It is not often a man has the opportunity to greet the New Year knowing that it is the start of a new chapter in his life. Tonight, with but a few minutes to go before the clock strikes midnight (Central Time, as midnight would have struck already in my old Eastern Standard life), I find that I have been given just that opportunity. All around me are the unsettled detritus of a move-in interrupted, as my family and I completed our migration from New Jersey to Texas just this afternoon. I greet the New Year with unopened boxes. I hope it is not symbolic of the twelve months ahead.
Farewell, then 2010. I did not know when I greeted you a year ago that you would have turned out to be so… interesting. You have brought me triumph and loss, hellos too numerous to mention and a few goodbyes as well. You’ve brought me lovers, haters, and those in between. You have taught me the wisdom of fools and the folly of wise men. I met unexpected friends, and discovered hidden enemies; both, I shall treasure, and seek to judge myself by them both. There were heights of inspired passion, and then depths of mundane disappointment. I have found things out, and been found out. You gave me dark visions of the future, but then reasons to hope in the midst of the storm. All of the deadly sins, all of the cardinal virtues, plus fear, plus death (Farewell, Joe), plus love, harmony, faith, courage… in short, all of those things that make human life so rich, so full, so tragic, so wonderful.
Yet, in these last minutes, I name you, 2010. You were the year of That Which Might Have Been, in all of its significance, of both tantalizing opportunities that did not materialize, and terrifying disasters that were somehow avoided.
But the New Year is here now, waiting to take the mantle from you. And for me, a new era, a new beginning, a new chapter that continues the story but in new and unexpected ways, starts. 2011, I think, will not be a year spent holding our breaths. That which might have been may come around this time. And I will be prepared.
Resolutions are beyond me; I have not the willpower for them. So instead, let me offer up a prayer for 2011 in the hopes that these things might come to pass, whether I am strong enough or not.
Give me a little more courage in my convictions, and a lot more humility. Let me never forget what should not be forgotten, and wipe from memory all that should be. Let me give more than I receive, learn more than I teach, listen more than I speak, and act more than I talk. Let me bring comfort and laughter to my friends, and destruction and fear to my foes, in equal measure. Allow me to focus on the important things while letting everything else wash over me. These things, I pray.
Happy New Year.