The title of this posting comes from a wonderful song by Don Henley called The Last Worthless Evening. Well worth listening to (see below), although it has very little to actually do with the topics at hand.
Anyway, it's nearly New Year's Day as I write this, and over the past few weeks I've been full of thoughts related to the year that's coming to an end, my getting older, and just a sense that things in the world are spinning a bit more out of control than they are normally (if there is such a thing as "normal" these days). These thoughts aren't all bad, mind you, and I'm not sure why some of them are only recently coming to mind. Yes, I am having thoughts about thoughts...not exactly productive...but not completely out of character for me either.
As for the year that's coming soon to an ending near you, well, I'm glad. That would be "glad it's almost over". There are a few themes to the year if you want to think of it in those terms. Themes like...
...there's also the idea that my life is going to be changing pretty dramatically over the next few years. This is because, having entered the workforce full time in 1986, I have far, far less time working in front of me than working behind me. I am not complaining about this, by the way. If anything, I have been incredibly blessed as I get older in terms of financial security, general health, my home life, etc. It all seems just so, well, "big". It's worth reminding myself that I'm actually pretty good at doing big things.
...in this country, the very nature of our political system has become mired in the worst of both parties, although much of the blame falls to one man who doesn't read books, can't admit that he's ever wrong, engages in Olympic-sized fear mongering, views immigrants not from Norway (or apparently Slovakia) as being evil, and treats the Seven Deadly Sins as personal goals. You do know who I am talking about. My hope is that when this person passes along one day, some may recover the parts of their humanity that seem to be broken. If you support this man, then I feel badly for you. A phrase like "may they rot in Hell" in a social media Christmas message says far more about this person than I...or anyone else for that matter...ever could. Ask yourself, "Would a decent human being say such a thing?". You do, by the way, know the answer to that question, and quite frankly, he's not worthy of your support.
...in our world, well, there's a shortage of simple, basic caring. In fact, it sometimes feels as if caring for others is viewed as a kind of weakness best left to idealists and others not "living in the real world". No one needs to die because a bunch of folks in power simply want more of it. Yes, I get it...fighting things like injustice sometimes require difficult decisions, but if those "difficult decisions" involve killing children (be they Israeli or Palestinian, for example), well, call me suspicious.
I wish 2023 were a better year, but it happened as it was supposed to. What's left for us is to learn what we can so we can make tomorrow a bit better than yesterday.
Speaking of tomorrow (as in 2024), I do have a few thoughts. Some of them are basically kind of antonyms of what's noted above, so I'm not going to waste time with repetition. What I will note though is this: It's important for me (and I suspect all of us, to one extent or another) to remember that we have far more control over the things in our life than we recognize. That's not to say that exercising that control is easy...in fact, sometimes it is incredibly difficult...but that doesn't negate that sense of control's very existence.
So for 2024, here's my wish: May we all...
Dare to do big things
Show compassion (not just for others, but for ourselves as well)
Always ask the question "Am I running away from...or towards...something?"
Take time to smell flowers, listen to good music and pet a cat (or dog, or both)
Cultivate friendships (I especially need to work on this)
Honor those who serve us, be they restaurant staff, healthcare workers or first responders
Live for today, but always plan for tomorrow
2024, bring it on.