This year, I'm not doing it for the mere fact that I don't think I have anything significant to add to the list. I could, of course, add that I had run off the edge of a mountain. Been in a boat that almost capsized in a storm. I had quit my well-paying job to be a full-time student. I've read countless books. Filled hundreds of pages with words. I've had more job interviews than I ever thought I'd want. I've prayed, believed, and still watched doors close to opportunities I thought were certain. I've sold even more stuff so I'd travel lighter.
I've served. Learned. Changed. Moved. Waited. Worked. I've shed some pounds. In a way, it feels like I've been spending time in autumn!
My dissertation is moving along. Two friends with Ph.D.s in different fields recently told me on separate occasions: "The dissertation journey is a lonely journey." They spoke from experience. I can attest to the fact that working on a dissertation is possibly one of the hardest things I've done in my life.
Along the way, I've gone round and round about what I want to do with my dissertation. For a while, I thought I would want to work at a university and teach full-time. But the more I interviewed with tertiary institutes, the more I realized the activator in me would die a slow death in their mazes of bureaucracy. I could never just talk (or write) about things that need to be done. I have to be part of doing, of bringing about change in the world we live in.
And so, on the brink of another birthday, I shall continue to push in, wait, surrender, push some more, and walk believing that God is weaving something far more beautiful than I could ever hope to forge myself.
I certainly look forward to looking back from the vantage point of my 44th birthday. In the meantime, I'll do my best to enjoy this current season of seeking, shedding, changing, learning, writing, rewriting, asking, discerning & growing, knowing that even once I've completed my degree, these verbs will continue being central to my life.
Hopefully I'll have a job by then again, though, a place to call home. A place to hang my reticulated giraffe.