I can’t pinpoint when it happened, somewhere mid-high school. Much like those doctor office first-visit-form’s questions about first periods – I don’t keep the start date in my memory, I’d rather forget, thank you very much. But somewhere in all of that, time sped up. I started wearing a watch and having to be places on time. Months came faster and faster, like someone flipping through a datebook, looking for a specific (yet still unfound) day, throwing ones I wasn’t quite done with just yet in the trash. And years piled themselves on, leaving physical evidence behind – a few grey hairs here and there and wrinkles beginning around my eyes. But I love them both. I’m not trying to hide them. I’ve earned them. I’ve lived. You can see the evidence in my face and in my body; grey hairs, the wisdom that comes from bad decisions; eye wrinkles, the laughs and the tear lines…some, still salty.
December 31st is a time for reflection. I learned that from my grandmother, The Birder. The thing about her is, she seldom tells you about life; instead, she shows you. All the grandchildren gathered at grandpa and grandma’s house each New Year’s Eve, and year after year I watched my grandmother quietly disappear into the basement around 10 o’clock. Standing at the top of the stairs listening, all was quiet but for a scarce flip of a page as she read the journals in which she religiously writes morning and evening (something which was my “resolution” year after year to do, and something at which I failed miserably). Each New Year’s Eve she goes back to read sections – sometimes the hard parts, sometimes the easy. The former have become more frequent, I think, as of late.
And so now, this is the time (as I’ve learned), to reflect – on what have I done, and what I will do; on the good times and bad. Like my grandmother, I go back to re-read the written and that left un...
Although never being one for resolutions (things started at a given time with much ceremony seem far too easy to break), my midwest makings simply do what needs done. Not setting out goals and plans, I just go forward – breaking and picking up and piecing back together again -- putting to work my mule-like tendency to put my head down and pull with all my might.
I’m not spending too much time on reflection this year --there isn’t enough time -- what’s before me preoccupies. For being a light eater, there is much on my plate. Linear days are already marked and scheduled, with notes made; accumulating paperclipped to-do’s, to-reads, and quotes I want to remember. I still like my days in pen and ink…written out.
But I do think back, and last year was good, very good – with laughter, stories, and adventure; yet also deaths, tears, and changes. Life doesn’t ask permission of us for any of these things. We must just go on, for you never know what will happen in the morning, even as dark as the night may be, even when the moon is new.
So I guess come this time next year, there may be some blood, some wounds, some exhaustion and dehydration – but I plan on still having my head, my wits about me, in the end.
And most likely, also a few more grey hairs and wrinkles.
But I’ll have earned them.