Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Is it May already? or Shakespeare was right

"Growing old ain't what it's cracked up to be," Barb's mom used to say, rest her soul. "But it is, that's the problem," Barb and I sometimes say today.

At this point we can appreciate what she meant, though--especially me. I've got ten years seniority on Barb. Our grown sons have their busy lives, families and careers to keep them getting up quickly when they get knocked down.. Our grandchildren probably have the most going for them and bounce back from elemenetary and middle school pressures and upheavals the fastest of our family generations. They also tend to "get over it" the fastest, forgive, forget, and move on with amazing resiliency.

But I am the oldest of us by about ten years, and retired, and my moxie isn't always so quick to come back. Barb is still a working elementary school media specialist and keeps up her fitness most of the time with diets, workouts, and the daily bustle of her job. but this year has put "new wrinkles on my brow", figuratively and maybe literally. I can't tell that my wife, my children, or my grandchildren seem any worse for wear, but any of them might feel otherwise; they're living in their "ages" as I am in mine. We've all dealt with our situations with what we had to work with.

Robert Herrick said of life, "the best age is the first, when youth and blood are warmer/not the last, when "worse and worst times still succeed the former." He had his own motives, of course, in "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" ("Gather ye rosebuds while ye may'", remember?) But Shakespeare said of life's stages we are left upon life's seventh stage, "...sans teeth, sans hair, sans eyes, sans everything...." I haven't reached that stage yet, thank Goodness, but I can certainly relate to those who have.

Friday, January 01, 2010

What Is A New Year?

What's new about a new year? And why do we stay up till midnight to count down to it and celebrate its arrival so giddily? It's only time, artificially segmented, after all. It's not any part of nature, except as it's named and measured by man, the same way we name an eagle or a grasshopper, for there's nothing inherent in the thing we name, or period of time we name, which suggests very much about it by its naming.

A new year isn't about the world; it's about people. It's about how we see the world, and how we see each other, and how we see ourselves. It gives us a timeframe for our experiences and our memories, hopes and dreams. We can put them into the timeframe together, at any particular longitude or time zone we are on December 31 at the witching hour each year. The new year is the essence of the clean slate in our lives, the new chance to embrace living , working, striving, planning, coping and pursuing what goals we set for ourselves and call our new year's resolutions. A new year is a new period time we have agreed to name and perceive together and live together, as individuals, families, communities and cultures, nations and peoples, for better or worse, on our planet Earth.

In looking back upon the previous year as the new one approaches, we evaluate and codify it and in many instances make our peace with it, for often many things have happened we need to remember and deal with so we can move on afresh. Many other things. conversely, we will carry forward with us gladly and with a renewed sense of appreciation and adventure, gratefully.

New Year's Eve isn't only about Auld Lang Syne and memories of the past. It is above all about expectation and hope, the expiring of the former order of things and the birth of the new. It is the time above all other moments in our 365 days when we sense the future opportunities most keenly as we stand on a threshold and step forward into our destinies together.