Do you remember—if you’re a writer, artist, I bet you’ve done this in your artistic infancy—getting a new notebook, a new sketchbook, a thing of perfect beauty and also, infinite potential, in its blankness, newness? It is untouched, unblemished. So full of potential.
This is how every January 1 seduces us—this is sort of how I feel, on a small scale, on every Monday. Potential perfection, here I come. This week—this year—everything will be better, different, more… perfect.
Happiness though, and life, lie in the acceptance that… actually… well… at 12:01 on January 1, 2021? Things, people—you, me—are much the same as they were at 11:59 on December 31, 2020.
So. No New Year’s Resolutions here. No hopes, dreams or plans either, really, to be honest. The bar is pretty low: I want to be employed and solvent, healthy and sane. Loved and loving. Alive and glad to be alive. That’s where the bar got set in 2020, which is much better than the bar for 2019 (“Survive, fuck, survive, can we get through this?”—we did, more or less).
In my Morning Pages, January 1 is just another page in a notebook started on December 12. In life, it’s a pretty glorious day—it begins with dancing (turns out you can have an all-night dance party with just the people you’d spend most of your time with at the all-night dance party you’d go to if there weren’t a lockdown) and ends with Ender in my arms, on my lap, on my head in all his giant, almost as heavy as me but still a child glory, as the kids and I watch Community after playing Qwerkle. In-between, all three children at my table, slurping Pho and making terrible jokes, a good book, a lot of “Happy New Year! May 2021 not suck—or at least suck less—god, I’ll see you, hug you, hold you in 2021, right?” texts. Also, a walk with the dogs, and the weather is warm although not sunny. Also, memories and reflection—and they’re not all bad.
Gratitude suffuses me. And they’re right, those trite memes and those wise sages: practicing gratitude changes everything. I am grateful for this moment and this feeling; I am grateful for you. I am grateful for this ridiculous, annoying, giant dog that sheds long hair everywhere; I am grateful for this cozy, cute apartment that’s a five minute sprint away from my kids—I am so grateful for my beautiful, mostly thriving children.
When you—when I, anyway—practice gratitude, there are no mistakes or regrets. Although there is still pain…
So. 2021. Hello. Don’t suck. I’m grateful to be here, and I will ride your bumps and slings and arrows… but. Like. Don’t suck. Suck less. Fulfill some of the potential promised by your blank page… in a, like—I don’t want to say “positive,” lol, because 2020 has made meaning of that word loaded—in a, let’s say, productive, powerful, purposeful way. That leads to good, beautiful, worthwhile things.
In return, I promise to whine less and be thankful more. Deal?
(The year doesn’t answer; being a fictional, artificial construct of our collective imaginations—well, except for the whole scientific Earth travelling around the sun bit.)
Deal, I answer for it.