2009 also happens to be a "milestone" year for many in my life. E and I are turning 25, and other friends are turning 21, 30, and 35. Perhaps because people of like minds gravitate towards each other, or perhaps just because of a beautiful coincidence, a lot of these friends (myself included) are expressing a kind of dissatisfaction with life at this point. E.g., "I never imagined that at 25, or at 30, or 35, that I still wouldn't have done this with my life."
All the discussions with different friends eventually led to the creation of my "25 for 25" list: 25 goals I hope to accomplish for my 25th birthday. Credit for the list idea goes to E's coworker who is turning 35 this year and created such a list for herself. My list isn't actually complete, and will probably be a work in progress until my birthday in May. E, however, has already finished hers and is planning to implement it as her New Year's Resolutions. I'll probably start working towards my goals as I come up with them.
I'm still processing the purpose of having such a list, though. (Trying to figure out the goal for my goals, if you will. :) Some goals concern character traits I'm trying to improve. Some are an attempt to move my life and career. And some are just because I want to be able to say that I've done them.
Yesterday I watched a movie called Serenity. Towards the end of the movie, the characters discover the results of a government experiment to try and create a perfect, peaceful society. They put a chemical into the air that reduced anger and aggression. The chemical worked, but eventually the people became so calm and relaxed that they stopped doing anything. They stopped working, eating, moving... and eventually they just stopped living.
Somewhere, someone will always believe that you can make people better. But as the crew of Serenity found out, it doesn't work. You cannot make better people in one broad sweep. But when people decide to make themselves better, when people decide for themselves to change, then the world becomes a little bit brighter. Light comes to the world one candle at a time, one person at a time, one goal at a time.
(Or 25 at a time.)