Monday, December 31, 2007

Old Year Blessings, New Year Hopes

So I'm home again, and have started another entry about Indiana, but it's not yet finished and I doubt it will be today.  My dear sweet Melissa is coming over at 1pm or so, and we'll start cooking, baking, and preparing the apartment for what promises to be a quiet yet festive party with friends from various parts of my life.  My friend Julia has a superstition that whatever you're doing on New Year's Eve will shape what you're doing throughout the year.  I like the idea that the next year might include more social gatherings in my apartment, getting many of my loved ones in the same room at the same time (if you've never lived in New York, you may not know how hard this can be), where we can forge new connections, share some good food, get a little silly from the booze and dream big about the year to come.  

As meaningless as a calendar is in the grand scheme of things (and I tend to think of the Winter Solstice as the beginning of the new year anyway), I love taking stock of the past twelve months, and making plans for the next twelve.  I'm not big on resolutions, but I like making wishes, or creating long-term dreams.  I've never really been good at the latter, much as I've tried over the past ten years.  I'll do all the exercises the self-help books suggest (and I have a secret addiction to self-help books, don't tell anyone), I'll make lists, sketch out game plans with actions to take at one year, six months, one month etc. I think that's all fun... but then I pretty much take the days as they come, saying yes to projects that sound interesting, whether they fit my career path or not, changing little in my set patterns.  Floating along with the currents of one's life may be zen in some ways, but I could be doing more to put myself into the right rivers, to extend the metaphor.  Change needs to happen, and this year I'm feeling, for the first time in years, like it is possible and worth it.    

This blog has been a funny new way of engaging with the world.  I started it two years ago, thinking it might be a place I could put all the random musing and rantings I used to subject my friends to in emails.  That way they could, at their leisure, watch the squirrels in Patrick's head randomly pushing levers, and not feel like they had to respond.  I unconsciously assumed no one would read it unless I had sent him or her the link, so initially was a bit more loose in my naming names, and ranting rants.  I quickly learned (rather painlessly, luckily) that this was NOT a good assumption.  I've come to realize that if I write about anyone, with virtually ANY identifying markers, chances are very high he or she will read it at some point.  This has been a good discipline for me, actually.  It means I never write something I wouldn't be willing to say to someone's face.  This may mean the blogosphere has lost some oh so clever witticisms on my part, but the world keeps turning, right?  Another more surprising side effect of this has been that I've become a bit more direct in my conversations with my friends in the actual world, saying things I might have swallowed (and quietly seethed about) in the past.  I don't think I've gone overboard, pissed anyone off, or said anything unforgivable, I hope my friends agree.  I also don't think I've been put to the test yet in the "he can dish it out, but can he take it" department, which is the obvious corollary to this action.  So let me have it, Dear Ones, we'll see what happens.  

Overall though, I'd say there has been a lot less ranting than I expected there would be.  Mr. Crankypants has made an appearance or two, but he hasn't dominated the blog as I had expected.    Looking at some of my first entries, then contrasting them to my last few, there does seem to be shift in attitude that I hope indicates a new trend, not just holiday-inspired euphoria.  The fact that this is the third or fourth entry in a row that focuses on how happy you all make me must say something.  

Visiting my old friends, new friends, and not-so-secret crushes to read about what annoys you, delights you, or simply catches your interest, I've gotten brief glimpses of your personalities, the lives you've built for yourselves, and some of the things we'd discuss over coffee if we could.  I've yearned for your lives at times, and remembered old friends who have enriched mine, and both experiences have helped me clarify what really matters to me.  I am grateful for that gift.  

I wish I could be with each and all of you at midnight tonight, so I could give you an actual hug and kiss, but for now we'll have to settle for the virtual version.  May this new year be one of good work, adventure, good food shared with loved ones, celebration, serenity, beauty, and peace, in just the proportions you hope for.  


Java said...

It's really good to see a new post. I missed you while you were away. I've become quite fond of the way you express those thoughts that wander into your head.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see you're spending some portion of time on New Year's Eve posting and look forward to seeing your postings throughout 2008! Here's to a great New Year!


somewhere joe said...

"Floating along with the currents of one's life may be zen in some ways, but I could be doing more to put myself into the right rivers, to extend the metaphor."

Nice way to put it. I like a guiding sketch of the coming year as well, long as I can color outside the lines. Patrick your blog has that intimate, under the radar, musings-for-a-few-close-friends flavor that I love in a blog. I hope, perhaps selfishly, that it stays that way. Interesting that your blog has, over time, sensitized your online discretion and thoughtfulness, while in other ways liberated your offline conversation. Nice symbiosis, that. It's good too, that you've given us a license to cranky pants back, as needed, though what little kvetching I've seen here strikes me as being about as lethal as Fang's when she can't find her kong. The very few targets of your serious wrath have been richly deserving, and properly skewered. Mostly, Loose Ends is like hanging out with a bright, articulate friend and his friends. I happen to like this blog.