Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My un-groundhog day

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It’s 10:30 p.m. and I’m wide awake, and shouldn’t be.
This is my third late night out after meetings in every part of this silly county I cover, Monday a veterans day in Bayonne, Tuesday, Freeholders in Jersey City, and then a jaunt to Secaucus to cover the council, and tonight, a council meeting back in Bayonne after a long day typing out a column and story for the weekend papers.
This is the day the world changes for me each year, my anniversary syndrome that dates back as far as I can remember – the day of the year when events transpire that change my life dramatically, although not for the worse.
I know this is mostly in my mind, a kind of wish fulfillment that allows me to make order out of this chaos in which we all live. But it is consistent enough and previously so unconscious for many years I didn’t notice the events until after they happened, and noted they fell on the same day.
Usually, it is a change of wind that results in some significant occurrence later, some act of mine or something acted upon me that blooms more fully in the spring.
So naturally, I kept coming back to this idea all day, wondering what I would do to inspire that is likely to be an earth-shattering event, and as the day wore on, full of the usual labors of job and my consistent devouring of coffee, nothing happened.
Perhaps it is simply the fact that I’ll be moving back up to the Hoboken office after ten years in Bayonne, and will be covering Jersey City. Perhaps it is something tiny I did that I am unaware of that will bloom into something I totally won’t expect.
Perhaps I’m just reading tea leaves before I’ve finished sipping the tea, and can’t quite get to the bottom of what life is about, especially my own life.
So hours went on, cold morning giving way to a cold afternoon, and then to an even colder night, my making my way back to Jersey City a weary correspondent seeking warmth of a meal at home, and the luxury of bed.
But I can’t sleep even though I am weary, and I sit up, the way a kid might before his birthday or Christmas, who has yet to get the present he expected and will count down the last hours of this special day until the moment passes, before giving up on it.
Not that I’m disappointed. Every moment in my life is a special moment of discovery, even those that are painful to me. They are precious gems of experience I would not give up even if I could. I refuse to regret things to the point where I imagine myself going back to undo them. All redemption is an act of the present affecting the future, so to be sorry is not to be sorry about the past, but to amend the future.
And in truth, it only the present we can manipulate, molding it into something we want or wish, before it slips out of our grasp and we are forced to mold the next moment. If we are quick enough, we find happiness in our creation. If we’re too slow, it is pointless to wish that moment back because it cannot be, and so we do our best to make the next moment into what we think of as perfect.
If I have regrets, these come from those moments that I have molded badly, knowing I cannot recreate them, and must settle for some creation that is less perfect that that previous moment might have been.
And as this day – my un-groundhog day – passes into oblivion, I wonder: did I make it as good as I would have wanted.
Most often, the answer is: almost.

Sometimes, that’s the best I can ever do.

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