Friday, December 31, 2010

Booking Seats on Time's Flight

My first sin was the fear that made me old. The world turns at a different pace for each of us. Every one of us celebrates the completion of a lap around the Orb on our own special day. Yet today is a day that marks time for all of us. It is after all the culmination of a calendar year. It is a day - perhaps the only day of the year - on which it seems as if each of us grows a bit older at exactly the same time. Maybe it is because we take a moment to contemplate the fact that we are not the only ones who complete an annual journey. In much the same way as we all take our lap around the Earth once a year, the Earth makes its own trek as well. No matter who we are or when our birthday falls, annually we are all pretty much simultaneously accompany the Earth as it wraps up one lap and starts anew on the next.

Today marks the end of yet another year. I know not whether time flies or I just move so slowly that from my perspective it simply appears to fly. Whether it does or not I know not for certain. Tonight Margaret and I shall usher in the New Year in the company of several good friends. Last year, I ushered 2010 onto the stage in the company of my trusty sidekick Rosalita. Truth be told we were both asleep by the time 2010 arrived. Being children of deep, spiritual faith Rosie and I both accepted the likelihood of 2010's arrival whether we bore witness to it or not. Since Margaret was out in Colorado with Rob and Suzanne was in Vegas with a group of her friends, upon my return home after dinner with Joe, Rosie and I watched as much of whatever college bowl game was on that we could tolerate and then ambled on up the stairs. I went to bed and she went to where she spends a lot of her nights - on the floor next to our bed on my side. Our faith was indeed rewarded. Although neither of us witnessed it firsthand, when my alarm clock sounded in the morning, we awakened to 2010.

And so tonight the journey of this year ends. Life's journey continues. Some days it seems like a longer, stranger trip than it does on others. Life is forever a source of teachable moments. Recently it seems I have been doing quite a bit of learning - having been ignorant for such a long, long time. Not all of it has been easy. Quite a bit of it has been less than fun. All of it has been necessary. You get a good appreciation of both the heights you have reached and the depths to which you can fall when you press your toes right up to the edge of the abyss and look down. It is an experience that can be utterly terrifying. At moments, it has been.

Tonight, the collective sets aside thoughts of the one-way journey that is life and the fact that every moment lived is one less moment left to be lived. Many of us gather together, whether with friends or with loved ones or (in the case of the millions who shall stand in the cold in Times Square awaiting either Dick Clark or a lighted sphere to drop) strangers who have driven East from the Midwest to check an item off of a bucket list, and await midnight's arrival with childlike anticipation. It is a fascinating bit of human behavior to observe - the decision to elevate the passage of time at midnight's stroke on New Year's Eve to a level like no other. Perhaps it makes us feel empowered. Time controls all of us to varying degrees. On this singular occasion annually, we the people allow ourselves to feel as if we control it. We have made this moment into THE moment. And just then - just for a second - we are a bit less like a cog in the machine.

It is a fool's errand of course. We no more control this particular moment in time than we do any other. Time runs us. It dictates what we do and what we do not. At journey's end, we are all Dave Raymond, jamming on stage with our band mates at our wedding reception, negotiating with our new bride, "One more song. Give me one more song."

Wherever you are this evening and whatever you do, adhere to the admonishment of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus.

.....and have a Happy New Year.


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