December 31, 2001

I have a great gift. A great blessing. And it’s particularly appreciated by me, now, as we enter a new year.

I can’t speak for others, but it seems to me that 2001 generally sucked. It was a sad year. A bad year. We can read and see news accounts about what happened in twenty ought one, and we all know which event defined the year for the media. But what really defines a year for most of us is personal experience. The impact a year has on us. And unless horrific events touch us personally, they aren’t what defines a year.

Actually, what defines the year is whatever is most recent in our personal lives, the things that happened within the trailing month or so.

If we’ve found a new love, that defines the year. If we’ve lost someone, that defines it. If we lose a job, that defines it. And so on. It’s never the year seen in its totality. That’s not how we think or feel. It’s whatever is most recent. The truth is, most years are up and down affairs and if we’re up when it ends, that is how we see the year. If it’s down, well, that’s makes the year.

For me, 2001 sucked. Because the ending sucked. If one word defined my take on the year, it would be this: lonely. I’m bored, I’m alone, and I’m whining about stupid shit I wouldn’t care about if I didn’t feel bored and alone.

This is where my great gift kicks in: it will pass, and I won’t remember it.

I never remember the shitty times. I only remember good times. I often can remember them in vivid detail, but I never remember the times where everything seemed like crap. For instance, my mother … She died a few years ago. But I can remember nothing sad about her, not even her dying. At most, there is a melancholy longing for her because she was the person I talked to.

I know I’ve been lonely and sad before. But I don’t feel it. I don’t recall it viscerally. I can never recall sadness as it was felt at the time. But I can recall when everything was good.

Actually, the only time I think I recall bad times is when I’m feeling that way again, and even then I’m never sure it’s true. It's never accompanied by a sense of veracity; it never has the feel of something true. More often, it feels like something made up to reinforce the sadness felt at the time I’m recalling. A self-pity thing. It feels false.

But good times … these feel true.

So that’s my gift. I hope you have it too. To discard the crap that infects our lives and recall only the reasons for being alive: the drunks, the conversations, the embarrassing moments, the dances and the food and the music.

However your year ended, let’s hope, count on, and expect more of what we remember best. (Or at least, what some of us remember best.)

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