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Yet Another End-of-year Thought

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Every year I end up writing some glib piece of trash about how much or little the last year meant to me, and how much better I hope/hoped to do the next year. Inexorably, I’m drawn towards the cliche of trying to constantly explain away my foibles and missteps, as though some imaginary jury is critiquing my performance. Perhaps I have been looking at the entire *concept* of the year in the wrong way.

Depending on the year, the cyclic nature of things can be clear or so opaque as to be completely ignored. It’s too easy to forget that between December 31st and January 1st, nothing actually changes ; an arbitrary break between two days, which is almost as meaningless as the arbitrary division into “days”. I personally find that my “day” varies depending on when I’m awake – such is my point of view. If there is no measurable difference between one day and the next, or even the division between the two, why is there such a tradition of resolutions and celebration?

I think it satisfies a desire for some kind of artificial closure to a period of time. It’s much easier to try to change behavior or forget the past if it’s clearly delineated as being “last year” than to have to face the basic repetitive nature of the hour, day, week, month, season and year. I just don’t feel as though there’s a noticeable difference for me between this day, this year, and the day and year to come. It somehow comes back to the random, thoughtless and seemingly chaotic series of repetitive events and causality which defines my waking moments and differentiates them from my dreams. There isn’t any sense or order to the events of the past year, just as there won’t be any sense or order in the events of the year to come.

Almost makes me wish that I was one of those end-of-days whackjobs, thinking selfishly that the world would come to an end within my lifetime, and that all of this would have just been practice (apologies to the source of that particular wording) or some unfathomable test. How easy it must be, knowing that your entire life is leading up to something, whether that something ever takes place or whether it is attributed to the world not being ready … Taking the road less traveled (apologies to Mr Frost this time) may reveal wonders and majesty previously hidden, ignored or marginalized, but it doesn’t appear to be a happy one. Happy are they who can pop a qualude or a prozac and let the world go by without them, letting a few more precious moments become part of the past.

It’s happening again, just like it happened before. No world event, no tyrant, no savior will change that seemingly endless cacophony of time and events in which we are all inexorably intertwined. Hopefully I’ll just be better at understanding and coping with it, since that’s pretty much the most any of us can ask for.

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