I don't make New Year's resolutions, but I do have an annual beginning-of-the-year tradition. Each year, I buy a new wall calendar and transfer all the birthdays marked in the old year onto the new year. As I scroll from month to month, each name serves as a reminder of that person and prompts an assessment of our friendship. Is this a person I'll be sending a birthday card to in the next year? Names get left off. Sometimes, with a sense of relief, as a final release from a friendship that we both probably realized was on the decline. Sometimes, it's with a sense of sadness, as I am reluctant to admit that person has passed from my life. Fortunately, it's been over a decade since I left a name off due to a death. But I don't need to have my grandmother's birthday marked - I remember June 4th regardless.
This year, I continued that ritual, for what may be the last time. I am migrating to google's electronic calendar, and I set each birthday to reoccur annually. I'm sure I'll still edit people in and out, but it won't happen all at once. Maybe that's for the best. I'm a little sad now, missing the people I am no longer friends with, and a little guilty, feeling inadequate for being unable to maintain the relationships that have lapsed. This tradition usually doesn't pick up the new friends I've added along the way - their birthdays are slow to cling to the calendar, mostly due to my laziness. Maybe this new system will allow me to add new birthdays, new friends, more easily. I already saw one that I'd added - November 12 - and that made me smile.