Thursday, December 22, 2011

a practical guide to 2012

You’ve probably already said it forty times by now.

Happy New Year.

We say it every year and it’s a nice thing to say.

It’s, rarely, a genuine wish for friends, family, that guy who just made you a sandwich.

Hey, I hope you have a good year and things, on the balance, tilt you way.


Usually though,  it’s just three words, hot-glued together the way the mind does that, that come out, unbidden, just there.

And usually, of course, we find ourselves in March or February or if we’re lucky sometime in the summer suffering through another goddamned year, another rotation of the sun and the moon and everything else out there, just holding on.

And of course, next year will be like this year, much like last year:  a grind, an uphill journey with unimaginable psychic and global weather storming both indoors and out.

Who can begin to predict who we’ll lose?

What single thing can you count on in this seismic, shifting landscape?  

So maybe we can put something in the bank now, before it all starts, and maybe it might earn some dividends.

Me being the financial wizard that I am, it’s bound to work.

Gob knows what’s coming down, but I know some things.

I was genuinely happy a few times this year.  And I’m remembering that it had nothing to do with the weather or the balance in my bank account, it was because of what I did or said or didn’t do. 

So maybe I can keep those times in the front of my brain in 2012 and have a happy new year.

Sometimes you’re with a friend and you find yourself telling them what a good person they are, that they just did or said something wondrous and they shrug and deflect and go on with the conversation and for some reason you stop and insist on them hearing that you think they’re amazing and that it’s rare and it should be noted and you are, in fact, noting it.

And they stop and you see that lovely weird light in their eyes and you both glow a little bit because the normal rules have for some reason been suspended and it’s cool to be unguarded all of a sudden.

I’m going to try to do that more often this year.

And sometimes you’re in a meeting or an interview or some other business-related situation and everyone’s nattering on the way they’re supposed to and you know your cue, you know your role, you’ve done the scene a hundred times on a hundred different sets, but the  sameness and the pretense get to you for some reason that one time, that hundredth and one time, and you hear yourself breaking from the script, breaking character completely and you blurt out a truthful sentence or two and instead of the director screaming cut and you getting  fired, everyone around you stops for a moment, breathes and either laughs out loud or says, 

Yeah.  Yeah!  That’s exactly right.

So I’m going to try to look for more of those moments this year. 

And sometimes, often if you're lucky, someone you love and live with and is right there, part of your world and everyday landscape, performs a simple, almost automatic act of kindness, something small but something that completely and objectively improves your immediate situation. 

It could be anything.

Your cup of coffee is re-filled.  

That person laughs, genuinely, at the oldest bit you do, the joke that started twenty years ago.

Or you're standing there, doing some dumb thing and suddenly that someone else's arms are around you and that someone's face is up against yours and there's a squeeze and you know that another person is saying, physically,

I'm here.  For you.  And I'm glad you're here too.

And if you're smart you take that moment to say I love you.

I'm going to try to be smarter this year.

And sometimes it’s the end of the day and you’re tired but also filled.  You can see the rest of the task and you know the next steps,  but there’s no nervousness or anxiety or thoughts of what has to be done because you know you did everything possible today and then some.

The job’s not done, but you are on the job.

And that makes you very happy.

I’m going to try to end more days this year like that.

I'm going to try to have a happy year.

Happy New Year, all.

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