December 10th, 2008


Plans That Either Come to Naught, or Half a Page of Scribbled Lines

Every year, as we wind down toward that last box on the last page of the calendar, I start thinking about mortality. I'm not normally a depressive or morbid person, but as we approach the end of the year, I'm always reminded of that Pink Floyd lyric, "Shorter of breath, and one day closer to death."

In that same song, the Floyd sing, "Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time," and damn if that isn't the God's honest truth. 2008 flew by even faster than 2007, which flew by even faster than 2006, etc. I don't know where the time goes, all I know is that the years seem to be passing faster and faster. Wasn't I just attending Necon in July? Wasn't that Labor Day barbecue just last week? I don't get it. I feel like I was just lamenting turning 30, and now I'll be turning 40 in two months' time.

It wasn't always like this. The four years of high school draaaaaaaaaaaaagged. It felt like an eternity passed between freshman and senior years. The four years of college went only slightly faster. I've been out of college now for seventeen years, roughly the same age I was when I entered college, but seventeen years sure took longer to pass back then than it did this time around.

In the end, I know it's not really about being one year closer to the end of my life. It's really, to me at least, about issues of accomplishment. Am I doing everything I wanted to do with my time? Wasn't I supposed to have a novel published by now? Or more than one? Is this writing thing even worth doing anymore, or am I just spinning my wheels and fooling myself? What did I accomplish this year? Not enough. It's never enough.

I have a feeling I'm not the only one who reflects on these things as the year runs down, but to each of us it feels personal and unique. How can it not? It's all about personal issues, goals and desires, plus the ticking clock of outside expectation and the internal pressure to meet it. It's a weird time of year. Joyous and colorful and rosy-cheeked, but also reflective and mournful and nostalgic.

I think this is why I prefer summer. You can lose yourself in summer, and just be.