Wednesday, January 02, 2013
So we begin where we started, stirring up the old fires that New Years always inspires, goals and ambitions, plans that we need to get done before the new year expires and we are one year older without having accomplished what we set out to do all those years ago.
Somehow, with all the turmoil, blindness (literal and figurative), disappointment and overwork, I managed somehow to finish the first draft of a novel I started early in the year, and to start typing in the river book I had handwritten the previous year, and to start a new novel for this year – none published, of course, but with the idea that perhaps this should be my goal for 2013 -- year that must have more luck than 2012, although if truth be told, I was a very, very lucky man in 2012.
Our lives escape us always. We plan and then we rarely manage to do more than our weekly chores, and yet, if lucky, squeeze into these those tidbits of pleasure and pain we did not plan on or expect, nor in the end regret.
The hard part of surviving, as my 91-year-old grandmother found out before her death, is leaving behind so many of those who have not or could not or did not have the right stuff to make it, and in the end, surviving always means a measure of loneliness.
By best friend died in March, 1995, part of a sequence of deaths that left me devoid of those closest to me. Once rich in uncles and aunts, nearly all perished between 1989 and 2001 (when my mother passed), and my Uncle Ted pulled me aside to say, “You and I are the last from the old house,” only for me to see him pass on in 2010, and this year, to bear witness to Uncle Pete’s demise – the last of recreation room sports gatherings in Fairfield where I recalled only the yelling at faulty quarterbacks, the air filled with cigarette and cigar smoke, and the strong scent of alcohol and sweat.
The tragic part of New Years is when a person looks back more than ahead – an event that usually hits as a person approaches 50 and realizes that much of what we cast aside as old and done with were the real treasures of living, and that by the time we reach my age, it becomes clear that we have lost more than we have gained, struggling with the New Year to reach for smaller things to accomplish, such as waking up happy and unburdened each morning, finding small happiness in the sound of birds rather than raging hormones or unabashed ambition.
It’s the people who matter, those who have touched us and whom we have touched, and in those years if we have managed to reach more than we have cast away, we have lived a good year, a profitable year, a year full of memory we can be proud of.