Monday, December 31, 2018

the same auld lang syne

I'm not really one to make resolutions all that much.  Or maybe I make the same few resolutions every year that I do better or worse on given the year and what happens in the span of 365 days.  It seems such an arbitrary number, but it does equate the entire planet making that huge journey around the sun. So in essence what you do doing that journey is sort of a microcosm of all your journeys, and however long you've been alive.  I will turn 45 this year, which still astounds me somehow every time i think of it.  Somehow I was about 25 and fresh out of the first round of grad school and I blinked and 20 years passed by.

I was talking to a co-worker about another staff person whose job he was hired into, and how before, as he was leaving, that other co-worker warned him not to get stuck...that 10 years could pass and you wouldn't even realize it. I've never felt stuck in my job, there being enough moving and going around inside and outside of it that I've craved the stability of staying in the same place while everything else revolves around it.  But I sometimes wonder if this stability is what makes time pass so fast. I am surely only a slight variation on the person I was when I was 25, that point when my personality as an adult was sort of set (I'd actually argue this happen more around age 20 for me). I've made a lot happen and have a lot to show for those 20 years--multiple books and creative endeavors, a thriving and bustling press, an apartment I love and filled with things I adore.  A life, though while occasionally bumpy and never financially sound enough, that is a good showing, especially when my expectations starting out were never all that much. 

I have noticed that the days where there is a lot of variation seem to be really long.  If you ate breakfast in the morning and then went shopping, ran errands, worked, had lunch somewhere new, went to museum, went out later, that by the time you get to dinner, breakfast seems like it happened yesterday or the day before just by some weird sort of brain trickery.  We took a vacation to go to a wedding in Texas a few year's back and it was a whirlwind trip of a family visit in Tulsa, the wedding, and then a few days in Mississippi on the way back and it seemed such a long vacation, though it was actually less than a week. By the time we got home, the variation made it feel like we had been gone forever.

Maybe this is the key to making time stretch somehow--variation over routine, but it's hard when you really, really love routines.  Surely if I had changed jobs, changed cities, changed lives time would be divided into varying chunks. Even relationships, while they divide eras a little, seem part of the same routine, just different men, good or bad. My life didn't change that much with each one--at least not in an outward perspective.

Even writing and art have their routines.  I try to remember the MFA years, which were a slight blip in my routine, but they were replaced by moving into the studio and kicking the press into high gear, so these feel similar directions of my time.  I was always writing, always creating, just in different ways.  I blink and that first book that was so difficult to pull together and find a publisher has turned into several books, and yet on the surface, very little about my life has changed.

There are cracks to be sure--a big heartbreak, deaths of pets and parents, friendship losses.  But they seem lost in the hum as time goes on. Right now losing my mother seems fresh but in 5 years will I still feel this weird before and after I mark so much of my time in? Will I look at photos on instagram and flinch? Or does it all begin to blend.  On one hand it makes me want to go out an experience everything in the world to make time last longer.  On the other hand, I probably won't do this.

Every fall, we  muse over where summer went--whether or not all our plans panned out--what we accomplished in a slower period of time, and sometimes it's hard to remember exactly where you spent the last three months.  And I'm having a weird sensation that it's hard, outside of clear things like writing and publications and art projects, to pin down what I was doing this year in a clear way. Surely much of my time was spent in the studio, working on series of poems, planning for library programming and doing more mundane things there. But they blur into a general texture to the year. Every bus ride blends into others.  Every writing session bleeds into others.  Every conversation I may have had with others becomes less clear as time seems to move faster. Even the meals I eat, the movies I watch start to lose their clarity. Did I see that movie 3 years ago?  Did I see it 10?  I probably would guess wrong every time....

One of my biggest fears from that winter  meltdown a few weeks back was that you get to a certain age and the awesome things you have to look forward to begin to pale in comparison to the awful things that surely await us all.  Which is ridiculous, and in a saner frame of mind, it's obviously not true.  I tell myself this everytime I start skirting the rim of a darker place--so here's hoping that 2019 brings more of the former and less of the latter--new, good, surprising and awesome things will happen every single day or at least often enough..

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