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Monday, 31 December 2012

Last post of 2012

I always feel a bit strange on the last day of the calendar year. The optimistic part of me is going "Oh, maybe next year will be better. Maybe (insert year of choice here) will be THE year."  The year you win the lottery, sell a million books, meet your future mate without running in terror because you're commitment phobic. The usual, right?
The rational part of me says quietly - "You realise this is a man-made break in time, right? Right? Put that egg-nog down and LISTEN, damnit." Then rationality wanders off to sulk in a corner and we can enjoy the rest of the evening.

There's this peculiar mixture of hope and nostalgia and the realisation that Tempus Fugit, and doesn't need the help of a bunch of sparkling alcohol to do so. Once you get to a certain point in life, time doesn't just fly. She straps your butt to a high-powered rock and lights the fuse.

I don't make resolutions for the new year. I have a few goals I'd like to achieve, but resolutions are fixed and brittle, like glass rods on a beach, and tend to shatter when the tide comes in and circumstances change. Goals are flexible, and you can move them when you need to.

I think about the people gone, the opportunities missed, the goals achieved. The highlights and lowlights - the stuff that broke my heart and the things that made me think there might actually be hope for the human race. Then I put them into my memory box for the past year, and close it. I'll come back to it a few times over the next few years, I reckon, and some of those memories will still be bright and shiny and probably bigger than what they really were - some things grow bigger in the dark - and some will have lost their sheen. They'll be dusty and cracked and hard to focus on. Some will have shrunk to nothing, and I can take those out and dispose of them without a twinge of guilt or remorse.

I think about my blessings, as my mom would say. I look at them and sort them out, and folks, I have a lot to sort out.

There's the material stuff, that internet sages tut over and reckon can't buy you happiness, but go a very long way to not making you miserable. I have food in my belly, clothes on my back, a roof over my head. I have books and art supplies and internet access, and a job that pays for all that stuff.

I have a body that functions pretty well when it isn't falling over it's own two feet, and a mind that still gets pilots the body okay, even if my family think I'm a little strange. (But it's okay to be strange, as my mom explained to me the other day, because you're one of those arty people. Arty people are different. Moving right along, then.)

I have my writing, which is huge, because writing makes me happy in a way that chocolate can't even touch.
I have my artwork, which is pretty good stress therapy, and more supplies than some small craft stores. (I love painting, and probably always will, although I don't need it the way I do the writing. There are moments when it feels more important than others, but it doesn't feel like I need to finger paint to stay functioning. Miss a few days in front of the keyboard, though, and I get very, very cranky.)

I get to say I love you a lot. To family, to a couple of friends. Out of everything listed, that's the biggest blessing, I think. If you offered me the winning jackpot for the lottery on one hand, versus the people I care about on the other, the people win.
Because everything else is just stuff. It's shiny baubles that decorate space in your life. It's a way to flash what you have on a material level, it's our way of validating ourselves - get the latest smartphone, the newest Wii, the best new coffee machine - and feel successful. And it's pretty and shiny and a socially acceptable way to rub your enemy's nose in the fact that you've beaten them, and in the end it means pretty much nothing. In less than year, that stuff ends up obsolete, or the T&Cs change and turns that shiny new phone into an albatross.
People, though, especially people who value you for who you are and not what you can do for them - you can't buy that.

I am lucky. I am blessed. For 2013, I wish the same for all of you.