What is a New Year?

January 1, 2010

What is a new year, anyway, but another day?

I know that everyone is has been getting excited about the whole New Year’s celebration, end of the decade, holy-shit-2009-sucked-eggs thing, but I just can’t get so worked up about it myself. It might be because I woke up this morning with some awesome stomach ailment, necessarily tying me to a toilet by a “oh god oh shit oh fuck runrunrunRUN!” 2 minute leash, or it might come down to my whole New Year’s plans falling into the toilet, but I think that it’s quite likely because people use New Years as an opportunity to start over fresh, to throw old emotional baggage in the back of the closet – a year’s end enema, if I must be so crude – and yes, yes I must! The difference is, I imagine, that I’ve been trying to use every day in much the same fashion as most people use Dec 31st – to get shitfaced and wake up the next morning with a clean slate. More seriously, I have been trying for months now to get better at getting over my own past – analyzing my mistakes, learning what I can from them, then tossing them to the wayside so that the next day may start off fresh.

It doesn’t always work, because there are of course necessary connections between yesterday and today. The reason I am here and not hanging out getting hammered with my friends in Los Angeles can be traced to a whole line of yesterdays and a pile of decisions, each running linear into the next. I cannot help but for some of my options, some of my opportunities to be constrained by what happened before. Still, I have choice – the freedom to do what I will of the options presented, and to live my life as I want within the constraints that exist. I could hang around, let emotional baggage drown me, mourn the loss of Peace Corps, friends, money, love, the bad decisions, the injuries real and imagined, and just sit paralyzed, but what good is it? What will that get me, what do I gain from focusing on what I cannot change? It’s a recipe for a sad life, lived poorly, and I refuse to take any part in it. Yes, I fucked up – quite a lot in fact – but I just can’t bring myself to waste energy caring about all that. I try to cut my emotional chains every day, and while the first time is so damn hard that it makes you dizzy and leaves you crying in a pile, it gets easier. Now, doing it so often, I feel liberated by the very act of consigning my past to crazy stories and the mental shitcan.

That said, it’s the last day of the darkest decade I’ve lived through – not for me, for everyone – from the United States’ turn to tyranny and warfare to my family’s personal struggle against demons, bureaucratic idiots, hormone imbalances, mental illness, disease, cancers, and what-have-you, to my friends and their fights for control of their own lives, to the basic battle of humanity at large, to eat, sleep, live, and maybe smile every once in a while. The aughts will not be remembered kindly, I wager. You can feel it in the air, here in Nicaragua, but from all the way back home as well, via the internet. Witness the struggles in Iran for self-determination to see that the hope of this time of year can reach ahistorical proportions. All of us, it seems, are ready for something new, for a breath of fresh air, for a chance to let this all go and move on to another life.

And it certainly is possible – we’ve the means to start living anew tomorrow – if we can find the will, then we can create the universe again on January 1st. I’m interested to see where it all ends up – what changes, what remains, who ends up where. I feel a strong current of rebirth in the air, not just for tonight, but for the coming years and months and [time period here] – it’s not like I’m Nostrafuckindamus – everything is in flux, constantly, from the quarks on up. No, predicting change is like predicting that the Earth will keep turning and rotating the Sun – a winning bet damn near never day. What I see more than that however, is the exciting proposition of people actually wanting things to change, drastically, and working toward it. Perhaps it is my imagination, or my position in a community of travelers, artists, writers, and ex-workers, but the atmosphere is electric, palpable excitement oozes from the walls like that pink shit in Ghostbusters 2, but instead of turning the baby into a demon child, it leaves us all feeling refreshed, excited, ready to set out for unknowns and great adventures. I hope it is not constrained to just my own peers, because the effect on all of us rejuvenating – the 75 year-old backpackers, jaded old hippies, nihilist gen-Xers, all the way down to the idiots like me. We’re ready for something big, and so as I set out to the unknown – a new continent, a new country, another transformation, flying high above Columbia – not a coke reference! – as I set out for whatever waits, I hope that everyone else is as excited about, and ready for, the new world that awakens with us tomorrow.

Drink some water, wear a condom, don’t believe anyone who benefits from what they are telling you, and for fuck’s sake – Smile! You’re alive, now act like it! Love -k

PS. As for a New Year’s Resolution(TM) I’m going to spend the next month and a while, until I care to, completely substance-free. Pot was easy to drop, I’m down to 1-3 cigarettes a day, but the boozing is something I’d like to cut away from for a bit, so for Columbia, I’m going straight-edge. Inappropriate location for it? Perhaps, but cocaine is not my drug anyway, so I think I’ll be alright.


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