So, this is my final column for the year. I’ve been thinking a lot about what this year, if anything has meant and signified. Interestingly, that is a behavior only humans share. I’m absolutely certain horses in the field, monkeys in the jungle or sharks in the sea spend no time reflecting on the previous year and what it’s meant to them. Each year, like each day, passes and is over and once it’s over a new day begins.
All that being said, the question remains, what has this year meant? I think there are a few tent poles I can find when I look back and see them holding up most of the experiences I’ve had this year. Each has supported and led to the other tent poles, which has been sort of interesting to see. I’m not sure I’ve had as much linear activity in the past, maybe it comes with age, maybe it’s wishful thinking, I don’t know.
When I look back this year the first section I see is closure. I’ve had closure on a lot of things for a lot of reasons. I’ve been to more funerals this year than almost any other time in my life. Both my grandparents passed away, friend’s relations, relations from marriage…there’s been a lot of death. That can’t help but make you think about closure. I’ve felt my youth pass away this year more than any other year. I’m an adult now, a father a husband and a man. There’s no college kid, no wandering adolescent left. I’ve closed the door on bad habits as well. I’ve actually gone about a month longer than a year now without a cigarette. I’ve kicked the habit. Closure feels good but I still want a smoke every day, usually around the time I realize I have more dead than living relatives!
The next tent pole, the center tent pole is acceptance. I’ve accepted or at least attempted to accept who I am as a person this year. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older or more tired or whatever reason there could be but I’ve accepted that I’m an almost middle age man that likes hard rock and is a husband and a father. I’m happy not being that experimental guy chasing the next phase of my life anymore. God that gets tiring fast! I’ve accepted that I’m more bald than not—of course I still shave my head whenever my hair gets long enough to look bald by nature rather than choice! Of course, I feel like I’ve been pretty good at accepting the person I am but in so many ways this year has been about final acceptance. It’s not easy saying goodbye to your youth, at least it wasn’t for me. It means that the outrageous and the audacious is probably over in your life. It means that moving forward you’re more mindful. It means that you’re less likely to step off the plank without looking.
So, now that I’ve closed the door on the past and accepted where I am in the present the final tent pole is looking forward to the future. I can honestly saying that I know less about where the future will lead than I have in any year of my life. I feel like time, destiny, experience, are all pulling me in a direction and now, more than any other time I have to step out of the way and let it happen. I know there’s land ahead but right now I still see fog. I think that in the next few months the magic of the future will probably appear but I’ve got to get there. As difficult as it may be I don’t think I’ll end up here. I mean I know I’ll have my family but that’s about it. Will I be at the same house, in the same city or the same job? I guess all I can say is keep checking back each week and we’ll figure out where we’re going together.
This probably hasn’t been the best year end column you’ve read. I know it isn’t even the best column I’ve written this year. I think looking back and ahead is never as easy as we think it’s going to be, maybe that’s what this column represents, maybe it’s just bad. Who the hell knows. Where ever we’re going, we’ll wind up there together. If nothing else, it’s going to be a interesting ride.