Sunday, January 1, 2023

You mean there's more?

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I saw a theory earlier this week (on Facebook, of course -- where else do old farts spend all of their time?) that this coming week is still part of that liminal, time-out-of-time period at the end of every year. This person maintained that if you count twelve days forward from the winter solstice, you arrive at January 6th -- and that period is the true 12 Days of Christmas about which we've heard so much, in which up is down and the Lord of Misrule takes charge and so on. 

The math doesn't work; actually, twelve days from December 21st is today, January 1st. But the solstice is a floating holiday -- next year, the moment of the winter solstice occurs early on December 23rd UTC, which will be sometime on the 22nd for the continental US. Still, that only gets us to January 3rd. 

But I'm embracing the theory anyway. It gives me an excuse to keep to my family-of-origin tradition of leaving the Yule tree up 'til the 6th. We're still in sacred time, people!

Anyway. I know a lot of folks are exhausted by this point in the festive season and are ready to box everything up and shove it back in the closet. And that's fine. You do you. 

For me, today, it's about taking a breath and looking toward the year to come.

Earlier today, while texting with a friend, we talked about how life after retirement seems like a gift. I mentioned that for the first several months after getting out here to Santa Fe, I felt a vague sense of panic that time was continuing on. I had spent so many years straining to get to the point where I could retire and leave DC, and then I did it. I left the job, I made the big move, I reached the goal. Go me!

And then a week went by, and another, and the calendar pages kept flipping, and time just kept going. It's not that I wanted the world to grind to a halt for me or anything -- I'm not that impressed with myself -- but I'd reached the Big Finality, and it wasn't final at all. If I could have voiced my feelings at that point, I would have said, "Wait. You mean there's more?"

So here we are, having just reached our big collective goal: surviving the holidays and ushering the old year out. And the calendar page has turned. Here we are, at the start of a new year. 

You'll get no pep talk from me about making 2023 your year! I have no goals for myself for this coming year, and I'm not about to hector anybody else into planning how to get ahead at work or lose those last ten pounds or whatever. (Sometimes I see headlines for well-meaning articles on these topics and forget for a second that I don't care anymore. Particularly the career advice. What a joy it is to skip right over that stuff.)

That's right -- I have no goals for this year. I mean, there are things I'm looking forward to, as well as skills I'm interested in improving, and I don't intend to ever stop learning. But tonight, I'm looking at the calendar and saying to myself, not with fear or panic, but with joy and wonder: "You mean there's more?"

These moments of bloggy joy and wonder have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Happy New Year!

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