If you sit down to write on New Year’s Eve, you will always come up with something misty-eyed and mawkish. If you put it off to New Year’s Day, you tend to be more pragmatic. At least that’s my theory.
Which is why I didn’t bother to wax poetic last night on the fleeting nature of youth and time, even though that was my first impulse. I am a great one for foolish sentimentality. But if there was ever a middle-aged man who needs to keep his eye on the road and off the rearview mirror, it’s me. At a certain age, self-indulgent reminisce becomes a bigger waste of time than Farmville. The past, as Carl Sandburg mentioned, really is a bucket of ashes.
Not that the future is all that precious either. The older you get, the more acutely you realize exactly where all these years are leading. Which leaves a practical person with only the present.
And that kind of narrows the options for New Year’s resolutions, doesn’t it? Offhand, I can think of just one: Make the moments count.
Sounds kind of glib, I know. But that’s my plan for 2011. I’d like to keep it between the ditches. One moment, one day at a time. At some point it becomes important to live more by choice than by habit. We’ll see how it goes.