Sweet ‘ums, I’ve neglected you. I’ve been off from work/life/writing, lounging and eating and even going for long, aimless hikes in the damp winter air. I’ve considered cleaning, avoided it, done it half-heartedly and watched the laundry pile up. I’ve done a whole lot of nothing but play video games and watch stand-up specials with my kids and it’s been awesome.
For a few minutes in there, I’ve pondered my year.
It began when Facebook created a photo slide of 2014 for me. How helpful of them. Totally appropriate to the ethos of Facebook, they compiled it from my most-liked posts, as if other people’s reactions are the only things that give events validity. Lots of happy book stuff on there, but not nearly enough quiet moments, like children’s birthdays, things I lived privately and didn’t share. I was struck by how little of my year they’d really captured. There was no post after July.
Much has been written about the detrimental effects of social media. About how people post their best moments and others ache when they measure themselves against the vacation pictures, the accomplishments, the faux assertions of love (I know at least three women who are seriously contemplating divorce and yet post on their anniversary, “Twenty years ago today I married my best friend”). We present a false sense of ourselves and measure our lives against others’ false propaganda selves. It hasn’t made anyone any happier.
The same can be said for the “Year in Review” posts that the news puts out. Explosions. Unrest. Celebrity deaths. As if you can find a theme for 365 days, the many minutes and hours which have held happiness and horror, sadness and silliness, fear and fabulosity. A year is a long time and an arbitrary measure anyway. Does it really matter where we are in our revolution around the sun?
I remember when I found out that we are never in the same place in space twice, because even though Earth revolves around the sun, our whole solar system is also hurtling through space at 43,000 miles per hour. So while there will be another December 29th, by the time the next one comes around we will be hundreds of millions of miles away from the spot we are now. So, in reality, every day on this Earth is a unique treasure, one not to be compared or catalogued, but to be enjoyed as the rare gem that it is.
If it’s helpful to review your year then, by all means, do it. But remember that life is bumpier and less smooth than that and that even one horrible (or amazing) event does not define anything more than the moment in which it happens. You face the world fresh every day, anew, ready for anything. In life, every day is New Year’s.