Milestones are important.

Because miles are too big to measure accurately with our erratic internal clock, uphill miles are much longer than downhill. Miles in the rain are endless. Miles in the snow or the desert are downright life threatening.

On the other hand, miles walking trails with a girl breeze by, according to my son. Miles driven on vacation are faster in the front seat than those spent riding in the back where man’s eternal question comes to mind.

Are we there yet?

We need to feel progress. Does what I’m doing really matter? Did I improve? Do these pants make me look older?

The Mayan calendar wasn’t about predicting the end of the world. They just ran out of rock. Or maybe merchants realized they couldn’t sell next year’s Girls of Uxmal calendar if they kept chiseling. And why am I chiseling calendars for people with iPads anyway?

No, calendars are about reassuring us that the world won’t end. That spring will come. That we can plant now. That we’d better harvest and store up before the snow. And winterize the mini-van.

Calendars are for keeping track of life, not death.

You mattered.

No matter who made the cover of Newsweek, what you did made a difference. Could you have done more? Sure. Maybe next year.

But if you hadn’t survived this year then you wouldn’t get to next year. Newsweek didn’t.

So good job breathing.

But chances are you did more than that. It’s hard to say what matters. I would have been a Californian if not for a Model T Ford that broke down in Texas.

Last night I was reading about a simple note left behind that saved two lives in World War II. There were simple acts of kindness, in some cases final acts, that ensured the survival of a future doctor and author.

But they didn’t know it at the time. They were just helping a boy. They were being themselves, loving and giving.

Who will you be?

The question of the coming year is not “What will you do?” It’s “Who will you be?”

If you are the best and truest you, then that is the best thing. If you love, if you are responsible, if you do your part, if you go beyond, then you have the best chance of making this a wonderful year. Even if you don’t realize it at the time.

The deception of a calendar is the implication that you can plan. We don’t know what will happen. Even if we did, we can’t tell what will matter.

The smallest kindness you give could be the largest kindness someone receives. Or the small thing that changes everything. Or the moment they will remember all of their lives.

The promise.

The magical promise of a calendar is tomorrow. There are no guarantees but there are opportunities. Tantalizing potential.

God made you unique in all of history. There’s never been another you. So there’s no telling what you can be.

Are we there yet?

No . . . thank goodness.