I am home for Christmas.
Being back among the old streets of my youth after years away gives me the happy opportunity to experience them as relatively new, with just the mildest trace of familiarity to sweeten the deal. I wind through downtown and up 8th Street, past apartment complexes I don't recognize, yet at the same time feel certain I've set foot in before. Maybe I lived in them once.
I walk, slower than I'm used to, to the town cemetery where one of my high school friends lies buried. It's a place I've seen mostly in dreams in years past, but I still intuitively sense just where to find him when I enter. I sit with a book and let the bulk of the tombstone block the sun from my eyes.
I don't worry about anything when I'm here, because being home is like stepping out of time.
It's a reprieve from the world, and it's one I've needed.
I need it because I want to prepare.
I entered 2009 full of good intentions and plans, and absolutely no warmup at all. And if I've learned anything this year, it's that new years' resolutions don't succeed by the strength of the initial burst, but through slow perseverance and unsung toil. Think of it as a race and you're already done for. (Forgive me if I wax a bit poetic here, the holidays just do that to me).
If every moment paves the way for the next, and all we've been through shapes, to some degree, what comes next, then the themes for 2010 have already been well developed by now. The mistakes of 2009, if recognized, dictate the work still to be done. And while it's important to recognize the problems and mistakes we've made, it's just as important to take this particular moment to discard the things that might carry over into the new year and cause us to make these same mistakes again and again. Therefore, 2010 will begin with a declaration of amnesty for all offenses, real and imagined. We don't have to be what we have been.
The past can do a hell of a job of repeating itself if we're not careful. And old habits die hard. If we keep telling ourselves that things are a certain way, they'll invariably be that way. If we open to the possibility of change, maybe we stand a chance of getting better.
So as I sit here by the warmth of an electric fireplace, I'm thankful to have the time to think a little on where I want next year to go, and where I want to go with it. About the importance of forgiving myself for the things I've done wrong, and letting go of the wrongs that might have been done me. And I'm feeling grateful to be able to spend time with the people I care about, even if they might occasionally drive me crazy. I'm grateful to have the friends I have, and for the patience they show in putting up with me.
If you're reading this, that means you.
In the spirit of the season, here's a little video that I hope will bring a smile to your face, as you prepare for what's to come.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I am home for Christmas.