NewBah humbug it though you may, a new year is a time when your mind will drift to thoughts of what should change. I daresay there are those who can say, nothing, and I envy them, but for most of us, quite a lot is wrong or unsatisfactory.
But immediately you think about it, you are confronted with two big questions. What needs changing, and how do you do it? The first question is more difficult than it first seems. You can begin with the obvious: you put on weight when you gave up smoking so you want to lose some pounds; you feel you drink too much so you need to cut down; or you have not been looking after your garden and it has become a bit wild. And these questions have simple answers: eat less, exercise more; drink less; get out and prune. (No prizes for anyone who figures out which of those three does not apply to me. Which two, of course, because I don't think I could ever drink ''too much''.)
Too many things are vaguer than that though. We are confronted with unease. Unease is a terrible thing. I know what I don't like but I don't always know what makes me uneasy. A person might make me feel uncomfortable but I can't say why. I avoid a place but there is nothing about it in particular. I am a creature of unease, as it happens. I cannot find my ease anywhere with anybody doing anything. (And when I do, I neglect it.) I can't think of anything in my life that I can say, just now, that I feel at ease doing it. This does not make for a contented life.
Of course, I know that I create unease. I attract complications that make life harder, not easier. Well, there's a change that's needed. To make them into things that improve life, not make it worse. Or lose them altogether (something I'm not good at).
And I know some of the things that need changing. If I were to sit down and think about it, the first question is not so hard. I need more clients, more things to do, more harmony with my wife, more money, more fun, fewer kilos, contact lenses, better health, to write more, to think more, to be nicer, to abandon hatred, pretension and intrigue, to make friends and stop trying too hard.
The second is harder. Shit, this post was not going to be about me. Anyone reading with interest has stopped two paragraphs ago. Well, that's good. It's just me and the bored into submission...
Here is the thing though. I am one of those people who is convinced that he is not who he is. Do you know what I mean? This kind of person thinks things stand in their way, that they would be able to be themselves if... It's horribly frustrating and utter bullshit. It seems to me that that is the only thing about me I need to change. Or find out whether it is changeable.
I do know these are things you should think when you are twenty, not *mumbles*. I know it. My life is a fucking wasteland. It's not like I don't know. It was me living it, not you. But even the desert can bloom, right? Ultimately, that belief might be foolish, because the world does seem to be a sorry procession of the same old shit, age after age, but I am dying without the presumption, literally dying, and I need it, like my own Hanukkah candle, burning against a sea of blackness. So I will have it. You can keep cynicism and I'll embrace the belief in change, and we'll see who is celebrating a year from now.