one must certainly forgive me for having "hopes" for the new year; after all, this is the time of year when the whole world reflects upon the past, and then projects upon the future, learning from what has come before and anticipating a "better" new year. one must certainly be forgiven for this, if only because the process so often fails in a spectacular manner. and yet, come the end of december, i, along with countless others, launch once again into an annual inventory of "successes" and "failures"--the two distinguished only by the respective accompaniment of either pleasure or pain. so please forgive me.
new years used to be the perfect time for me to reset the clock, as it were. wipe the slate clean, start afresh, auld lang syne and all that, but that changed somewhat once i developed compassion for myself. once i started taking it easy regarding my choices, i found that i needed something else to set the 31st of december apart from all other days of the year. for many years i did not find that replacement--i just worked on the holiday, thereby designating it as a time to make lots of money rather than lots of resolutions. but i don't work on new years anymore, and i don't beat myself up anymore, so what do i make of it now? well, it is fairly simple, and i really don't know why i didn't just click my ruby slippers together YEARS ago and arrive sooner at this conclusion, but you know how it goes concerning the expediency of life lessons, so here i am now at where i am now. where is that? well, simply put, i am in a space of gratitude.
before going any further, let me specify that this gratitude is not to anyone outside of myself, but instead for something outside of myself. kind of. that something is life. LIFE. on the days leading up to the new year, what i feel is gratitude for the experience of life--gratitude that it is even possible to celebrate the closing of another year (instead of being plastered against the front of a car). gratitude for the experience of all the choices i have made this year--the ones that were pleasurable and the ones that were painful. gratitude that i am able to now reflect on those choices and narrow down my repertoire of options for living a meaningful and purposeful life. gratitude that i got through 2013 in a very pleasant way, with big changes and insights, new friends and lovers, soft whispers and loud cries, subtle closings and powerful re-entries. gratitude for the flaws and the brilliance, the in-betweens and the borders, the blurs and the clarity, the sures and the not-so-sures. i have gratitude for all of it, because this year i have gotten a grasp on how to really be there for all of it, instead of hiding out in the past or the future.
so i can end this year with this statement: i have not fallen in love with los angeles, but i have grown to love it. this has been by intention, but i have done the exact thing that i would have had to do in san francisco had i moved there. you see, the city, any city, is nothing without its people, and i populated my life this year with some of l.a.'s most interesting occupants. because i am feeling more loved, it is easier for me to love back. as i end 2013 in southern california, the area of the country where not only did i grow up, but where i have spent the bulk of my life, i can truly say that i feel fortunate to be here, and very glad that i did not move. i did not ditch the relationship--i worked at it and am better off for the effort. i feel like michael caine's character in "hannah and her sisters" when he realizes that he loves his wife far more than he previously suspected. besides, los angeles is a marvelous city at times, it really is. no more so than at night when the smog is hidden and the lights guide one's focus into crevices and shadows, the place where love dwells and waits. los angeles is a city best seen through its shadows--the sunlight is far too obvious and easy--the city holds its heart in its darkness, as do i. so i end with a celebration of l.a.'s shadows--what i love. l.a. and i are good this year. not every relationship is workable, but every good relationship takes work. i had a good relationship that i nearly threw away.
happy new years, lover.