The calendar year is just about over. Every one of us has a genuinely unique perspective on the previous twelve months. Some of us share these experiences with others and some of us keep it to ourselves. But we’ve all lived a year since the calendar last flipped.
By just about any measure, I didn’t enjoy this last year. The details aren’t particularly important to anyone but me or my closest family and friends but it is important to remember that each of us has our own set of details that few others, if any, can fully understand.
Friends and family and pets die. Jobs are lost and jobs are gained. Babies are born. Relationships begin and relationships end. We get sick and we get well. I think I have 277 facebook friends and I’ll be damned if I could tell you anything genuinely important about 250 of them and their lives this year.
I can’t tell you about those who hurt in ways that are invisible to me. I can’t tell you about who was proud of losing ten pounds. Or about who fell in love for the first time in years. I can’t tell you about who finally admitted they’d fallen out of love and didn’t know what to do about it.
I think I must have been about nineteen before I acknowledged I’d had a bad year. Before that, they were just years that contained the odd bad day here and there. But when the bad days start to catch up with the good ones, it’s time to consider things differently in the final assessment.
But here’s the thing. I don’t think we can really tell what the good years and bad years are until we leave them behind. And sometimes it takes looking back at them from a considerable distance.
There were times I could have sworn were the best years of my life and in retrospect I was pretty miserable. I just didn’t know it at the time. And then there were times when I didn’t feel so happy or all that good about myself but decades later it seems to me that I was doing alright. That I was pretty darn content with the way things were going.
I read this recently. An old fish is swimming along and in the opposite direction come two young fish. As they cross paths, the old fish says, “how’s the water?” One young fish looks at the other and says, “what’s water?”
We don’t know what water we’re swimming in until we swim through it. It’s possible we really don’t even know how our year went until we can compare it to years we haven’t experienced yet.
I didn’t make any money this year. My fantasy baseball teams fell a little short. I sold thirty-five copies of my record. My much-anticipated debut record, I joked. But I was grateful that I could make that record, a record that was ultimately a very generous gift from my family and friends. That more people wanted to fund it than listen to it is telling. In the big picture though, I’d much prefer to be loved and valued for who I am rather than for what I can do.
I’ve had health issues and have spent more time in hospitals than I would choose but I’m still above ground and still fit and able.
I started a blog with no forethought and absolutely no expectation but I’ve come to enjoy an endeavour I couldn’t have envisioned a year ago.
In this past year, I’ve had friends and family show themselves to be the good and caring people that they are. It was an invaluable reminder.
I don’t know which seeds cast to the wind this year will flower and which ones will die. I may not know this for years. So while I think of 2017 as a real kick in the guts right now, I may be one day away from entering a renaissance. Maybe great days are in the near future. Perhaps I’ll be able to look back upon this year, if not with sentimental affection, but with a wiser comprehension.
Maybe the years of our lives are like music. Sometimes we know they’re great right away and sometimes we know they’re bad right away. And sometimes we just don’t know at all. At least not yet.
Some years and some songs age better than others. I hope this year is like a record I don’t quite understand yet but some day it will all make sense. And perhaps in some future moment of reflection, I’ll want to put this year back on the turntable, close my eyes, and listen. And then wonder why I didn’t love it all along.