Then it will be the year 2007. 2006 didn’t do much for me. I have a little more hope here at the end than I did at the beginning, but then hope springs eternal, doesn’t it?
For some reason I can’t let go of New Year’s Eve as an important marker. It could be any day of the year — we’ve simply decided we will make this one is the last night of the year, and tomorrow the first day. It’s completely arbitrary, but I go along with it, I give it power. More power than my own birthday.
Do you remember when you were young and old people acted like they didn’t want anyone to know when their birthday was, or how old they were? They weren’t acting. What the heck was that all about, I always thought. But when you age you have to leave things behind. You just have to, even if you still feel like a young person, even if your childish curiosity still sometimes gets the better of you, even if you’re still naive about finance, or sex, or you’re shy at parties. I’d like to think that the only things I left behind were my foolishness, my fear, my inexperience, my intolerance, and it’s true I have left some of that baggage. But I have walked through many doors, and explored far into the labyrinth, and while I wasn’t looking someone came and closed a bunch of those doors, and now I can’t go back. I’m not sure I’d want to, but shit — I would have liked to be in on the decision.
So, like the ancient ones before me, I don’t pay much attention to my own birthday, because I just don’t want to think about the never-can-go-back aspect of life, or the number of doors that are closed behind me. I don’t want to be reminded of the things I didn’t get around to, or the ever-shortening time I have to do the things I think are important, or even to figure out what’s really important. If you’re young and you’re reading this, I know you can’t hear me, and you shouldn’t. You have lives to live. But if you’re not delusional you’ll probably arrive at some of these thoughts one day. The rest of you, well, maybe you’re the lucky ones.
I give power to this night, and so it is on this night that I feel time passing more than on any other night.
At midnight, the moment of Change, I go out into the street in front of my house. It’s a quiet neighborhood in a normally quiet town, although you wouldn’t know it on this night, because my neighbors and their neighbors and all the neighbors in all the neighborhoods are out making the biggest ruckus they can, and it is a hell of a ruckus, with yelling and singing and rockets and probably even small arms fire. But when I look into the sky I know I’m looking back through time, starlight from ages past coming to touch me from the endless void beyond our tiny spinning rock, and all the noise we can make; all the rockets we shoot; all the laughter and tears; the triumphs and hurt and all the self-conscious celebration, it all seems quaint, and sweet, and touching.