I sit here listening to the music of my youth: James. It’s New Year’s Eve, and we’re making food and all in the kitchen. The sorrow of reflection on the past and uncertainty of the future to come is back. It’s not unusual for me to feel like this at this time of year – the Christmas break usually creates some calm with a sense of planning for next year’s activities, but NYE always has a sad edge.
I have never been one for resolutions. Instead, I find action comes through evolution, and I understand its place only as I look back. As the years accumulate, the sense that something needs to be done, something that will wrap the memories of old age in a warmth of some achievement, grow stronger. And, at the cusp of another changing year, the same is here. I need to do stuff. Small things are small victories, and are just as valid as big things. The joy of these achievements may wane over time, but it never ceases altogether.
So, without wishing to set myself challenges that I cannot fulfil, I’ll keep it simple. In 2011, I resolve to Be Happy.
May your heart be wide open, may your mind set you free. James, Manchester.
I’ve been quite stressed about the prospect of the Christmas break. Work has been flat out busy for a few weeks now, and I hadn’t realised just how tired I was until I’d had a “firm” conversation from (not with) my boss. I paused, and realised that, apart from two weeks’ paternity leave in August, I have only had two days off work since I started the new job in April. In short: I’m shattered.
The bike has been missing in a big way, what with weekends used up with family stuiff, and the recent snowfall cutting short my commutes to the end of the year. Weight has been piling on as I continue to eat for its own sake (and the endorphin hit), and so the idea of spending my first week oiff for months anywhere but home didn’t fill me with seasonal joy.
However, two days spent at the inlaws have, in spite of the stress of overloading our car with kit for the baby, been quite restful. Allowance has been made, and I have barely lifted a fat finger. Sure, way too much food has passed my lips on a near endless basis, but the opportunity to spent maximum family time without external stresses has been great.
I love my inlaws – they’re the kindest people.
My brain operates simultaneously in two ways. The most regular, and prosaic, is the constant hum of unimportant traffic budging and knocking clumsily through my thoughts. It’s like the Arc de Triomphe – little purpose if you know any other route, and not particularly effective as a means of intersecting other paths.
The second is irregular, and comes in fits and starts, rather like a kangarooing car on a cold morning. They are not lightbulb moments, and neither are they especially enlightening. But, as and when they do happen, I ought to show them the courtesy of allowing their brief fluttering of life to have space to breathe. Yesterday’s mild electric shock of a thought was the balance between consumption and production; I realised how much I draw in, and how little I put out. In essence, I am intellectually and culturally parasitic. Gaining knowledge through whatever means is rarely frowned upon, but what is the use of consuming others’ output without returning the favour?
But, I always seem to strike the iron as it has cooled, and squander these chance encounters with fleeting thoughts. Given that this latest is a direct representation of my failings to produce, perhaps 2011 is the opportunity to look upon this as an opportunity and turn thought into action.