The light is dim this first day of a new year. The rain has washed the gorgeous snow away.
My dog's muzzle grows whiter all the time. I noticed recently that my long-haired kitty seems to be deaf now.
So, we're all growing older and some days are gray. So what. These are not new thoughts. Why would they feel so compelling today?
I remember hearing someone say, "What you do on New Year's Day is a preview of what you'll be doing the rest of the year". It's an interesting thought. Just like resolving to do things differently on this particular day fuels a fantasy/hope that we will do things differently from now on. But each now brings an opportunity to slide back into the torpor of the familiar.
Perhaps that is part of my sadness. I would like to believe in turning points; that what I do and what I resolve on this day can truly form a sharp distinction inside of me, and I can turn down a new street. I know full well that the path of least resistance has become worn by my familiar footsteps. Perhaps today I recognize that a "fresh start" is meaningless without continuing to travel a different path. And that new direction may feel uncomfortable, perhaps even frightening. It's easier to go back to sleep, to stare at the t.v., to sink into a book. To grab a snack and say, "tomorrow".
I don't want to go back to sleep, but I know how tempting it is, how comforting it is. Taking a nap feels luxurious and some days it seems one of life's greatest and most benign pleasures. But right now it seems as though I have napped too much of my life away.
While I was writing the above, my housemate and spousal equivalent came in. We sat in bed together and looked out the window at the misty trees. We spoke of change. We mused about how events can force one to pay attention to what needs to be transformed, willingness born out of pain. He said that the weather today made him wistful, but not sad; that for someone like him, who often feels anxious, this day brought a sense of calm. He asked me if there was anything he could do to help me feel better. I actually thought about it, instead of automatically concluding that what I felt could not be changed. I decided a dish of peppermint ice-cream and a long hot bath couldn't hurt.
The ice-cream was a delight. The bath awaits. So do all the days of this new year.