Sunday, December 30

Reflections on 2012

I know there are a lot of folks who do a Christmas or holiday letter about this time of year.  It’s a sort of highlight reel of one’s life.  I like to read them.  I like to know what’s going on in my friends’ lives.  We don’t write letters any more.  We post on Facebook so there are short bursts of information, or whatever we choose to post: pictures, pithy sayings, commentary, etc.

In fact, I just read something on Facebook about not being able to look forward if we insist on looking back. I agree and disagree with that. We can’t dwell in the past, but we have to learn from it. That’s what reflection is all about. I can’t change other people. I can’t change circumstances. But I can change me.

Everyone in media, or so it seems, is producing some sort of "Best of" highlight for 2012. The pictures, the books, the movies, the news stories, and more that moved us most in 2012. The names of luminaries who died in 2012. The tragic moments held forever in a snapshot, literally and figuratively.

2012 was somewhat tumultuous for me, but no more so or less so than for others. My significant moments were my significant moments. Some of those moments were shared by others who experienced them and remember them differently. As I think back on 2012, I know there are things I would do differently. . . because I know more now and see things differently now.

So as I think back on 2012, nothing in particular leaps out at me as a particularly timeless moment, but perhaps my memory is faulty. I recall the joy and exhilaration of riding in the open cockpit of a biplane. And the pure joy of just being out riding a bike. Moments of personal triumph for a project done well. Moments of reflection when the last page of a really good book is turned. Afterglow of an enjoyable and fun time with a friend. All in all, with all of its highs and lows, 2012 was a pretty good year for me.

I generally don't make resolutions. I think they are a waste of time because we can make resolutions whenever we want, but I completely get the symbolism of making resolutions with a new year. So I have three resolutions that do not start nor stop with a calendar year.  First, I want to be a nicer person.  Second, I want to give more thoughtfully. Sure, I'd like to lose weight and exercise more and I know some of those things will make me feel better about me. But I also know myself well enough to know that even though I aspire to being a recluse who writes brilliant works of fiction and non-fiction alike, I'm truly and profoundly grateful for being able to give to others, whether it is my time, my money, my expertise. Third, I want to enjoy moments as they occur. I don't want to be so busy that I miss moments. The last will be the hardest because, as I look at my calendar and see how busy I will be once I go back to work officially in the new year, moments will quickly blur.

Even if I don't remember all of the moments of 2013, this time next year I want to be able to know that at least I enjoyed them as they occurred and that somehow, even if in small ways, they made a difference in who I am and how I see the world.

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