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What if you had spent New Year’s Eve in the Space Station, looking down, watching midnight roll across the globe? Would you have had a sense of the passage of the old year—an ending of sorts? Or would you have seen that time is an inexorable slippage from one condition to another—light to dark, dark to light, change coloring the face of your world?
Living in the West as I do, the New Year’s Eve celebrations on TV always feel artificial. They’re simple manipulations. The Times Square ball dropping on my screen actually happened two hours ago. In California, it will happen an hour hence. Time is something of an illusion. You can travel back in time on a jet going west. So what is it we celebrate at midnight…our midnight?
We like tokens of progress—diplomas, paychecks, birthdays (until physical aging reaches its zenith and starts downhill). Tearing off the last page of the old calendar feels like progress. WHEW! We survived that one! It’s good to realize how much we have survived—that we can survive. If we survived all that, we can make it through more. It’s good to think we may have learned something along the way.
We also like hope. The fresh page of January looks like hope. Remember how much you liked a new school notebook—empty and clean? Or a pack of fresh crayons? We can look at 2020—a fresh decade!—and hope that we’re about to turn a page to more beauty, more love. People are cynical these days. Much they valued has faded. But we’re challenged to see how much better we can do. What can we make expand in this new decade?
In this new decade I want to shine as bright things shine in the sunlight. I want to find fresh courage to be more, to try more, to speak more plainly. I swallow disagreements as I was taught to do, but I’d like to be able to frame conflict calmly, logically, without rancor. I’d like to be able to arm myself against hostility coming back at me without becoming brittle and feeling wounded. I’d like to be able to tolerate that dimming in another’s eye when I don’t agree, because I have a right, an obligation, to speak my own truth. If I can’t be loved as my true self, then I’m not loved. It’s that simple.
Second, I want to be kinder—to extend myself further to spread my brightness, to speak the words that make the other sigh and know love is real and stronger than the darkness. I want to speak with humor, because you can say hard truth with humor and it doesn’t hurt so much to hear it. I want to be a positive force.
The new decade is another time illusion, of course, but I can make my new decade meaningful, as you can create yours. We don’t have to be right or good all the time. We aren’t charged with being perfect…just better. Here’s to a better 2020!