Jan 1, 2009

The World Has Turned and Left Me Here.

A few months ago I had made very specific plans for January 1st, 2009.

Those plans were to get in my car with only a backpack full of necessities and hit the road. I had no predetermined direction and didn't care. I had worked hard enough to earn my freedom and would do well with just my wits and the entire continent to explore. This day was to be a great moment in my life, a time for exploration and change, A time for realignment. But unfortunately, for a number of reasons (but not a specific one) I'm still posted up here in my lonely town of Tolono and have once again pushed back my plans of vagabonding across America.

In trying to understand the reasons why I've not yet set out on my adventure, it came to my attention... The sort of thing holding me back is in fact these ritualistic traditions such as New Years Eve. Not just New Years eve alone, but life itself as a ritualistic tradition. I'm talking of course about all the baggage we create of these things. The baggage that comes from anything familiar or traditional - the social constraints, the expectations and routine comforts that bound us to these conventional lifestyles and constantly place us on the same monotonous path.
I'm ranting... Back to the example of New Years Eve, but consider the statement above.

I've celebrated the New Year a multitude of ways. However, in retrospect they all seem to be quite similar and rather insignificant.
It usually involves mass quantities of booze and superficial strangers. So where is the celebration in that? I can do that any night of the week - I often do and it's quickly becoming the most monotonous activity of my life. We should be celebrating something real, in some other way.
Sadly, as we grow older, it seems "intoxication" is the only thing we celebrate on new years eve - so I avoided it.
I thought if I went through with it like everyone expected, like everyone predicted, like so many years past, like the ordinary me, it would be the very reason why it was easy to push back my travel plans or plans of doing something out of the ordinary.
To have followed through with the regular and routine celebration, I would have only re-familiarized myself the same things I already know and completely disregarded the idea of doing anything different.

I began thinking about The New Year and what it actually is.
Turns out it's actually just another day - similar to yesterday and much like the days to come, but there is something undeniably symbolic about it.
As a measure of time and physics, it's how long the Earth takes to make a complete lap around the sun - 1 year. But on a more personal scale, that year around the sun represents progress, a chance at new possibilities, a chance to change your own personal path around the sun.
It is possibly the most important day to do anything... Anything that is not expected or predictable, anything that is completely out of your ordinary.

I choose to celebrate 2009, alone.
I wanted to experience that grow and progress by myself, like a snake goes missing for a night and comes back with a new skin.
I wanted to make a New Years resolution to keep to myself, but more importantly i wanted to keep it.
Going back to a previous point -
had I done the expected and ordinary thing and gone on an overnight drunk, it would have been the very reason to not keep a new resolution. That is something I've never done in the past. I don't think anybody has ever kept theirs.

I'm starting to realize that when you change your regular course of action, you suddenly have the power to change almost any aspect of your life.

So I avoided the mass alcohol consumption and the empty gesture of a "kiss on the lips"
I didn't send one congratulatory text message.
And I made zero phone calls.
I celebrated. But it was a personal celebration. I sat in my room and made music. I drank a single bottle of beer with no intention of drinking more.
I celebrated the idea of taking on new challenges and the ability to do things out of the ordinary.
I celebrated the chance of a new year and a new beginning.
I acquired the ability to make a serious change. And I'm seriously ready to leave all the baggage behind and live out of a backpack.

1 comment:

Misc said...

Good on ya, Jim.

I've never been a fan of the big New Year's blow out. It seems empty and shallow and stupid.

Each year brings its own set of challenges and triumphs.

Enjoy this year, whether you stay in Tolono or hit the road. Whatever you do, be safe and be happy. Wishing you the best.