Left-over notes to self
So, end of the year, here in the northern part of North America. We make the circle once again, coming back, different, to the same place we started a year ago. Like a short walk around the universe. Time to sit back, relax a moment (but only a moment because the universe isn’t in the habit of waiting) and start up again. (Note to self: Re-read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy).
I don’t know why we mark this event – any more than I know why we mark others. Or why we keep time, count days, strike off the months. It all flows together so well on its own (not knowing or caring, I suspect, that we are counting) that it sometimes seems so artificial, the way we have it all divided up. I guess it seems that way because it is; artificial, I mean. Arbitrary. (Note to self: Re-read Still Life with Woodpecker)
I have friends who live in different countries . . . they have their time off on different days of the week, celebrate the beginning of the new year at a different time of the year. It’s just as arbitrary. (Note to self: Re-read Deaf to the City)
Anyway, every year I come to this same place and have a similar feeling – like I should be counting up goals attained, things accumulated, progress (however it is measured) made. But what symbols would I use to mark the progress? Certainly not the marker of time. Time and age both count, of course, but they are attained without effort. And goals, accomplishments, are supposed to be measured in terms of something that required effort on my part – so I can’t take credit for the fact that another year passed, can I? (Note to self: Re-read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
So, here, at the end of yet another period of marked time, are some questions I still have:
How come ‘made it through another year’ isn’t a valid goal? (I did, and I am happy about it, so shouldn’t it count?)
How come the lane I am in always moves the slowest? (How did I get so skilled in this area of lane-choosing?)
How come kids in care need measurable goals? (Who’s that for anyway?)
Why is it that even when my clock stops, time still goes on? (What is the point in measuring something that happens anyway?)
How come thousands of people use CYC-Net, but only dozens support it? (What’s that say about its ‘real’ value?)
Why do I save books I have already read?
Oh, I know there are more important things to worry about. Or, at least, so they (who are ‘they’ anyway?) say.
I prefer to measure progress in terms of the questions I still have. I figure if I every run out of questions, time will look after the rest. (Note to self: Throw out those books and get new ones.)
So, happy or not, here we are – at least some of us – others have been here before, or will be arriving later.
But we all get here on time.
Rosemere, December 31, 2005.