Day 284: One-one-two-one

Welcome to 2021, my friends. Deb and I are well.

Full disclosure: We broke tradition and actually did go out for a while on New Year’s Eve. After gassing-up Deb’s near-empty truck we settled in at Squeek’s for a big ol’ plate of nachos — made with love by our favorite cook-bartender — followed by a couple of tasty fried-chicken wraps.

And not a drop of alcohol. We had our reasons.

Our favorite little honky-tonk was busy last night — not a party-hearty atmosphere, really, just an easy, welcoming mood. Other members of the Family were in attendance, too, and we shared handshakes and hugs, swapped stories and exchanged well-wishes.

Back at home, Deb and I greeted the New Year with bourbon — Maker’s, neat — and went to bed.

Turning a calendar page — and making a big deal of it — motivates lots of people, maybe most people. Fresh start, clean slate, resolutions and all. I understand that, but I don’t share it. Never have.

Let’s face a fact here: The calendar is artificial. It’s a sequence of numbers and a collection of well-worn labels, an invention of man. Today is no more special than yesterday was, other than whatever significance we hang on it.

Nothing changed at midnight.

Now if hitching the First of January to taking action in your life is a thing for you, great — whatever it takes. It seems to me, though, that it’s not when we act, but that we act.

Deb and I are engaged in making substantial changes in our American Life. Building on a foundation of principle, we’re shedding what’s unnecessary and embracing what’s important to us. Consider this passage from Thoreau’s Walden:

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.”

We’ve resolved to live the Life we’ve imagined, so I guess we made a resolution. We just didn’t wait for New Year’s.

Hocking County Escape, July 2020.

When we closed our eyes last night, you and I, we weren’t promised this morning. Yesterday didn’t guarantee our tomorrow. And yet here we are, advancing into another day.

I don’t know about you, but the longer I live, the more clearly I see what a gift that is.

Yes, maybe it’s the age. Maybe it’s because I’ve lost some friends recently. I’ve seen others suffer and decline. It could be knowing that Deb and I stand now as surviving elders in our families.

I’ve watched as people wait and work and mark time, holding out for The Perfect Moment to do this or that, only to realize too late that The Perfect Moment is a myth. I saw it happen to my own father. Along the way I’ve fallen into the same trap.

I know that I’m closer to the end of this ride than I am to the beginning. That’s just a fact. So I’m grateful for every day that I open my eyes and see the sun.

But gratitude isn’t enough.

You must think I’m about to launch into a song of service and sacrifice, right? Giving back and paying forward? Fuhgeddaboudit. Those are values, a place I come from anyway and wholly irrelevant to life and self.

No, when I’m presented with the gift of another day, I intend to live it.

Told to sit down, I’ll stand. Ordered to be silent, I’ll speak.

I have nothing to prove. I have no debts to repay. I’m gonna eat the damned cake.

“And a couple extra pounds never really hurt.”

I’m fortunate to have the best possible partner in this Life. Deb and I walk this and every road together.

We’ve always said that we’re “unstoppable,” and we damned sure won’t stop ourselves now.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay free. Happy New Year.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath #HappyNewYear

(Header image from our escape to Hocking County last July.)