It’s the end of the year again. And it’s the beginning of the year again. I appreciate that one moment can be both things, and at the same time, merely another point in an ongoing, unending cycle of time. A special day, and yet a day like any other.
I appreciate the days between Christmas and the New Year. They masquerade as ordinary days, but they cannot be, with the letdown after the Christmas frenzy, and the pause, before the re-focusing and recommitment that the New Year represents. Boxing week makes it odder still. Some stores are still crowded with shoppers, but traffic on the streets was thin this afternoon, with lots of offices remaining closed until Tuesday. It’s a week when ordinary time doesn’t quite exist, a kind of suspended time, one foot having fallen and the breath held slightly in anticipation of the other. Normal business happens, but with one less beat, an extra stutter. I was in Old City Hall briefly this morning. But my client, who was arrested last night, had his case put over, and lost his chance at celebrating the New Year with his friends. The quiet, efficient desolation of the courthouse mirrored the schizoid nature of the day, the hurry to get things done and over with, the ambivalent calm of knowing, there’s always tomorrow, always next year.
Increasingly, I take pleasure in the Solstice. It’s become my real holiday of the season, the new year made real by the shift of the planet in its yearly cycle around the sun. The shift in orientation that will bring the light, minute by minute, back into our days. Today, I reminded myself that we’ve just gotten through the darkest three weeks of the year! The next 49 will each bring more sun than these last. Light and warmth, Spring and then...a promised but distant Summer - a fantasy now that will only become real in small, slow increments. By the time Summer is tangible and real, it’s winter that will be the fantasy.
But none of this is what I meant to write about. My intention is an expression of gratitude. Even if today was just another day, I’m grateful to have gotten through it. I sat in one of our offices this afternoon, chatting with Sherry, my team supervisor. I lamented all the work I haven’t done, all the successes I haven’t had just lately, and she kept giving me small assurances, to relax, don’t worry about it, it will work out. And we chatted about other things, having nothing to do with work, and by the time I wandered into the street, I was back into that shaded, ambivalent, suspended time, and in a good way. Things even out. Balance is not only something to aim for, but also something simply to accept – this job, the world, my life cannot be so simply shaken out of balance. Sometimes the best way to find it is to let go, let the rhythm of existence catch me.
It’s been a good year. Every year is a good year. That’s my truth. Despite the suffering millions around the world, and my kids who will sleep on the street tonight – at least in part because I didn’t find them housing this month – I am grateful for so much, ‘my cup runneth over’, and I experience so much joy, even if sometimes in small bites separated by confusion or pain. It will help no one for me to forget or overlook these things, the simple, ordinary pleasures, like counting the minutes of sunlight in a day.
That’s it. Time to get dressed and go out with Ponczka, to dance and drink a bit, and celebrate this special, ordinary night. Love to you all! And may you Thrive in the New Year!