I have been feeling uninspired lately. Which is funny, because I have been having a lovely time of things. Christmas was merry, providing gathering after gathering of friends and family for whom I am ever increasingly grateful. Our typical Midwestern grumblings about there being no point in getting the kids new snow boots thanks to global warming has been silenced by a smattering of powdered fluff…not quite enough to cover the tops of grassy blades, but enough for some good snowballs and the breaking in of brand new sleds that sat untouched last year. And of course, tonight is New Year’s Eve, which we will spend with good friends. There will no doubt be a lot of laughter as we sit on the brink of yearly rebirth.
True, I have been busy. It is a busy time of year. But it has nevertheless been in the back of my mind that I should be writing some cleverly witty post about New Year’s: a new take on resolutions (i.e. a new way to beat a dead horse)? A reflection on the past year (i.e. regurgitate my archives)? Make a montage to Dick Clark (i.e. play the sentimental card)? But I just could not muster the desire. I just could not think of anything to say that I felt anyone should devote even a few minutes of their time to read.
But then I read these words as I was checking Facebook: “Life grows sideways.” It is a line from a book written by Michael Nesmith called The American Gene (available for download at videoranch.com), which admittedly, I have yet to read. But the notion intrigued me; it made sense. Life does not build on itself in a linear sense with predictable moments of change. The only reason we see the changing of December 31st to January 1st as a new beginning is because we have assigned that meaning to it. For some of us, it becomes a new beginning because we make it so. We use the excuse of a fresh, unmarked calendar as the impetus to make changes. And there is nothing wrong with that in the least. But for others of us, things stay relatively the same, including our attitudes. Or if we do change, it is not because we are suddenly writing 2013 at the end of the date. Metamorphosis can happen at any time. We can choose to reinvent ourselves on a Wednesday in the middle of September. Or life can choose to throw something at us when we least expect it, giving us no choice but to change.
More than anything, pondering the idea that “life grows sideways” helped me understand why perhaps I have not been feeling so motivated to write a New Year’s post. Instead, I stopped worrying about it and went outside to watch my kids play in the snow. Then I sat down and let all these thoughts flow out of me. Inspiration does come when you least expect it. Now I can feel as if I have met my self-imposed deadline, and enjoy watching the ball drop exactly when I expect it to.
Happy New Year. Happy Life.