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Friday, December 31, 2010

another year bites the dust

If you're like me, you're finding yourself here on New Year's Eve trying to figure out how on earth another year managed to sneak its way to an end while your back was apparently turned (all while scrambling through the back of your closet trying to find a dress to wear). And of course trying to come up with clever last-minute New Year's resolutions, just in case someone asks you (someone will), and because if you put making them off until next week as you're tempted, it will completely fuck up your 2010 resolution to procrastinate less, and that's no way to bid a year adieu.

I sort of inadvertently made a resolution a few weeks ago when I finally joined the 21st century and switched from my $20-no internet-no camera-no regret if I lose it-Go phone to an iphone (second hand, though... BABY STEPS). I vowed to myself that I would not get drunk on the power of all that technology (literally) at my fingertips, lest I become one of those people who seem to have their phone surgically attached to their hand, or apparently find social networking at a bar or restaurant more important and interesting than actual socializing with the people around them. Or, god forbid, one of those people downtown I constantly shake my head at, who are always on the verge of bumping into you because instead of looking where they're going their eyes are glued down at the little electronic device in their hands.

This phenomenon seems to be growing at an alarming rate, and besides annoying, I also actually find it quite sad. I have to wonder, have people become so numb to their surroundings and so apathetic to the world around them that they prefer the little universe in their phone to the physical one? What ever happened to walking down the street head up, eyes open, taking in the sights and sounds and occasional spectacle? Just think of all you miss... the pristine majesty of a skyscraper, the bright-colored new mural on the side of a building, the guy playing the organ on the corner, tufts of cloud just turning pink and orange as you make your way home from work, the waggly-tailed Boxer puppy straining against his leash to try and sniff your leg, the guy in the gorilla suit at the bus stop (hey, I live in San Francisco...). Being alert, present and conscious of your surroundings should not just be for tourists, it should be an everyday way of life.

So all of this got me to thinking that this year, I want to be start living my life more consciously. Not just by avoiding whiling away an inordinate amount of time on my iphone or laptop, but by being more aware of each day and each moment, more observant of the world around me, the needs of others, the beauty in the details. And more than that, more conscious of time as a whole, on a bigger scale. I know it's cliche, but it really seems like as I get older the years start to go by faster and faster, and before I know it the year and so many of my plans for it have gotten swept up in the whirlwind of days trailing back the months on the calendar I'm throwing out to make room for the new. Sometimes I feel like I get so caught up in the tasks and goals and dramas of the day that I don't even leave myself time to look forward. So this year I hope will be the year I figure it out. Or if not quite figure it out, make steps in that direction and start to make bigger plans for my life, for positive change and growth. Make a concerted effort to occasionally take a step back from the urgency's of the moment to take a wider look at time, at my life and the world and my place in it.

This all is a tall task for me, and part of me wishes I'd just said I vow to go to the gym more often and cut down on refined sugar... but deep down I know I have the resolve, and the support and encouragement of loved ones. Looking back on 2010, it's been a pretty dynamic one for my group of friends. It's seen moves, dramas, major life decisions, new jobs, new outlooks and changes in relationships. It's shaken us all up a little, for bad and for good. Mostly for good, I think. But through all of it, I had a solid foundation, people in my life who I was there for, and who were there for me. And I have faith that whatever this new year brings, we'll continue to see each other through.

So wherever tonight finds you, I hope it is filled with glitter, friends and reckless dancing, and most importantly, that your night and your 2011 are filled with love.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

from now on, our troubles will be miles away

I know it's Christmas Eve, and I should probably be writing some warm, fuzzy little ditty about how the fire is crackly and the lights are twinkly and I'm grateful for such-and-such, etc., etc. And it's not that I'm not grateful, or that I'm not happy that Christmas is here with its family time and cheer and ornaments and chocolate and comfortably familiar pine-scented living room. It's just that I'm feeling a little melancholy and a little reflective. Maybe a bit disillusioned.

I keep thinking back to a post I wrote last summer, a time when I guess the world through my eyes seemed somewhat renewed; fresh and full of possibilities. And I've been wondering if maybe I was just a little naive; blinded perhaps, by adrenaline and new hope. I don't know, maybe I was wrong. Maybe everything in life does have to be difficult and painful, and I just wanted it to be easy. Maybe the good things that come our way are really all just blind coincidence, and we hold onto those and try to assign them deeper meaning in order to make ourselves feel better.

But still, even when it seems like everything's going wrong and that my assertion that things really can be that simple seems like the delusional, naive ranting of a madwoman, it seems that deep down, the die-hard optimist in me still stubbornly insists that things can be, should be easy, as the natural state of things. That it's not life or work or relationships that are necessarily hard, but us making things hard for ourselves most of the time. Because we doubt, we second-guess, over-think and self-sabatoge. Because we're afraid of failure, or of commitment or of getting hurt. Or maybe even of realizing what it really is we want, because then we have to dig down and find the will and the courage to go and get it. And all of this because, after all, we are human.

I feel like when we're kids, everything seemed so much easier. And yes, of course this is due largely to the fact that as children we are generally taken care of and protected. We don't have to worry about rent and bills and deadlines and dating and finding jobs and keeping jobs. We don't have to figure out what we're doing with our lives or wonder if we're on the right path, because, when you're a child, there is all the time in the world for that still. But I have a sneaking suspicion it may also have something to do with the fact that as we grow older, we start to be told, over and over and with increasing frequency, that the universe is cruel. Love is painful. Life is a bitch and then you die. We're taught that we need to harden and prepare ourselves for this dog-eat-dog world, as if going into battle. It almost seems like this all becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I kind of have to wonder how it's even possible for us to have a fighting chance.

So how then, do we rediscover that simplicity, that ease of life? I wish I knew for sure, because... well, it would sure make things EASIER (hah). But I think that maybe: a little more compassion, open-mindedness, laughter. A bit more faith in the world and the people around us. A little less taking ourselves and everything just so goddamn seriously (because we're adults). Being a little more conscious of the energy we hold in our hearts and give out to the world. And a little more surrendering some of the hard-fought control we seem to need to have over every aspect of our lives and giving ourselves over just a bit to intuition and the universe and the mysterious forces that rule it. I don't know, maybe I really am a delusional madwoman, or a crazy hippie. Or maybe I'm just over-simplifying. But I still have to think that if we can let go a little and just get out of our own way, maybe that's a good start. That's where I intend to start anyway.

So I hope that this Christmas finds things easy for you, wherever you are. And if not easy, then I hope they are at least good. And if they can't be good, then hopeful.

Merry Christmas, and may your hearts be light.