Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Years and Midpoints

We just celebrated New Year's Day, for the calendar year, at least. We made resolutions (weight loss, finances, coffee consumption), we're making plans to fill them out, we're looking forward to 2010.

I've always loved the new year. I like to think of myself as a fairly reflective person (or narcissistic, depending on how you look at it), but the exercise of marking the passage of time is typically a way that we measure change, and ideally, something like progress (always moving forward, we are). This year I accomplished more, made more, had more fun, whatever. And if change is the unit of annual currency, we here at Chez Horace had plenty: new house, new family member, one less fuzzy family member, new school for the twins, now in kindergarten. New New New New.

But Auld Lang Syne and all, and I don't want to forget what remains true. We remain quite healthy, if a bit more sedentary from Junebug's demands. Our family situations are stable enough, and while they could be better, they could also be worse. Willow and I remain in love, we love our children, and our children (despite the occasional protestation) love us. We've got lots of friends, and we even saw some of them this year. These things were by and large true last year, and I am grateful that they remain so.

I'm sure there's a rhetoric to these annual reflections, complete with tropes: the accomplishments, the travels, the big changes, the silver linings, the resolutions. For a while I resolved not to make any resolutions (it's like my Lenten practice of giving up sacrifices). But we are these creatures, we make narratives out of events, we wrest 365 days worth of happenings into a coherent year: was it a good one? a bad one? Did we bid 2009 good riddance (facebook status updates do suggest so), do we welcome the unknown with open arms?

But instead of marking beginnings and endings, I also want to attend for a moment to middles and in-betweens. For this present moment, poised at the cusp of the old year and the new is its own thing, and while the marked time and date turn us backwards into the past even as it washes us forward to an indeterminate future, we are remiss to miss the now.

Right now, my syllabi are in process (themselves documents awash in promise of a new period of time). I like writing syllabi for the same reason I like new years: all that possibility.

Right now, the children are all falling asleep: one listening to Anne of Green Gables on cd, another thinking about his Magic Treehouse book we've been reading, the third nursing back to a quiet rest.

Right now, I am posting to this blog, an activity that I missed doing more of, and at the same time feel somewhat silly (or self-indulgent, or whatever) doing even now.

Right now, the Christmas tree remains lit in the living room, where for whatever reason, its light is a hedge against these grey, snowy days.

I risk turning into a bad Van Halen video, but my point has become (though it wasn't where I imagined going), that I have to remind myself, no matter how much I enjoy patting myself on the back for last year, or benignly deluding myself about the next one, that this space seemingly in between years (or more accurately at least, in between semesters) is at least as important as the big measurable, markable histories I might write about 2009, a year that was, well, fine.

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