She’s rang in many a New Year. Soon there will be men and women entering adulthood with no memory of a non-internet world, and in another decade we will see young adults with no memory of a non-blog internet. Mom remembers a world where there was no computers at all. I can only vaguely recall a world where there was no personal computers. Mom is still sharp and funny and fun to be with. She’s as astounded at the number that is her age as everyone else—she’s never been 91 before just like you have never been the age you are now or will be this year. The difference is more people have been your age than her age, so there are fewer inklings available.
It might appear overwhelming to look back and contemplate the amount of changes within your span to date. For mom it’s the better part of a century. That’s a heck of a lot history. It’s easy to glorify political events and technology innovations into being cosmic watershed moments. We cite Obama being elected or the introduction of the Android Smart Phone to support our assertion that life was one way and now it’s another. Not without truth, but true only as far as it goes. For me what keeps coming back is what hasn’t changed, like love, friends, family and the search for meaning. the importance of compassion, our need for knowledge, the unending desire to improve the self. Our impulse to create... our loyalty to ideals.
Maybe that is one aspect of getting older that isn’t so bad, realizing the vast amount of change you have witnessed thus far only enhances your understanding that the most important stuff is the stuff that never changes.
The stuff we all desire and need and cherish is stuff essentially immune to those dual loud heralds of change—politics and technology. In other words, it’s the stuff of our humanity that really matters most and that is the stuff mostly unaffected by the winds of history we call current events.
I can’t believe it’s 2011 already... we’ve all had that thought in the last day or two. I wonder when we first have that sense of perspective, when we first realize that the time we have witnessed has a significance of length, that we indeed are mortal, that we have endured passage, that at least some of our youth has mysteriously yet irrefutably been lost while getting here. When do we first feel astounded at the exactness of the year when the ball drops and corks pop? Hard to gauge, but I might suggest it happens soon after we stop saying half when responding to the question how old are you if asked six months before or after your actual birthday.
Yes, things change and things stay the same. You don’t need me to tell that to you but I never resist reminding you, or myself, of simple truths.
The holidays come to a close, a New Year begins. It’s a time of year that encourages reflection. Indeed, resolutions are a symptom of that reflection.
Life is an adventure. I believe that in the sense that discovery is the purpose of adventure. We have another chance to see how it all turns out, another chance amid the whirl of change that is life that, generation upon generation, we all are bestowed the stuff that doesn’t change.
Please don’t take this as mere affirmation. In spite of my appreciation of the wonder of life, I don’t want to reassure anybody it’s a wonderful life. On the contrary, life contains suffering, hardship, challenges and disappointment. That’s not the sum of life, but life would not be life without it.
What we need to withstand those bad times is the stuff that doesn’t change. It’s that stuff we celebrate when the calendar changes.
You, me and Mom endured the last year of the first decade of the first century of a new millennium and are ready for the first year of the second decade... well, you get the drift... Happy New Year!
And, the adventure continues,...
Thanks for reading Dislocations. All the best to you all and God bless you all.