I rung in my new year, as some of you saw on Instagram, with beautiful things: family, the full moon, the splendor of California beaches and my beloved ice cream. But as is the way with the cognitive bias towards negativity, I witnessed a dog die right in front of me, and that, sadly, has managed to trump all of the other lovely bits and bobs that made my new year day so beautiful. The sight of her death and the overwhelming feelings of guilt and helplessness managed to replace much of the emotion I felt on that day. The circumstances of her death aren’t terribly extraordinary. She seemed blind at best and possibly mute as well, a pudgy, old, black St. Bernard, casually walking across a busy avenue in my hometown, oblivious to bright car headlamps and my rapid honking as I swerved and slowed to avoid her blood on my hands. And yet the suddenness of her walking across the other end of the road and the car that did not see her and the driver that may have been preoccupied in a 60 mph vehicle that mowed her down with nothing less than a dull thud; that entire episode is replayed in my head over and over again. Not a welp. Not a bark. Nothing dramatic. Just an end.
In all the exultation surrounding the end of the garbage year that was 2017, which like all good garbage, had many salvageable and in some senses, quite wholesome moments, 2018 was heralded as a respite, a new dawn. And to be reminded of the frailty of it all in the death of that poor dog was overwhelming.
So I’ve chosen to again focus this year on gratitude yes, but also on spending time with the people I love, now. As this last year has shown me, there will always be work and that will never stop. There will be new opportunities and ways to busy myself further. But in between the humdrum of the mundane, I’m choosing to spend all my free time finding ways to do the things I’ve wanted to do now as opposed to postponing them for a distant, beautiful, wealthier, “better” future. This includes:
- Spending quality time with my family while we’re all whole and able
- Sending those random messages to someone when you’re thinking about them (unless of course, it’s injurious to their health or yours)
- Going on adventures with my friends now, marriage, babies, life, moves notwithstanding; distance is distancing
- Taking the trips I’ve wanted to take, sure they won’t be the fanciest, straight out of Vogue, retirement plan version but they’ll probably give me a hell of a lot to talk about when retirement comes around
- Sharing the experiences I’ve wanted to have with my people now
- Reading the books that they’ve recommended and talking to them about those books now
- Laughing at the jokes that I’ve wanted to share with them
- Writing them the cards that I’ve bought them and stockpiled for all of the birthdays ahead; I’m giving them to you now folks, get ready
- Enjoying a meal that I think they will enjoy, with them
- Keeping them in my prayers and intentions
- Basically, anything I can do to avoid a “wish you were here” message is golden.
Life is going to go on, but in a jarring analogy that stems from the Sanskrit Shrimad Bhagavatam, we are gathered together like straws floating in the waves of the ocean, gathered together for a limited amount of time and then separated by unforeseen laws. While my straws are aligned, however long they are, I intend to make the most of my time, by being more, doing more, loving more, now.