Sunday, January 01, 2006

may old aquaintance be forgot

There has got to be a sign in here somewhere. Is it good or bad that I have lost a whole level of sentimentality?

Every single concious year of my life, I have spent the days and hours leading up to New Years trying to hold the previous year in my mind, to appreciate it, mourn it's loss. Every SINGLE year, when everyone screams, "happy new year", my heart breaks. Like with the couch my parents discarded on the front lawn when I was five, I wait pensively at the window and cry until the garbage truck arrives and a new year begins.

"The couch will be cold and lonely", I pleaded to my father. "Please, bring it back in, it's starting to snow!"

This year there were no tears, no ache to keep things from leaving.

I saw this change somewhere else recently, just as unexpectedly. Usually when I go away, I fully enjoy the first half of the trip but in the second, the joy drains out in a less than slow leak until it is unbearable. I sink lower than I ever was before I left. There is a moment when the change happens - another one of those that are difficult to pin down, yet sudden - and I know exactly what's coming and I wish I could just go home and get it over with.

Neither of these things have happened lately. Last night I felt no saddness when the clock struck midnight - hardly a drop of nostalgia. On this vacation, it almost happened, but then it just never did. I enjoyed virtually every last minute, and was sated when I left for home.

What does all of this mean? Is it bad? Is it that I lost the last scrap of the innocence I vowed I would always hold on to? Will I lose my ability to appreciate life, especially at its deepest ends? Is it that I am jaded? I realize last year I spent New Years at a funeral and last night as a third wheel, but I thought this was more ingrained in my personality than that.

Maybe it's a good thing. Maybe, like with my fear of flying, my inability to feel full-thickness happy has fallen away. Maybe it turns out that the guilt stiches I was put together with were actually the dissolveable kind. Maybe it means one step closer to freedom. Even better, maybe there will be no price to pay.

Good or bad? Which is it?

7 comments:

ChapFu said...

not good or bad. only to your old way of thinking would it be bad, because there is a loss of something. i'd have to imagine it's necessary since it happens to all but the most foolish of us. practically, i think all it means is that we'll feel more slowly. events are on a graded scale built from experience, now. unromantic, to the young, firey student but wise and unshakable for the adult moving forward to really living.

RONIN said...

I agree with Jason. It's not good or bad. Time does seem to speed up as we get older. The accumulation of all those years means we naturally spend less time thinking about any particular year gone by and more time trying to enjoy the years we have left. At least that's how I think of it...

Rachel said...

I think you both have a good point, Ronin and Jason - Jason? Who knew Chapfu had a real name? I guess you guys are seeing the grey - I think we are all better at seeing grey in other people's situations than our own.

ChapFu said...

yeah. jason. thanks for busting me, ronin! it's not so secret, i guess. my linked flickr account has my name on it.

Anonymous said...

i know Ronin's real name
should i bust him?

amp

Anonymous said...

the couch memory left a comfortable ache in my chest.

Rachel said...

And I know yours amp.

Anon: I love that I can transmit the feeling.