Brace yourself (Happy New Year)

2020 is a great, round, metaphorically loaded (perfect vision!) number for a new year, a new decade, a clean slate. I know many people happy to have 2019 behind them. Years bring what they bring. Like when waves roll and crash on the beach, it just depends where your feet are in the sand. The same wave can be a pleasant saline foot bath, or a force that knocks you over and drags you back in. My 2019 was overall a beautiful page (East coast, West coast, Berlin, gigs, recording, launched my two children into their own world, new job I really like, found a drummer) and as much as I like the math of 2+0+2+0 (low numbers, easy pattern, nothing tricky), I know anything could happen here. Fun With Numbers can’t save you.

I remember in the days before my father died 10 years ago, my good friend Louise wrote all of us kids and said, “Brace yourselves.” The tension of what is to come is part of adult life. I am braced. The skies can get dark very quickly. Just look at the headlines today, January 4th, 2020. This isn’t going to end well –we all can see that. But exactly where is the ending? When the good life, the optimistic vision, no longer has any forward motion left? We adults are in constant brace because we know, as good as our days are, there are dark ones just behind, because it’s all one motion –the waves of our life experience building in height and pulling back at the same time, gathering speed and culminating in a grand crash on the beach. There is calm in all that action. It’s hypnotic –the noise, the peace, the expectation of a surprise ending. And what feels like an end, is only an end in our experience, our personal neurons cashing it in while everything outside continues churning. We seek little meanings for our lives, write and rewrite our narratives, look for good signs in the numbers –lost a kilo, got a good price on an airline ticket, maintained a reasonable G.P.A., kept the blood pressure down. But no matter what, the unknown is coming. We aren’t in this for long. Our small lives are a gift. We have an opportunity every single day to live that. 2020 will bring what it brings.

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