This post will sound negative at first but I hope you plod on after the first paragraph. I have to be honest, and that means I have to take the good with the bad.
The year 2013 was like coffee gone cold; it woke you up but you didn’t feel comforted. It was like the bitter, metallic aftertaste of antibiotics; you knew it would cure you though your taste buds felt like writhing. It was like a clock with dead batteries, to which you still glanced up to check the time; it made everything slower by perspective, including the bad days. It was like a candle wick burnt to its end too soon, and you found yourself groping in the dark for a new one, except you had no spare candle and daylight felt like months away instead of just hours.
And yet 2013 was also like a deep breath after not having enough oxygen for so long. It was like the smiles of family members at your arrival, like the wagging tail of your dog so happy to see you. It was like a playful lick on your cheek, telling you by action what your dog cannot in words: love, joy. It was like a really good book in bed, you crying at every turn of the page, at the unfolding story. It was filled with those precious moments which you wanted to capture in poetry though you can never do them justice, but you had to try.
This year was like seeing the multitude of stars in a dark, dark sky away from light pollution: it is a marvelous sight, a humbling one. You are one and they are countless. You are small and they are beyond measure. And yet here you are, seeing them and holding them with your eyes. You feel like flying, hurtling into their gravity; and you realize that part of you came from the oldest stars, that part of you belongs with them. You feel infinite.
2013 was the year you almost gave up on everything, even yourself. But there were stars around you, too: people who held you at the edges, who kept you from bursting, who kept you sane. People who loved you despite your flaws, your failures. People who gave you words of encouragement, people who rooted for you.
2014 and beyond will be your gift to these people, to your stars on earth. Everything will change, and you will be part of it. It will still be uncomfortable, like braces on teeth, but you will be able to adjust, to wrap yourself around this new milieu. At a basic level, it is part of surviving. But more than that, it is part of finding who you really are.
Change will not be instant like the snap of a finger or the blink of an eye. But for the first time in forever*, I will be out of my own plan. And that’s okay because I am in a bigger and better plan: God’s. Something is different this time. Perhaps it is my age or the cumbersome baggage of negativity I keep lugging around with, but I am grateful to finally have the will and the motivation to work through this. I hope it works. I hope this change really does. I am tired of having but feeling empty, of smiling but feeling sad, of saying but not doing, of writing but not finishing. I hope and pray that I will be different, that this time next year I will be a whole new person.
To quote a poem by William Blake (one I have memorized because it is short and therefore easy) entitled “Eternity”:
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.
I hope you, reader, had a better year and that you have a wonderful 2014 ahead. May you find the strength to carry on, even when you run out steam. We all do because we are finite, but we are refillable. So fill your heart, your mind, your soul with the good things in life: family and friendship, love, laughter, perhaps beer but not too much, tea and coffee, Yakult, dogs and other animals, books, hope, faith, trust, parties, favorite colors, sunrises and sunsets, blue skies, happiness, art, children. And more.
We are so lucky to be alive, to be breathing right this very moment. For finite beings, it is incredible that we sometimes feel so infinite.
Happy New Year. Happy New You.
*A reference to Frozen, which is a really good film. Go watch it! 🙂