 days. And I'm feeling a little unsettled about that. It's not that I don't like being older. The wisdom that comes with age can't be rivaled by anything that youth has to offer. I think it's the simultaneous slowing down of my body and the speeding up of the passage of time that's really got me bothered. The wisdom of aging has shown me that I need to notice the small things but the reality of the pace of life has generated a bit of a disconnect in my soul.
I want the 15 months preceding the 50th year to be noticed. And savored.
Because I'm a visual person I wanted a graphic way to mark the time. One evening while doing the dishes, I asked Ali what elements she thought would mark a "perfect" day. We came up with four things that needed to happen to make a day feel complete and whole.
There would need to be time for physical movement - a workout at the gym. A walk with the dog.
There would be time for spiritual growth - reading a book. Spending an evening with friends. Writing a blog post.
There would be time for creating something.
There would be one nourishing meal - not eaten standing over the sink, or in a car, but created in a kitchen with care.
Those four things felt right. They felt like they would require savoring. And noticing.
So I designed a visual diary for the coming 439 days. A tiny paper quilt that will mark time and encourage me to be present and aware of each day's opportunity for wholeness.
Each square is a 1" piece of old dictionary paper. They are glued down in a 7x7 grid and sewed together. Each day I will add tiny, hand-cut wonky squares (because life is wonky sometimes) and glue them down representing each days accomplishments. Movement is red. Spirit is blue. Creating is orange. And nourishment is green.
I fully expect that there will be some days with only one or two colors represented. And there will probably be all together blank ones as well.
Every year I choose a word to guide my days. Last year I didn't do so well with it. This year I will.
When I turn 50 there will be nine small 7x7 squares that should fit in a poster frame. And when I turn 50 I will have spent the previous 439 days being present to my life.