Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year! The Day After

If life made any sense, Groundhog day would be January 2nd, that way if you messed up on your New Year's Resolution day 1, there would be six more weeks of the old year to square things away.  Regardless, we have made it to 2012, and despite Mayan predictions and those of small churches that keep bumping the date by six months (I'm guessing they lease their cars and don't invest in long term CD's),  we're still here. 

I made my resolutions. But as a mental exercise, I wondered, if this were the last year, what would I do differently? Do I still want to read a book a month? (Yes, maybe two).   Do I still want to lose 20 pounds?  (Okay, maybe 15).   Do I still want to finish writing my book? Yes, because I want to know how it ends. 

End of the world predictions are more about the predictor than any galactic cosmic hiccup/expiration date.   They reveal a fatalism that is as idealistic as that of someone who never thinks about tomorrow or death; a conviction that they know the hour and the date, even if they get the hour and the date wrong.   I'm sympathetic to a point, I mean, math has an infinite number of wrong answers for every problem, and only one right one.  But the prediction itself brings with it a question: What would or should one do if 2012 is the end of the road?  There is a choice when things are set in motion that we cannot control, to do less (Bill Murray in Groundhog day in his sate appetite and impulse stage--I don't even have to floss) or to do more (at the end of the movie).

If 2012 were to be the end of everything, my house might not be in order, but we would have had a good time enjoying the chaos of living orderly lives.  For starters, I'd phone my folks more, and stay in better touch with my brothers and sisters.  I'd write letters to friends and read extra bedtime stories.  We wouldn't save the bubble bath or scented shampoos or pretty candles for occasions that turn out to be never, and I'd decide every day, I wouldn't be afraid to wear my good jewelry if I went out.  

There wouldn't be the explosive block buster end all vacation, but there would be trips to the park and the beach and to movies and the library.  There wouldn't be perpetual spending and feasts every night because that grows dull and makes the mind, heart, body and soul sluggish to their value the way electric light is so ubiquitous that we forget the grace and delicate beauty of fire.  But the food would be good, and only fast if we wanted to eat fast food, and not because it was just easier.

I'd let myself buy a warm cashmere wine  red sweater, the kind I've never let myself buy because it's too expensive and I'd wear it often.  Vanity? No, a deliberate choice to put on beauty in the face of doom.

I'd also try to go outside and shoot hoops more with the kids and not worry about the stellar record of 13-88 I've got going on free throw shots. We'd eat ice cream more and plant a garden anyway, because summer tomatoes rock. It would be a hassle, but I'd schedule a visit to weekly adoration, because I'd want to be better ready than I am now. I'd throw out socks with holes and give away skinny jeans and other things that are gathering dust in my closet and buy a pair of really good sneakers.

We would play music that is good, that is fun, that is ours and I'd sing more often even though my voice isn't very good.  We'd use every game in our closet.  I'd make scrap books for each kid. I'd get tickets to the theatre and to baseball games to surprise my husband with dates and we'd use the grill more and I'd learn to bake bread and strum the guitar. We'd repaint the rooms that have coloring on the walls in the summer and all the kiddos would take swimming lessons.  I'd also sign up the two that love it for spring soccer and let the one who doesn't, abstain.  I'd go to bed before 12 most nights, and possibly even 11 unless we were deciding to do an all night movie marathon or stay up for a meteor shower.   

The kids would still go to the dentist and get hair cuts and well visits and school and have to study and do homework as if the world would go on. I'd still diet and clean and fold laundry and run the errands, and we'd be at Sunday mass.  We'd do daily things that must be done because the best way to live, is as if the world would always continue.

So...today I'm ready to play football, afterwards I'll put on my favorite sweater and the earings I'm always too scared to wear, and we will feast and watch bowl games.   We will also plan out January for all the things that need to get done and I will call my Mom because 2012 looks to be a lot of fun.  Happy New Year.

1 comment:

Linda said...

I was thinking about the things I'd do:

- be nicer to my husband
- throw out a lot of clutter in the house - I'm not using it, and it just takes up space
- forget work in the evening/weekends - I'm a teacher, and it tends to take over your whole life
- spend more time with extended family
- vacation - enjoy the outdoors
- tend to my spiritual life
- evangelize - why keep all the afterlife to ourselves? That includes spreading The Word at work and other places that try to keep it out.

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