Ever since becoming a grown-up--by which I mean, since turning 35; or, more acutely, since turning 40; and, even more acutely, since the despair induced by the 2016 elections--I've been pretty un-keen on the turning of the year. The passing of time. The reminders of age, transience, and mortality. I look at my hilarious brilliant five-and-a-half-year-old son, and I can't bear to think of him growing too old, too soon, you know? And--more to the point--I can't bear to think of myself grown old-old, the world failing through the travails of global climate change, und so weiter und so weiter etc.
I mean, yes, death. Not much fun to contemplate. In the end I do think that it's the work of life to come to terms with death, something that seems more urgent yearly, if not daily. This is the call, for me, to practice, to meditate, to deepen. I don't do it much; certainly not enough. Every year, it's a resolution. Every year, it fails. Will this one succeed?
Because otherwise, the passage of time yields little to fear--at least, if experience is the measure. I'm really happy with where my life is. I have a lovely little family. I love my job, and it looks like I might secure tenure this year (so far, so good). I love where I live. I have a wonderful yoga studio that's also a kind of spiritual sanctuary for me. (And there's church, of course, where my husband pastors, which makes it a little bit unusual and peculiar, but that's generally good, too.) I'm increasingly physically fit (although my weight has gone up! Wtf? Vowing not to worry about this, too. Muscle mass, I tell myself). My son is thriving, and more astonishing by the day.
So the years have been kind, very kind. And really, I wouldn't go back in time, certainly not to the fun-but-also-weirdly-horrible 20s, or the better-but-professionally-frustrating 30s. And the political situation? It has the feel of something that must be confronted, and pushed through. May we come out stronger in the end.
Death is its own thing. I'm working on it.
Happy new year, everyone.