New Year's Eve

2017 arrived on a sleigh of smoking turds pulled by the four horseman of biblical fame, and still, we made it to 2018. Don’t ask me how. Last year was a blur. The world reeled, staggering from one shallow foxhole to the next with the various status quo in flames all around.

It reminded me of my favorite scene from that stink bomb of a psycho-drama The Birds.

Crows have just attacked the school, and the adults are huddled in a bar (kinda fitting) discussing a complete and terrifying turn of the table by Mother Nature (well played by the way) as though there was something rational to be found, if they just used their indoor voices, with town drunk – the only rational voice in the room – punctuating the discussion with occasional “It’s the end of the world”.

Is it though? Really? The end of the world.

Probably more reasonable to take our cultural reference cue from REM. It’s the end of the world … as we know it.

Because that happens throughout history, and if we are really ready to be honest, it’s happened more than once in living memory.

Someone on Twitter today had a list of all things that didn’t exist in 2003. On that list was pretty much the entirety of the internet as we use it today. Certainly most of our communication devices. The way we interact socially has been completely altered by social media.

Generation Zed knows nothing about an existence before hand held devices. They’ve literally been born and grown along with them. Our world is basically a teenager entering the end stages of puberty. And that, explains a lot.

So it makes sense that a political and economic world that our great-grandparents would still recognize and feel comfortable with simply can’t adapt. Things are giving way. It’s not like there are other options.

And okay, I will grant that the nuclear code rattling by America and North Korea could maybe sort of bring about an Armageddonish crisis, but I am going to throw caution to the wind and bet on us still being here in a year. What I will not claim is that the world will have settled down much. The current version of Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it won’t transform itself in a couple of years anymore than the last Rome did. Change takes time even when it feels like the exact opposite.

Happy New Year then. Congratulate yourself if you aren’t a Nazi or one of their enablers, yet, and remind yourself that whatever is coming, you are not the only one going through it. Look around your neighborhood, workplace, gym, school, community and find those like-minded, who are out there, and connect a bit more than you currently are. There is safety in numbers, but also laughs, joys and fiendish plots to thwart those bags of dicks who thrive in the chaos of change.

Bring it 2018. If the world could survive 2017, it’s ready for you.

Happy New Year 1910!

Image by Puzzler4879 A Blessed New Year To All via Flickr

As the last days of 2010 speed by, some of us are plotting new courses for a new year, and this means – naturally – making those awful, and often fruitless, resolutions.

Most people concentrate on the concrete. Resolving to lose weight, which more often ends up with the health club having a fatter wallet and no significant body improvements for them save a skinnier bank account. Diet improvement or renouncing counter-productive habits are biggies, as is the ever popular “getting organized”.

Make-overs are big because of the broad applications. Nearly anything can be “made over” and “improved”.

A smaller portion of the population tackles the interior with goals intended to improve, cultivate or jettison relationships.

Typically, I don’t make resolutions anymore. I have goals but my success is not measured by how quickly they are achieved. Rather I look at how they incorporate into my life and I would say that my goals are in a constant state of refinement as I pursue them in a non-manic way.

One thing I have noticed about myself as I head into my fourth year living in Canada, is that I am more and more myself.

In my old life back in Iowa, there were obligations and responsibilities that obliged me to stifle who I am more often than was good for me (though it probably benefited a small group of others). I don’t employ many of the checks by which life was precariously balanced. Nor do I masque myself.

Oh, I can still be inscrutable, but more often, what you see is who I am.

This year, I resolve to continue being more and more myself.

Perhaps you might too. It would certainly be easier and more inexpensive than a lot of other superficial options.

In case I don’t see you again before the new year, have a joyous and peaceful one, dear reader.

You were not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them, and fly.

An old high school friend posted this in her Facebook status bar today:

So what were you doing 10 years ago? I was working at CDD, Jerry was working on a Y2K project, and I was hugely pregnant with our third child. We spent NY Eve 1999 with the Hilmer’s, waiting for the world to lose power or whatever was supposed to happen when the new century began. Hard to believe it’s been a decade already.

It suddenly occurred to me that Will and I hosted a gathering that evening. A friend rented a van so that we could all drive around together without worrying about multiple designated drivers. Since Will and I were trying to conceive, I wasn’t drinking anyway, so it hardly mattered to me. Parking, however, being an issue in the downtown because of the fireworks, I was glad to hand over driving duties.

Our friend picked people up though I don’t recall where. Perhaps our home was the central meeting place as Will and I were making breakfast for everyone after. It’s been forever ago, but I seem to recall bowling and then making our way down to Nollen Plaza. We parked near the courthouse and walked a few frigid blocks. It was freezing, and I hate fireworks*, so I shivered under Will’s arm and flinched with every pop, snapple and boom. Right as midnight struck, Will pulled a jewelry box from his pocket and gave it to me. He had tears in his eyes as he told me how much he loved me, how happy I made him and that he promised to be the best husband anyone could ever want.

The box contained a necklace, a gold chain with a heart pendant that upon closer inspection revealed the year – 2000. Every woman there made it a point to tell me how envious they were and how lucky I was at some point in the next hour. Every attached male gave Will heck for showing them up.

Around 2 A.M. we landed back at our house. It was a tiny home; 960 square feet total divided between two floors. There was barely room to turn completely around whenever the gang gathered at our place, which happened a lot in those days. We were turning into my parents, but in a better way than I remembered from my childhood.

Will had gotten one of those plug and play video games. The kind with the joystick, loaded with all the old arcade games from the 80’s. The boys competed for top score on Pac-Man and Galaxian while Will and I made pancakes and scrambled eggs.

More drinking ensued and the last guest headed out around 5.

That was the year that everyone was panicked about Y2k. Will scoffed as I made sure we had drinking water, dry goods, batteries and cash on hand, but he went along with me even so far as to fill up both our vehicles that day. He drew the line at a generator. We’d seen a picked over shelf of them at Home Depot the weekend before and I mused aloud about whether or not we needed one.

“We don’t need a generator,” Will said. “If we lose power, we’ll head out to Mom’s. She has a wood fireplace.”

Will’s mother being the last person with whom I would want to ride out the apocalypse  I said,

“We have lots of blankets and the sleeping bags are rated for -40.”

We slept late and dragged ourselves to Hy-Vee for a later breakfast in the early afternoon. And that’s all I remember. Which is funny, isn’t it? I know so many people who can quote chapter and verse on their past lives and until my friend brought it up, and then I reminisced a bit with Rob, I had forgotten pretty much all of it.

Two of the people who were there that night are dead now. Will and the wife of a friend of his. Aside from my best friend and her husband, I haven’t seen anyone else who was there since Will’s funeral or some even since before he was diagnosed with this illness which is 4 and 6 years respectively.

Time has an interesting way with life, doesn’t it?