365 Yesterdays and Tomorrows
This was the rhetorical question posed 365 days ago, to no one in particular. The few readers I did have back then were certainly doing other things than surfing the internet that night, but I write as much for myself as anyone else. I went on to list things I should do this year, but knew I wouldn't. With the exception of upgrading to DSL, I didn't in fact accomplish anything on that ambitious list. I didn't ”LOSE THIRTY POUNDS”; I gained ten. I didn't ”BUY A NEW CAR”, but 2005 proved to be a great year for my old one without any of the problems it had in 2004. I didn't ”GET A GIRLFRIEND ALREADY”, but some things are beyond my control, even when I do try. I didn't ”MOVE OUT OF MY PARENT'S HOUSE”, though I am seriously considering some options.
Now, here I am 365 days later looking back to see what things did change this year. We lost my mom's cousin as well as my music teacher. The world lost the Pope, Bob Denver, Ossie Davis, James Doohan, Peter Jennings, John Spencer, Vincent Schiavelli, and many other beloved individuals. I started playing with a digital camera and picked up a new hobby this year. I picked up a few extra musical gigs too with a band leader that was once partnered with one of the other leaders I play for. Besides the extra outings from this new group, I even witnessed firsthand the creator of the “pizza dance”. I attended the wedding of a coworker, fellow blogger and friend. Not one but two old college friends announced they were each expecting their first child with their respective spouses. My friend Curt and his wife had their first child, while my old buddy Rey and his wife had their second child and first daughter. If that wasn't enough, Rey also had seizures a few months later. It's been some year.
A calendar is such an arbitrary thing, and yet there's something about THIS night, and the first day of the year, that puts us in an odd mindset. We look back and review, contemplate our life and where we've been, and think about where we're going and what changes we need to make. I've always felt pressure to go out on New Year's Eve, but I've not always had a girlfriend or even friends to hang out with. The one year I did try to go to Time's Square, the train platform was packed and it was freezing. I didn't want to stand out there any more than my girlfriend did, and we ended up driving out East instead, to a quiet little restaurant, and later sipped champagne before a roaring fireplace. Rhodester wrote something earlier that reminded me that sometimes the quiet ones are the best. That being said, there was one year an old high school friend performed with his band for the occasion, and another time my girlfriend and I ran a gamut of activities in Boston ranging from independent films to violin quartets to fireworks above old galleons in the harbor. Those were probably my best New Year's Eves.
Most years when I don't have anything as exciting to do, the prospect of having Chinese food with my folks can seem a little depressing. New Years Eve was second only to Valentine's Day to me as the worst day to be single and alone. Maybe I'm getting more mature, or just a little desensitized, but this year I've found myself consciously reminding myself what today is. It just doesn't FEEL like anything other than a regular Saturday, even if we did have Chinese food for dinner. I did give some thought last night to actually going somewhere this year, even searching for events, to see if there were any fireworks in the area. The results seemed sparse. I wasn't about to go to a bar, nightclub or cruise on my own and I was amazed how many of my search results included speed dating events. Yikes. I even considered going to the city. So what if I have no one to go with? That shouldn't stop me. However, when a gray, rainy day turned into a gray slushy day, I quickly thought better of it. And so the night ends with me writing, as do most nights.
It's hard not to look back, and even the mail conspired to get me to do so. I ended the year with the largest credit card bill I've ever received, over $500. That might not sound like very much, especially during the holidays, but when I first got a card my bills used to be under $100 since I mostly used it to fill up my car with gasoline. In the last few years, gas prices have gone up, I've added DSL and Netflix, and picked up a healthy DVD addiction. Way too many shows I was looking forward to finally came out this month, and while most of my bill included Christmas presents, close to $200 were DVDs for myself. Ouch.
Memory is both a curse and a blessing, an ability to revisit the past whether we want to or not. The most important thing to realize is that we can't change what has gone before, only learn from it. Looking forward, I don't think I'm going to set any lofty goals, even with the consideration that I won't meet any of them. Instead, I'm going to keep doing the good things I'm already doing, and add as many as I reasonably can. I will continue writing every day, as much as possible. I will continue taking pictures, my camera forcing me to explore the world outside my room. I might even get a new and better camera this year. Maybe I'll lose weight, get a place of my own, and get a girl; maybe I won't. One thing I'll work on is my attitude, especially one I've harbored that I was “too old” and it was “too late” to accomplish certain things. I can't measure myself by the things my peers have done by the same age, and I can't rule out anything for the future. I don't KNOW what tomorrow will bring. That shouldn't scare me as much as it always has. Instead, it should excite me. I think the advice I got about making a list for work can apply to my life as well, if approached in smaller, realistic increments. Often the reason I feel so lost and disoriented when I'm away from my job for more than three days is because I don't know anything else, don't have a structure for my downtime. I'm not saying fun should be a rigid thing adhering to a schedule, but I think if I went to bed on a Friday knowing the next day I wanted to go to a specific hiking trail, or beach, or movie, or museum, I might actually do it. Many days when I have nothing planned and nothing I HAVE to do, I do nothing. I sleep for over 12 hours like I did last night, I take naps when bored like I did earlier today, and I spend a lot of time lying in bed and staring at the ceiling. Once in a while, this is fine and necessary to rejuvenate, but after last weekend and this one, it's a little too much. I want to LIVE, damn it!
What am I going to do next year? I don't know. What am I going to do tomorrow? Now that's a question I'm going to think about every day.
Congratulations once again to all the 2005 BEST winners, and I hope you all have a blessed and safe New Year.