Sunday, December 22, 2013

leaving 2013, part one (1 of 3)

i often think about the construction of our current twelve month calendar, which should not be too surprising of a fact, given that i am a postmodern sort of guy. you see, in my work as a psychotherapist, i listen for, comment on, and and then tear apart narratives in order to help people uncover what parts of their belief system may be causing them trouble in life.  so when i say that i am thinking about the twelve month calendar, what i mean is that i am "tearing apart" the idea of it in my mind.  the postmodernists would prefer the term "deconstructing", but that does not carry the same vivid visual that "tearing apart" does.

i am thinking about the calendar at this time because it should be obvious to you that, as of publishing time for this post, the twelve month cycle is coming once again to an end.  we are moving very rapidly toward a new year--2014.  i am also thinking about the calendar because i am aware how powerful of a narrative the calendar is on my life--on all our lives.  without it, we would have to rely on the change of the seasons and the aging of our bodies to mark the passing of time. think about that for a minute.  imagine that we had only four different seasonal periods that constantly repeated themselves until we finally reached our last season.  we would not know how old we were, we would not know what to "call" the time that we lived in, and we would not necessarily celebrate the hallmarks that we observe in modern times.

we would celebrate, of course, because when you spend your days hunting and picking food, building shelter, migrating, fighting enemies, and hoping for a fuck, well, you have got to let your hair down from time to time to break the routine. now i am no scholar on the tribes of yesteryear, but i suspect that many of their celebrations centered around the seasons--full moons, the beginning of the harvest, the first melt of spring, and the like.  but i am pretty certain that they did not celebrate new years eve. for these folks, the day that corresponded to "december 31st" was just another day in the middle of winter.  no big.  no big at all.

and yet here we are, in all our modern sophistication and progressive thought, headed for yet another momentous changing of the calendar and all that comes with that feat.  and where am i with all of this perceptual adjustment? well, in the same boat as the rest of you--looking forward while reflecting back.  just for fun i re-read my blog post from last year around this time (here), and i was shocked to read about how i brought in last year alone, with a cold, and with a bedtime of 10:30.  my predictions for the new year were limited to the milestones that i had been planning:  leaving my job, starting my private practice internship, etc., and yet as i look back i am again surprised at how little i actually anticipated happening. perhaps a better way of putting it is that as i look back, i am surprised, more than usual, at what did happen 2013 that i could not have imagined.

simply put, i am just not the same person i was a year ago.  and that is a good thing.

to be continued...


  1. Calendars and the structure of time are things that we take for granted without much consideration. You've given this subject a new perspective - one that I hadn't previously thought about.

    No matter how much we plan or anticipate, we never really know what the future holds for us. As the old adage goes (a Chinese proverb, I suppose??) life is what happens to us while we make other plans.

    I hope your new year will be happy, rewarding, and successful!

    1. Hi Jon. Always glad to throw a wrench into one's perspective! The thing is that even "sure" events, such as me leaving my job, are not really sure. You are right, there are those things we think we have control over and those things we have no control over, but in the end it is all just varying degrees of randomness and chaos with varying degrees of our influence. I have always seen organized religion as an attempt (a weak and unimaginative one) to give the illusion of more control than we actually have. I am very glad to have become more comfortable with the chaos. Therein lies the wonder, for me.

  2. Like you I have several 'milestones' throughout the year, the end of the actual year being one of them. They help me reflect on where I am/how I am and keep me reassing my progress in Life.

    1. That is why we make such a big deal out of what should otherwise be just an ordinary day in winter. I think we need those "markers".