I’ve debated whether to even write a year in review post. I’ll try to keep it from being too whiny. It wasn’t difficult in the way 2011 was with work and family challenges. My mom stayed pretty well all year, and work was on balance normal. The rest of my family is as healthy and stable as they were at the beginning; there’s even a new member, my first great-nephew, who seems a lot more interested in me than his sisters ever have been. I’m in a better financial position than I have been in for quite a while, all things considered. I had a great time with my Marquette friends at the music festival in July. I spent time with Dave and enjoyed every day of it.
But things aren’t all that rosy in my febrile little brain. The political realm in the U.S. continues to make me shake my head and wonder how this country has lasted for 236 years. Look, I studied American history and political science in college, but that doesn’t make this whole Fiscal Cliff thing any less dismaying. Far worse, though, are all the public mass shootings, capped with the Newtown school massacre. I cried for days over that, with occasional breaks for anger that people are still so obsessed with two-century-old issues as to not see that times have changed, that attitudes must change.
I undertook two projects during the year, family genealogy and the archival project of some old recordings, that both started off fun but eventually led me to question whether things in my past had been what I thought they were. I spent a lot of time considering regrets, which wasn’t really what I was looking for.
There were losses, two of which were sad and two of which were sad as well as the sort that one sees the longer one lives, the sort of attrition that seems to happen as time goes by once you’re closer to 100 than zero. You lose people, you lose things, you lose interests, and some of them you’ll never get back. A lot of them. That’s probably my summary of the year I turned fifty, the year I got really absorbed in the reality that time passes, that fewer things are possible than once were, and that you turn a page in the newspaper or online only to utter “Oh, no, not him” more than ever. I’m sure this is melodramatic. My mom would say “Just wait till you’re 73.” The problem is, I see where she is, and I’m beginning to think that the trajectory from where I am to that point has a distinct, inexorable downward slope. That’s a bit disconcerting.
This is something we all encounter at some point if we make it long enough, I think, and we all come up with our own way of dealing with it. There is no quick-fix for it. I’m not looking for any comments saying “Oh, you should do this and you’ll be fine!” I do think I will strive to spend less time pondering what’s lost and worrying about advancing age. That would probably help. That’s maybe as much of a resolution as I should make, really, not that I believe in making resolutions.
Anyway it’s now the end of one year and the start of another. It’s just an accident of the calendar, to paraphrase something Dave has said over the last couple of days, but it’s been an opportunity to think about this sort of thing. I’m feeling as if I want to be more active this coming year, if only to feel as if I’m getting somewhere and not just watching things happen. Maybe it might give me a bit better view of things around me, who knows?